My Name Is Justin Woods — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
I’ve been fortunate to work for some of the world’s most successful technology companies. I’ve delivered a $10M project as an online product manager of Dell’s EMEA region. I’ve also been a senior consultant at IBM and led a digital product team at Vodafone UK.
But here’s what might surprise you. My favorite project over the last 10 years was delivering Vodafone UK’s first responsive experience for customers. It was a breakthrough effort, and we saw customer self-service usage increase by over 300 percent.
That was a proud moment for me. I have a passion for understanding peoples’ needs — and using new technology to help them solve their problems.
This passion was evident at an early age. I was the child who delighted in taking toys apart to understand how they worked. In my teen years, I used this knowledge to transform products into something better — like the pram from a garage sale that became a friend’s new go-kart. I’m sure these were the signs of a young product manager: technical curiosity, understanding people’s needs, and delivering products that could meet them.
This passion compelled me to join a local technology company as an apprentice at 18. There still are apprentice roles if you look hard enough. And mine brought my childhood dream to fruition.
I spent years growing my product management skill set. This led me to some great roles leading teams at large global companies. But this career growth came with a cost: the more experience I gained, the less interaction I had with customers.
This made me realize that I wanted to work more closely with customers. So, I chose to seek out an emerging company that was growing fast and would help me do what I love best.
It turned out that I did not have to look far. I first used Aha! when I drove adoption of it with my product team at Vodafone. This tool united our digital department and empowered me to lead product better than anything else I had used before.
I already knew that Aha! was a product management tool that I wanted to take with me wherever I went. So, I did my research and subscribed to their blog posts. The more I read about what they believed in, the more deeply I felt that I had found my new home.
The tipping point was when I read a post from Donna Sawyer — Customer Success Senior Manager at Aha! — about why she joined the team. She wrote about needing a tool to lead her former product team at Amazon Robotics. When she saw what Aha! is capable of, it was a lightbulb moment for her. She realized that she wanted to do more than use the tool to lead product — she wanted to join a team that is changing how companies innovate.
That was when I knew what — and where — my next role would be. The customer success team at Aha! was the career home that I had searched for. And when I saw that they were hiring their first customer success manager in the UK, I stepped forward to apply.
Today, my role as Customer Success Senior Manager at Aha! empowers me to improve product managers’ lives by sharing the benefits of a product I believe in.
I am also a testament to our team’s commitment to hire the best talent for every role — no matter where we live. Business in Europe is growing quickly, and it is humbling to help our company expand globally. I wrote “Aha! EMEA” on my home office whiteboard on my first day. Looking over at it still makes me smile.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.