My Name Is Kristina Gass — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
Do you consider yourself a problem-solver? Many folks have roles that involve fixing things. In my case, I have had a few — it took me several years, places, and positions to find where I could really thrive and grow. I have dabbled in everything from retail to software. But whether I was traveling to customers or working from a home office, I have always gravitated to work that is about making things better for people.
I find joy in solving problems for others — flexing both my creativity and love of systems to think through solutions.
I did not always know this about myself. Growing up, I was very creative and thought I would follow an artistic career path. But my first real-world job was with Sherwin-Williams in Georgia in their management training program. Part of this meant working at one of their stores. I did not expect to like it as much as I did, but it was a pleasure to help customers choose paint colors to brighten up their homes. I even helped to build out a designer showroom. That is when I realized my creativity was fueled by a desire to improve experiences for others.
When I was ready to move on, I returned home to Michigan for graduate school. I took some software management classes and found that I loved learning about technology. At that same time, I took a job working with local governments to set up new accounting software. Both of these experiences exposed me to a new kind of fixing, but it gave me the same little dopamine rush.
There is deep satisfaction in finding solutions that have a ripple effect across an organization and the larger community.
I later joined Cirrus Group — a small company that provided childcare management software. When I was hired, their software was complex and hard for customers to pick up and run with. It was my job as training manager to onboard our customers and translate their legacy processes to our software. I shifted into a product analyst role but still helped on the implementation side.
When the company was acquired, I found myself at a crossroads. I could continue on the implementation team or I could fully transition to product management. I understood our customers deeply and was motivated to turn their feedback into meaningful product improvements. And since I knew the system extremely well, I could suggest changes that avoided major overhauls. My choice was clear — product management.
At the time, I was also introduced to another product I now know very well — Aha! Roadmaps. As Aha! users, we could track deliverables and dependencies across Cirrus Group instead of relying on unmanageable spreadsheets. With ideas portals, we created a more responsive process for handling feature requests. Exploring Aha! software broadened my own understanding of how product managers operate.
After five years with the same organization, I found myself asking, "What comes next?" I was ready for a new product to be passionate about and an inspiring team culture. When I saw the job posting for the Aha! Product Success team, I was excited to see it aligned with my background in training, customer support, and product management. Plus, I already loved the software. And I had heard how dedicated Aha! is to bootstrapping success, remote work, and solving problems fast for customers.
Our Product Success team works with some of the world's most successful software companies. Oftentimes, the results of our work are immediate. When I help someone create a new roadmap view, for instance, I can see their enthusiasm in real time. Everyone I work with is curious and motivated. It is a joy to work with a group of people who truly care about customer success.
The Aha! team is exceptional — we are united by a love of helping customers use our products to achieve more.
Working remotely means that my home matters more than it ever has. I recently bought a house in Michigan that was built in the 1930s and needs a lot of love. It is refreshing to flex my creative problem-solving in a new way — and I am having fun brushing up on my interior design skills. This time, I am choosing my own paint colors.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.