These 3 NYC Product Managers Love Their Jobs — Here's Why

by April Bohnert
August 14, 2019

Product managers play a unique role in the development process, bridging the gaps between engineering, product, design and data departments to help bring new products to life. It requires a diverse skillset — often a combination of both technical and non-technical skills — but in exchange, it offers some amazing opportunities to work cross-functionally, wear many hats and make a real impact on the business. 

We caught up with three local product managers to learn more about the aspects of their work that really light them up and what they enjoy most about their day-to-day roles.  
 

Flatiron Health product managers NYC tech
Photo via Flatiron Health. 

Flatiron Health connects community oncologists, academics, hospitals, life science researchers and regulators in a shared mission to improve lives and fight cancer. It’s a mission that drives all Flatiron employees, and one that strikes particularly close to home for Product Manager Caitlin Keenan. She shared how her family’s experiences with cancer connect her deeply to her work and give her that extra motivation, knowing the real-life impact of the products she manages.

 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do at Flatiron Health? 

My family struggles with a genetic cancer syndrome, so I feel a strong connection to Flatiron’s mission: to improve lives by learning from the experience of every cancer patient. My team builds tumor-specific datasets for oncology research, and I love working on products that have the potential to impact so many patients’ lives. On top of that, I find the topic interesting and challenging; the treatment landscape is always changing and I enjoy learning from the clinical and technical experts on my team.  

 

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be creative by developing metrics, learning how other companies tackle similar challenges and experimenting with our data.”

Tell us about a project you've worked on there that got you excited to come to work every day. What did you enjoy about the project?

I’m so excited about my team’s work to revamp our data quality monitoring system. This is important work because data quality impacts the usability and value of our products. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be creative by developing metrics, learning how other companies tackle similar challenges and experimenting with our data. 

 

JW Player product managers NYC tech
Photo via JW Player.

JW Player’s advanced media player is used by some of the largest publishers and content creators in the world, such as Vice, National Geographic and The Washington Post. For the teams building JW Player’s video streaming technology, that means countless opportunities to see their work front and center on the world stage. Senior Product Manager Alicia Hurst, who works with the video player team, explained how she’s helping to drive the business’s products forward and what she enjoys most about her work. 

 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do at JW Player? 

I love working on a product with such scale and reach. JW Player powers billions of plays a month across some of the world’s top websites. The other day, I was reading one of my favorite blogs and there was a post featuring a video from NPR, our customer and one of my favorite content sources. It was a career highlight! But what keeps me engaged more than anything are the engineers I work with every day on the video player team, who are dedicated, collaborative and fun. I know it sounds cliche, but I don’t take them for granted.

 

As a product manager, it’s a dream project to solve a problem without the user doing any work and to get full adoption immediately...” 

Tell us about a project you've worked on there that got you excited to come to work every day. What did you enjoy about the project?

There are more than 60 pieces of static text in the player, like the tooltip that says “Fullscreen” and the video quality label for “Auto.” Last year, JW Player went into new markets abroad, so more customers needed to be able to translate that text from English. Rather than releasing an interface to translate those fields, we figured out how to do it automatically in the player by detecting the language on the page where it’s embedded and filling in professional translations there. Now you can use the player in French, Japanese and dozens of other languages! As a product manager, it’s a dream project to solve a problem without the user doing any work and to get full adoption immediately since it worked out of the box.

 

Cedar product managers NYC tech
Photo via Cedar.

The healthcare industry is ripe for tech disruption, particularly when it comes to the patient experience. So for Product Manager Cheryl Cho, working on Cedar’s patient payment and engagement platform isn’t just an opportunity to help develop exciting new technology — it’s also an opportunity to transform an entire industry for good. She gave us a glimpse into some of her work and how her team is leveraging real patient insights to continuously improve Cedar’s products.

 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do at Cedar? 

I love thinking through product strategy in healthcare because it’s years behind every other industry when it comes to technology. There’s so much need for improvement in the healthcare industry, so my team is trying to solve really complex problems that haven’t yet been solved (usually for a reason). It’s really gratifying that the work I’m doing and the products that we’re developing have a real impact on improving the patient experience, as well as helping healthcare providers who serve patients. 

 

It’s really gratifying that the work I’m doing and the products that we’re developing have a real impact...”

Tell us about a project you've worked on there that got you excited to come to work every day. What did you enjoy about the project? 

I led an initiative to rethink and redesign the paper statement experience for patient bills. I believe that many of us can relate to a time when you’ve received a medical bill in the mail and immediately felt angry, confused or surprised by what you were seeing. Our goal was to better understand the patient’s experience with that physical statement and figure out ways to improve it. We conducted interviews with patients to help us think more holistically, not just about medical bills but how people think about billing in general. In a world that’s so driven by digital technology, it was interesting to have to think about physical space and designing physical objects. 

 

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