PMDojo Alumni Spotlight: Corey and How to Always Seek Growth
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
As Corey hints, if you’re not growing then it’s probably time to leave. Seeking new opportunities after finding a stable and relatively prosperous career is always nerve-wracking. It’s normal to question yourself and the decision to walk away from a place that’s offering guaranteed nods of approval, a steady income, and a position that complements what you decided to study in college.
“I graduated from UBC [University of British Columbia], studying business and technology. It's all about understanding people from different perspectives from the technical side, and then from the business side, and how can you bridge that gap,” said Corey.
Throughout college, he developed an impressive resume of working at tech companies such as Microsoft. Corey continued in his journey taking up the role of Sales Representative and Business Development Manager for the big-tech firm.
Each of the roles played into each other, and here he was responsible for managing 500 client accounts. It was an intersectional space that allowed him to be a businessman within the tech field. Basically, it fit the bill for what his Business Technology Management degree prepared him for professionally. It was the stepping stone to realizing his true passion: connecting people together and collaborating with them to impact the lives of others.
“I like to talk, like to connect with people but just as important to me is being able to connect and bring people together to do something more than they could have done alone,” he continues. “That's kind of what gets me up in the morning.”
The way Corey’s reflection ended is the way it began: seeking growth is important. Even if it puts you in an uncomfortable situation, deciding not to take a leap of faith into a new field of interest can leave you with the imploring question of, “What if…” So, after working for Microsoft for some time, he decided to finally say goodbye and see what other business-related opportunities lie in the expansive world of tech.
He joined a government-funded tech initiative called the Digital Tech Supercluster. As the name suggests, it’s several small-er organizations/companies/initiatives combined together into one big collaborative mission to help improve and innovate several different industries across Canada, specifically.
“The mantra there was to do a 50% match-for-match investment with private, public, higher education research institutions, [and] non-profit groups. They're supposed to come together, [develop a] product, innovate, and then go to market and share any intellectual property to win global business,” Corey explained. “Very, very ambitious goal. I got to really meet and connect with some incredible product managers that obviously lead that innovation.”
While working alongside the supercluster, he met a number of Product Managers. He was impressed by their ability to bring so many different people together. From the most technical software developers to the most business-minded individuals, to government officials heavily involved in politics, he saw that the connection point for each one was through the designated PM assigned to lead that respective. Eventually, he met PMDojo’s founder and learned more about the cause. He became one of our first mentees and participated in the pilot cohort.
The product he developed alongside a team of two other team members was an app that connects college grads to job recruiters. The app allowed job recruiters to publish “bite-sized” projects related to the expectations a particular role at that company requires. Grads are able to take on the project to the best of their abilities and show recruiters what they’re capable of, aside from simply showing a resume with their credentials.
“It gives students two things, one, the ability to participate and submit and get active feedback so that they learn and grow,” he continues. “And secondly, they're basically doing their job interview.”
Finding a job as a newly-grad is difficult. It’s a task that can take several months to accomplish, especially if you’re still developing the hard skills to add what employers might deem as professional value to the role. Of course, this is usually the case, since balancing full-time work and academic schedule is not an easy feat. Instead, Corey’s product gave college grads a chance to show recruiters what they can do, and give them a competitive chance at scoring a position in an intersectional business-related tech job.
Today, Corey is working for a fast-growing SaaS company. Six months in and he wears multiple hats and acts as one of the company’s main leaders. His responsibilities are numerous in a demanding work environment as one of their leading Product Managers. Nonetheless, it’s evident that the work fulfills him, and is a good type of challenge.
“You need to be inspirational, you need to be brave, and you need to be bold, need to have a strong center, and have a strong belief. And empathy is so important to be able to make that happen,” Corey emphasizes.
Growth is an ongoing effort. Whether you’re a master or a novice at your craft, it’s never too late to expand your horizons and explore other fields that can add to your expertise. Like Corey’s shown, we also believe that all it takes is the ability to remain receptive, curious, and creative enough to envision the opportunities around one’s self.
Interested in gaining real-world experience as a Product Manager or Product Designer? Applications for our next cohort are closing soon. Get in contact with us to learn more or apply by clicking here.