JOIN US AT THE INAUGURAL SERIES!
The Digital Future Initiative is pleased to announce the inaugural Product Management Lunch & Learn series. Each fall and spring term, we will bring industry experts to campus to share their perspectives on topics relevant to aspiring product managers, covering career guidance, PM best practices or timely hot topics. Grab some lunch and participate in the discussion!
Allen Yang '16, March 19th | 2024
Executive Director, JP Morgan Chase & CO
Nikita Miller, February 20th | 2024
SVP, Head of Product Management, The Knot
Nikita Miller serves as Senior Vice President, Head of Product Management at The Knot Worldwide. In this role, Nikita leads the global Product Management team, focusing on product strategy and growth, across all wedding brands.
Nikita has spent her career in product management building great teams and creating products that users love. Most recently Nikita was VP of Product at Dooly and prior to that she led product teams at Trello and Atlassian for five years. Nikita’s experience ranges from early stage startups to multinational companies and from EdTech to Enterprise SaaS. Nikita is also an active startup advisor, angel investor and board member.
Nikita received her B.S. from Cornell University and her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. She lives in upstate New York with her family.
Join Nikita for an open discussion on the evolution of cross functional product development teams and learn more about navigating roles and responsibilities in high functioning teams.
Ninad Naik '14, February 13th | 2024
Director of Product Management, Uber
Jill Cohen '20, December 5th | 2023
Jill Cohen, CBS '20, has built her career thus far launching mobile apps for companies large and small. Before coming to business school, she worked as a software engineer at Snapchat, where she developed and launched the Snap Map in 2017. Prior to that, she majored in Engineering at Dartmouth and learned how to create apps for the iPhone just as the App Store was taking off and every company began thinking about its mobile strategy. After graduating from Columbia in 2020, Jill was hired onto the founding team of a startup funded by NYC incubator AlleyCorp, where she led Product & Mobile Engineering and built a team and product from the ground up, followed by a startup focused on building a healthier social media app. Now, Jill is starting a product strategy agency to help companies and early-stage founders level up their consumer mobile experiences.
Jill will discuss lessons learned from her varied startup experience, from designing products for the first beta-testers, for public launch, and for the millionth Snapchatter. She'll discuss the different mindsets that are called for when building products in the seed-stage, when a company is begging for its first customers, versus when a product already has retained users and is creating to sustain its advantage. She'll share from personal experience when intuition gained in more corporate settings can lead entrepreneurs astray, the unexpected iterations (and iterations and iterations and iterations!) while getting to product-market fit, and why team cohesion is most important to her above all else.
Jessica French '19, October 24th | 2023
Product Manager, Google
Product Manager at Google (and CBS ’19), with expertise building developer tools at Google and Amazon Web Services. Prior to entering product management, she worked in consulting and with non-profits. Jessica is passionate about supporting women and underrepresented groups in STEM.
Join Jessica for an open discussion on transitioning into tech. Learn more about finding your place at Big Tech, balancing technical and non-technical skills in different roles, and influencing without authority.
Jon Alferness, October 3rd | 2023
Chief Product Officer, Walmart
On an event held on October 3rd, Jon Alferness, Chief Product Officer of Walmart U.S., spoke at Columbia Business School to future product managers with his team from Walmart. He shared his experiences and insights on prioritization.
In this fast-paced world of technology, deciding what to build and when is one of the most crucial decisions for product managers.
Catherine Vollgraff Heidweiller, April 25th | 2023
Quantum AI Product Manager, Google
What is quantum computing and why does it matter? Join Catherine to learn about what kinds of problems traditional supercomputers can't manage, why Google is investing in quantum and how to manage a product and build the ecosystem at the same time.
Alex Hardiman CC '04, April 18th | 2023
Chief Product Officer, New York Times
Alex Hardiman is the Chief Product Officer at The New York Times where she oversees the company’s News, Cooking, Games and Audio products that power The Times’s subscription and digital advertising businesses. She has dedicated her career to amplifying high quality, independent journalism through technology. Alex previously spent a decade at The Times in a number of senior product roles before leaving for Facebook in 2016 where she served as Head of News Products, overseeing news experiences for Facebook’s two billion monthly users. Alex also spent a year at The Atlantic as their Chief Business and Product Officer where she relaunched the company's subscription business.
Tiffany Dockery, April 17th | 2023
Director of Product Management, Etsy
Tiffany Dockery is a Director of Product at Etsy. She leads a team of product managers building out new visual discovery experiences to bring Etsy's mission of Keeping Commerce Human to life. Previously, she worked at Instagram leading personalization for the Explore tab, one of the world's largest unconnected discovery surfaces, and helped launch new content formats, Guides and Reels. Prior to Instagram, she worked at Spotify where she launched a first-of-its-kind ranking model to personalize Spotify's Home screen.
Paankhuri Gupta '19, April 4th | 2023
Principal Product Manager, Amazon
Paankhuri Gupta (CBS '19) is a Principal Technical Product Manager at Amazon where she defines the strategy and leads a team of 30+ scientists and engineers to build 0 to 1 Advertising products. With no technical background, she started an ambitious journey at CBS to land a technical product role.
After her personal hustle to land a technical product role, she not only understands what it takes to get the role, but also the skillset needed to become a top performer at a leading technology company to be entrusted to lead the vision and execution of a multi-million dollar business. One of the most common questions an aspiring product manager asks is "how technical does a PM need to be?" Join us to hear from Paankuri to demystify the different types of product managers and how the best often draw on a diverse set of skills.
Owen Davis, February 28th | 2023
General Partner, Contour Venture Partners
Owen Davis is currently a General Partner at Contour Venture Partners, a early-stage, technology focused venture capital fund based in New York City. He is the past Managing Director of NYC Seed, a seed stage venture capital fund in New York City. He also founded the NYC Seedstart accelerator and Overlap, an artificial intelligence software company for scheduling.
Are you interested in launching or joining a tech start-up? Or working for a VC that invests in tech companies? Owen will join usto lead a discussion on what VCs look for when investing in technology related companies? What matters more, the product or the team? Or something else?