How can you drive your product career? In this webinar, Fidelity Senior Product VP Deba Sahoo meets with INTO University Partnerships CPO Namrata Sarmah. She aims to help listeners navigate the highs and lows of their product career and come up with a strategy on how to land their next leadership role in Product. Namrata Sarmah will discuss her humble journey of a decade from being a PO to a CPO – it’s been fast and furious, and there have been some interesting career learnings about what to do, how to do it, and most importantly – what “not” to do.

Join us for new conversations with leading product executives every week. Roll through the highlights of this week’s event below, then head on over to our Events page to see which product leaders will be joining us next week.

Webinar Notes:

  1. Namrata Sarmah started her tech career in Bangalore, India, and moved to Boston to work for EMC Corporation (now Dell).
  2. Sarmah completed an MBA program to merge her technical skills with business acumen.
  3. She noted the lack of structure in product management compared to traditional sectors like finance or law but embraced the fluidity.
  4. Post-MBA, she chose product ownership over traditional consulting roles.
  5. Her diverse career spanned several sectors (telecoms, media, healthcare) and company sizes (startups to large conglomerates).
  6. Sarmah emphasized the importance of continuous learning. She mentions her strategy program at Cambridge University and a leadership program at Harvard Business School.
  7. She shared experiences in both B2B and B2C products and adapting to different environments.
  8. She detailed her time as an early product person at Babylon Health and later as Senior Director of Product at Viacom.
  9. COVID-19 influenced her career shift towards high-impact industries like healthcare and education.
  10. She took a CPO role at a health company during COVID-19, seeing it as a chance to make a difference.
  11. Sarmah is currently a CPO at an education company, overseeing various responsibilities including a startup incubator.
  12. She followed an unconventional career path. This meant focusing on emerging roles and skills relevant in the future, and discouraged focusing on the size of the role or team.
  13. Sarmah encourages seeking complex roles for learning opportunities and emphasizes making an impact.
  14. Active community involvement and constant upskilling were beneficial for her career.
  15. She advises product people to be proficient in all aspects, from vision to execution.
  16. Sarmah recommended gaining diverse experience in B2B and B2C sectors and working in different company types when driving your product career.
  17. She suggested breaking into startups by getting involved in side projects or advisory roles.
  18. In her view, organizations are becoming flatter, making room for individual contributors to excel with specific skill sets.
  19. Driving your product career requires hands-on work, quality leadership, and high-performance teams.
  20. She discussed work-life integration, the importance of a support network, and the value of career breaks and pivots.
About the speaker
Namrata Sarmah INTO Global, Chief Digital/Product Officer Member

Namrata is the Chief Product Officer at INTO University Partnerships - a global Higher Education company. Previously, she was the CPO at iPlato Healthcare (myGP) where she led an expansive portfolio of digital products and worked closely with NHS Primary Care. She has worked in product leadership roles at Paramount, Babylon Health and a number of other exciting global companies. Namrata sits on the board of The Open University Business School, and is an Advisor at Antler - an early stage VC firm. She is an alumni of Manchester Business School, and is trained in global leadership at Harvard Business School. Namrata is also the founding member of Chief UK.

About the host
Deba Sahoo Fidelity Investments, SVP, Head of Product for Customer Journeys
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