What does it take to create impactful product-led transformations? In this podcast, Willow Innovations SVP of Product Melissa Pickering meets with IntoUniversity Partnerships CPO Namrata Sarmah to discuss her product management journey and the importance of putting the customer first, understanding their pain points, and building products that solve real problems for them. Discover how cross-industry experience and a diverse team can bring unique perspectives to product development and foster inclusivity on a global scale. Learn how impatience can be harnessed as a superpower, accelerating problem-solving efficiency.

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Show Notes

  1. Namrata Sarmah is a Chief Product Officer with over 15 years of experience in product and tech, working in various sectors like FMCG, telecom, media, healthcare, wellness, and education.
  2. She believes in building products that have a positive impact on the world.
  3. Namrata is a founding member of Chief, a network of executive women leaders in the UK, where she recently opened a new office.
  4. Her first formative moment was transitioning from software engineering to product management when product management was a new and relatively unknown discipline in the UK, giving her a first-mover advantage in her career.
  5. Another formative moment was her job at Babylon Health, a startup in the healthcare sector. Here, she faced new challenges like working in B2C and building mobile apps.
  6. Namrata’s approach to product-led transformation involves putting the customer first, understanding their pain points, and building products that solve real problems for them.
  7. Namrata faces challenges in educating others about the role of product management and overcoming deadline-driven cultures in organizations.
  8. Building high-performing teams takes time, and requires bold decisions, and accountability.
  9. Namrata values diversity in team members’ backgrounds and believes it brings different perspectives, making them more valuable than sector-specific experience.
  10. When hiring, Namrata focuses on potential rather than the number of years of experience.
  11. In addition, good product manager should possess curiosity and persistence to solve problems.
  12. Passion for the job is essential; waking up and thinking about work indicates a strong connection to the role.
  13. Cross-industry experience and a diverse team can bring valuable perspectives and strengths to a product.
  14. Building a global team with cultural awareness and inclusivity is crucial for products with international reach.
  15. Further, impatience can be a positive superpower, driving speed and problem-solving efficiency.
  16. Hiring exceptional people is vital for a leader’s success; good hires significantly impact career trajectory.
  17. Mentorship plays a vital role in a product leader’s journey, offering guidance in both product knowledge and leadership skills.
  18. Leaders should seek mentorship from non-product experts to develop well-rounded leadership abilities.
  19. Likewise, mentoring others and seeing their growth brings fulfillment and happiness to a leader.
  20. Great product managers possess curiosity, grit, intelligence, and a positive attitude.

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
Melissa Pickering Willow Innovations, VP of Product Management

I'm a purpose-driven change agent with a track record of building & leading cross-functional teams to develop & launch products for kids. From Disney Imagineering, to EdTech startup founder, to product innovation at The LEGO Group, I have spent over a decade building and leading product teams to innovate kids' play and learning experiences. Most recently, I have joined another purpose-driven mission at Willow Innovations to bring more joy to motherhood, building products to make moms' lives easier.

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