What does it take to lead high-performing product teams? In this episode of the Product Leaders to Watch Series with Cognizant Product Director Chenny Solaiyappan, Flare Senior PM Charlie Whicher speaks on her background transitioning from academia to product management. They discuss what makes Charlie a great product leader to watch, including her data-driven approach and ability to lead high-performing teams. Charlie also shares her views on what makes a great product and a great product manager.

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Show Notes

  1. Charlie has a non-traditional background in academia and biology/life sciences.
  2. She leverages her understanding of data and user insights in her product work.
  3. Charlie enjoys the teamwork aspect of product management compared to individual work in academia.
  4. She has experience at startups of varying sizes.
  5. Charlie is excited by innovative startup ideas and products across industries.
  6. AI and life sciences/healthcare are trends she’s interested in.
  7. A great product solves real problems for users.
  8. It fundamentally solves pain points rather than superficially helping.
  9. The problem being solved needs to be genuine, not artificially created.
  10. Curiosity is important for product managers to understand problems.
  11. Empathy for users and colleagues is key.
  12. Active listening is crucial for understanding without biases.
  13. Startups should submit honest, colorful applications to the AAB.
  14. Listeners should keep an eye out for exciting 2024 products.
  15. Data-driven decisions are important to Charlie.
  16. She enjoys diverse startup experiences.
  17. Understanding technologies and user insights shapes her work.
  18. Leading high-performing teams is an important skill.
  19. Effective communication and collaboration are part of her leadership style.

About the speaker
Charlie Whicher Flare, Senior Product Manager Member

Charlie is a senior product manager at Flare, with over 8 years of product management experience in software, AI, and life sciences. Charlie started out as a Biologist before discovering the fast paced world of startups. Charlie has worked in in startups in all stages of their growth, from raising their first investment round to becoming unicorns. Charlie is passionate about supporting the product community, she is involved in various PM mentoring schemes and is the co-organiser of the Montreal Meetup Product Circle, aka Product Therapy.

About the host
Chenny Solaiyappan Cognizant, Product Director

Chenny Solaiyappan is the Director of Product Management for Cognizant Trizetto's Government and Quality Solutions, and a founding member of the ClaimSphere suite of products, encompassing quality, HEDIS ®, CMS Stars, and clinical solutions. An accomplished Intrapreneur and Lean Startup Practitioner, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall product strategy and serves as the HL7 DaVinci Business Co-chair. With a notable track record, Chenny has provided consultancy to over 30 health plans across the nation, consistently raising Quality and Star ratings in Medicaid, Medicare, Federal Employees Health Plan, and Commercial health plan sectors, collectively supporting 30 million lives. His outstanding leadership and innovative contributions have earned him prestigious awards, including the 2023 Top 20 Global Product Manager Award by Products That Count, as well as the 2021 and 2019 Product of the Year awards by Cognizant Trizetto.

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