Meet The Team: Jade Pathe, Senior Product Manager at Photomath
This next installment in our new series featuring women in tech and product roles at Photomath is from Jade Pathe, Senior Product Manager. Read on to learn more about the experiences that led Jade to Photomath, what ignited her curiosity and passion for product management, and what she enjoys most about building a customer-first product experience that helps hundreds of millions of math learners around the world.
1. Tell us about yourself and your role at Photomath
Hi! I’m Jade and I am a Product Manager at Photomath. My main goal at Photomath is to build innovative educational products that make math more accessible and engaging. I get to collaborate with pretty much every team to learn about student behavior, identify problems, imagine solutions and then bring those to life in our app!
2. What was your journey getting into product management and what excited you about joining Photomath?
My journey was an interesting one. I initially pursued a career to become a math teacher but quickly realized I was much more interested in general math courses and put my education degree on hold. I fell into my first job with a large insurance company and was a proud COBOL software developer but was desperately missing being able to use my knowledge and expertise to make a difference for students.
I was lucky to be connected to a recruiting startup through a friend and was instantly re-energized! I dove head first into spending time with customers. I synthesized what the customers were saying, identified trends and was eager to debrief my ideas about how to solve their problems with the rest of my team. Surprise! I learned that I was doing product management and was honored to step into a role with the official Product Manager title.
I spent 5 years learning more about the role and getting more and more curious. I still felt a bit removed from students until I found Photomath, it was the perfect blend of my original love for teaching & learning and my new love of product management. I now get to interact with students weekly and build tools that facilitate math learning. It is a perfect blend of my skills and interests and a career I never could have envisioned as a student myself!
3. What excites you about the work you and your team are doing at Photomath? What are some of the challenges?
Getting to spark a joy for learning in students through technology motivates me everyday.
I am the most excited about breaking down the barriers that get in the way of student learning, especially for those who have convinced themselves they are not a “math person”. While being a support system to students at any time and in their preferred learning style can be challenging, the payoff of them embracing the struggle that leads to true understanding is worth it.
4. What do you think are some of the most important skills of a product manager?
- Listening: reviewing all of the feedback and listening to the deeper meaning behind what your users are saying (or not saying)
- Synthesizing: identifying trends and impact areas from very large sets of data to generate signal from noise
- Communicating: building future products that start as words and numbers and communicating that evolution at all levels of the organization
In that order! (and then repeat)
5. Why do you think there are much fewer women in tech and product? And what steps or resources can be initiated to empower & support attracting more women into the field?
I think that there are a lot of women like me that aren’t aware that roles in Product management exist or think that it requires a very technical background. My COBOL coding skills weren’t what helped me to thrive as a product manager, it was my ability to bring my customers’ experiences to life. Bringing more awareness to the many different skills that can make you successful as a product manager should be the first step.
6. Do you have any advice for young women who are just starting their careers in tech or product management?
My advice to women who are just starting their product careers or are interested in getting started is:
- Identify industries and problems that excite or motivate you, it doesn’t have to be your passion but interest and curiosity will help you be successful.
- Be as close to your customers as possible, deep empathy for your customer and advocating for their success will always make you the source of truth for tough decisions.
- Don’t get stuck too much on a product title, a customer facing or technical role can be a great stepping stone to a product role.
7. What is most gratifying about your work at Photomath?
Hearing and seeing how we have helped students learn! Here are a couple examples that bring a smile to my face!
8. How do you envision the future of learning and how do you think Photomath will be part of that?
I think that the future of learning is personal and I hope that Photomath can be the 1:1 guide that every student deserves to embrace the struggle of learning math!