As Head of the Office of Product Management, Stephanie Redl is exactly where she wants to be. In fact, she helped create and define her role. With a focus on the things that matter, products and customers, she works to introduce efficiency and standardization across the organization.
What career development opportunities have you had that may be unique to Descartes?
Every day at Descartes I get to make an impact in a role I helped to define. This is my dream job!
In 2017, I spoke to our EVP, Product Management and proposed an overarching solution to bring all of the product management teams together. As a product manager for one product I had to figure things out on my own and identified that others were doing the same – operating in silos with a massive disconnect across groups, inefficiencies, and no sharing of best practices. As the first Head of Office of Product Management, I was able to introduce collaboration and standardization across tools, templates, and processes. This didn’t exist before, and I was able to create a role that was important to the company.
In this role, I can influence product management across Descartes through the design, development, and rollout of processes and tools based on experience, company insights, and best practices. I’m in a role where I can closely collaborate with the leadership team and make a tangible contribution in the way we work and how we improve as a team.
I have day-to-day reinforcement from my colleagues that the processes, templates and tools I’m creating and the output of my efforts, are helpful and valued.
I have a vast network and am very active on our internal social media platform. I leverage it to gather feedback and comments, to connect with the leadership in product management and beyond. In addition, I seek out validation for what I’ve done, not to build my ego but rather to know I’ve hit the right tone and targets that contribute to someone else’s ability to make an impact.
What has been an “aha” moment in your career?
Recognizing that by sharing my ideas, I could bring about the change I wanted to see was a game-changer. When I moved from being a product manager for one product into the role as Head of Office of Product Management, I was able to do more. I suddenly connected to dozens of product teams and found engaged and motivated people who were eager to try new things and take on challenges, and share their knowledge with others.
What started out as a role targeted at the product management department quickly turned into an opportunity to trigger change in other departments and help them get better, just by sharing things transparently, and living my passion for continuous improvement and product management practices.
Are you a mentor? What advice would you offer someone considering a role at Descartes?
A strong mentor at Descartes is a champion of who we are and what we do, someone with the internal knowledge and understanding of the structure, who has influence and can tangibly offer direction. To me, that’s our EVP of Product Management. He is an innovative, inspiring product leader. I try to model how I work in his style: clear goals and a framework for measuring them, motivational, engaging, and involved. He sees the potential in his people and provides the pathway to live up to that.
My personal passion is mentoring people to give them visibility and enable them to pursue the work they love. It motivates and inspires people, empowering them to take the initiative and grow their impact – and their career.
The fantastic thing about mentorship is that it is an organically pay-it-forward setup. By giving people an opportunity to share not just their ideas but their knowledge and insights, it’s a sign of respecting the work they’ve put in. It increases team engagement at every level.
I hope my colleagues see me as an inspiring leader and someone they can come to for guidance.
If you want to be part of a growing global organisation that listens to – and implements – the ideas of their people, we’re hiring across a number of impactful roles. You can find out more about opportunities by clicking ‘Join our Team’ above or follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with our news and openings.