Productive Edge fosters an environment of growth and nurturing. We see the potential in our employees and encourage them to take the road less traveled. Whether it be through investing time in our PE Cares initiatives, our Mentorship Program, or simply creating a career trajectory that matches an individual’s desires, Productive Edge firmly believes that people come first. We celebrate the successes of our employees, both personal and professional.
With a recent promotion to Lead Product Manager, Erin Disselhorst joins the ranks as a leader in her department at Productive Edge. She brings a valuable perspective to her colleagues and clients and provides creative solutions to complex problems. We had an opportunity to sit down with Erin and take a retrospective of her career leading up to her current position at Productive Edge.
“Growing up, I always loved video games,” said Erin. “I used to watch the credits and see the long list of programmers involved. The number was so high that I realized the best chance I had for getting into the video game industry would be to get a degree in computer science and become a programmer myself.” Erin started her journey there and enrolled in college pursuing a degree to help launch her dream career. It was there that she received an opportunity to get her start in the industry doing quality assurance for AAA console games at Microsoft while still taking classes. “I got my foot in the door at an early age and it really revealed to me how the industry works and what it takes to be successful.”
Shortly after that, Erin left school to take a full-time job in New York to work on quality assurance and production for a desktop and mobile games studio.
This opportunity was a great chance for Erin to hone her Agile and Scrum Development skills. For her, this is a craft. And one that can be sharpened with precise tactics. The position let Erin focus on the user, which she loved. But ultimately, she learned that the video game industry wasn’t right for her, so Erin transitioned her career trajectory to focus on becoming a product manager. In doing so, Erin began working directly with clients in all aspects at Work & Co.
“I spent four years at the game studio, and then four more at Work & Co before moving to Chicago and finding my way to Productive Edge,” Erin stated. Since 2018, Erin has been an integral part of Productive Edge’s plans to provide digital transformation. “My job is to set expectations with clients and communicate the client’s goals to my team. It may sound simple, but it is a complex balancing act of understanding diverse topics, translating technical issues, and managing expectations. This all stems from understanding people. That’s the core of what I do.”
Erin not only works directly with clients and her team to deliver on the dreams and goals of the scope of work but she also directly mentors other product managers at Productive Edge. A staunch believer in Productive Edge’s Mentorship Program, Erin takes the time to pass on her knowledge and experience of client management, as well as the theory behind evolving from the concept of ‘project’ management to that of ‘product’ management. But she hasn’t stopped there. In order to further help her team grow, Erin spearheaded a group where product managers can come together to work through processes and learn from one another.
“The Affinity Group is a place where we product managers advance our knowledge base and educate ourselves,” added Erin. “Everyone has different experiences and many clients have different demands, so what we learn in this process needs to be leveraged so we can teach one another.” The group focuses on creating a unified approach for product management at Productive Edge. In order to further accomplish this, Erin and the Product Manager Affinity Group recently hosted a Lunch and Learn for the entire company. “The event was our opportunity to explain who we are as a team and what we provide for the company. We aren’t just a line item. We are product champions with a deep understanding and the ability to partner closely with clients to shape the product and decisions. By holding this Lunch and Learn, we have become emboldened to move forward with new initiatives and create more unity between product managers and the other disciplines in the organization.”
On top of that, Erin is very involved with Productive Edge’s Diversity and Inclusion group. She feels that creating a company culture that embraces listening at all levels and across all
backgrounds is critical for a successful working environment. Inclusion is top of mind for Erin when it comes to how she operates in her day-to-day. Focusing on inclusion andkeeping it at the forefront helps everybody of diverse backgrounds to feel comfortable to collaborate in a space where they will be heard and empowered to share. Erin firmly believes in discovering tactics that will help improve workability ranging from communication in meetings and how leadership interacts with employees.
As for the future, Erin wants to continue running projects. This is a passion for her, but she also really loves the people management side of operations.
“I enjoy looking into the organization and solving problems big and small. I would love to be at the organizational level and make positive changes for the company and for the people. I believe Productive Edge is the right place for me to leverage my experiences and put transformation into practice,” Erin quipped. “People operations and product operations, that’s what I see next for myself. But I value an organization that listens to its people and I truly value when leadership enables a community of problem solvers. And that’s what I have found with Productive Edge.”
Productive Edge is proud to have Erin as part of the team and will continue to encourage her growth within the company. For more information about Productive Edge, careers, and culture, visit www.productiveedge.com/about.