Morgan

Hi! This is an audio cover letter for the Product Team Program Manager role at tonies USA. It’s a three-minute listen and should tell you why I’m a strong candidate. If I seem like a good fit, send me an email at morgandusatko@gmail.com.

Transcript:

Hi, my name is Morgan, and I wanted to take one or two minutes of your time to let you know why I think I’d be a good fit for the product team program manager job.

I was a video and audio producer for 12 years and I created a lot of things I’m really proud of. I worked for 2 years with C-Suite level executives at Microsoft telling their stories; I had my own company for 5 years. What I really loved and what I was good at was working with creatives, technicians, and clients to cohere around a goal, making it possible for everybody to do their best work and to really focus on the objectives we were trying to obtain.

In 2017, I was laid off – and I realized that I wanted to make more of an impact, so I went back to school, got my MBA, and became a product manager – which is about 70% of the same job as a producer, just with a more strategic component. Since then, I worked for a PBS affiliate and built the streaming service from scratch, and I worked at Morning Brew where I had 7 million customers and focused on growth and innovation in email. And everywhere that I’ve worked, I found there to be a huge challenge in coordinating the product team with all the other functional areas, like content and marketing. Those other areas usually don’t have a strong understanding of how agile works, the ‘delivering fast’ mindset, and experimenting and failing quickly. And often, product teams are really myopic about delivering working software.

As a product manager, I’ve worked really hard to develop the skills needed to manage all of those different perspectives. And that’s been the secret of my success.

Two things really excite me – building cool stuff and helping people do their best work.

If that’s what you’re looking for in the product team program manager, someone who understands product and can also triangulate and work with other important stakeholders to deliver things on time, then I’m your person.

One last note, and this is really the reason that I’m making this audio cover letter – as a parent, I’ve always been deeply skeptical of screen time, especially for children. I have steered my own child towards audio content and have tried to make sure she has a healthy media diet, which is very difficult in today’s world. I would love to help with this mission.

And here are the answers to the questions you asked in your job posting:

Thinking about the attitudinal mindsets above, why are you the right person for a growth company like tonies right now? (250 words or fewer)

Two things light me up: people, and building great things.

I was a video and audio producer for 12 years. I made a bunch of things I’m really proud of and learned how to lead teams to complete projects on time and under budget. 

It was during this time that I started to understand the challenges of collaboration and alignment. It was often difficult to triangulate the needs of the creatives, technicians, and clients. I learned hard lessons about keeping the end goal in mind and focusing on outcomes instead of personalities. 

In 2017 I pivoted to product management and since then have used those same skills to help designers and developers do their best work. 

I’m also more aware than ever of the challenges faced by product teams and organizations trying to get their product, marketing, content, and other teams to work as a single unit. At Cascade Public Media I headed a cross-functional team designed for that reason. At Morning Brew I was in charge of working with teams with very different interests to create products that maintained journalistic integrity while bringing in revenue. 

I have experience in many domains – improv, media, software development. My superpower is helping creatives and technologists do their best work. If that sounds like what you need, send me an email. 

Describe a time when your re-prioritization of the tasks in a project made a critical difference in the success that the project achieved. (250 words or fewer)

When I started at Archbright the development team was working on a data validation tool. Because of asks from the stakeholders, this tool included a project management feature set, a member data clearing tool, and even a chat feature! They were slated to work on this for another six months. 

The first thing I did was talk to everyone about their goals. I found out that the original reason for this feature was to make the process profitable by reducing the time it took to manually validate the data. The smallest version of that feature, an internally facing data validation tool, had already been created. We focused on just that one feature and were able to start testing and launched in six weeks instead of six months. 

We started working with this tool right away and the process became profitable as soon as we started using it. We helped the rest of the team with their project management and communication needs without having to build a new set of tools. 

I always ask, “What’s the smallest version of this that we can launch?” Often the answer is very tricky and takes some time to define, but it helps to keep everyone focused on delivering fast, experimenting, and learning quickly.