In honor of Women’s History Month, AEO is highlighting the amazing contributions of some of our talented and vibrant female leaders. Meet Kruti Patel, Director – Product Management and member of the AEO community since 2019. Kruti is sharing her insights as a woman leader in technology and offers some poignant advice for women just starting their careers.
Tell us about your career at AEO and what a day in the life of your job looks like
When I joined the company, I started working with the customer facing product management team where I gained knowledge on what it’s like to practice product management at AEO. I then led the team in a new direction where we embraced product best practices while still being true to AEO’s authentic culture.
I was challenged in every way, howeverI learned that as long as a team is committed to achieving the best results, anything is possible. Today I continue to help my team iterate on their product roadmaps, identify new opportunities in the products and services we oversee, conduct solution exploration workshops with our cross-functional partners, increase our output, and last (but not least!) measure the impact on our customers and business. I’m still in awe of how far we’ve all come in such a short period of time!
What is it like as a woman working in the technology space?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered in this space is that technology changes at such a rapid pace, and you have to be willing to be a beginner before you can be an expert – oftentimes over and over again. As a female leader in technology, I strive to be transparent about the fact that I’m still learning every day. Not only does this help me have a growth-oriented mindset, but I’m hoping this helps other women know that learning is an inherent part of being in the technology space.
Who is a woman that you look to for motivation and inspiration?
Whether it’s my peers, my direct reports, or my manager – they all motivate me! I also get so much inspiration from autobiographies written by women. Right now I’m reading about Payal Kadakia, founder of ClassPass, in her new book LifePass: Drop Your Limits, Rise to Your Potential. The title alone is pretty inspiring!
What advice would you give to your younger self and to women just starting their careers?
The work we do throughout our careers makes some kind of difference, and it’s important to be intentional about the type of difference you want to make. I can’t stress enough that your career goals have to be your own, backed by a strong why, and it’s all for not if you’re not enjoying the journey you’re on. Lastly, I’ll say successful careers are not marked by a linear trajectory. Successful careers can also be you trying different things, learning new skills and having a great time while you’re doing it!
What is your proudest accomplishment at AEO?
The growth and development of my team! Really they get most of the credit, because while I may have given them some rope to run with, they are the ones who show up every day taking positive action on their own behalf. I may have started off as their coach, but now I’m getting to watch them do their best work in a courtside seat!