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Cheryl Gledhill

By 
Irena Macri
 - 
On 
May 26
 
2024
 - In 

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Introduce yourself

Hi, I’m Cheryl Gledhill although everyone usually calls me Chez or Chezza, from Clovelly in Sydney. I’ve been working in product/technology for close to 30 years now and I really love all the challenges tech throws my way.

What do you do for work?

I’m a Director of Product for Culture Amp, which is an employee experience SAAS platform that creates a better world of work (HRTech). My role is currently in the Talent space, which is all about development plans, career pathways (internal mobility) and leadership effectiveness.

What do you do outside work?


I’d love to list all my hobbies and I feel like working in tech I probably should be waking up at 5 am to take ice baths but the reality is between being a single parent and working full time I steal small amounts of time where I can. I always feel better when I exercise so I cram in a quick F45 session every day, and then to relax I love to cook, it’s my wind down time at the end of the day.

What are some common misconceptions about what you do and don't do in your role?

Product Management has had a bad year perception-wise and the whole industry is going through an evolution. The biggest misconception is the difference between product management and project management, and product management and product owners. Ultimately product management represents the business interests, juggling these with user needs. To be quite flippant, product managers make sure the business survives and makes money from the products we create.

Where are product management and product roles heading in 2024?

Product management has been in a constant state of flux since the inception of this role and we’re about to undergo another evolution. The last 18 months have been pretty rough for tech in general and product management has been particularly battered. There are early green shoots that 2024 is going to be better than 2023 as a lot of hiring freezes have been lifted, although I think a lot of companies are focusing on making incremental improvements to their products rather than chasing any radical innovations or new business models.

What skills would you recommend product people pick up?

As far as skills to pick up, it’s more of a behaviour than a skill but it’s nurturing your curiosity. The best product managers get to the aha moment behind a why rather than accepting the status quo and it’s usually because they have followed their curiosity rather than surface value. I love it when product managers can bring learnings from other industries or areas such as the arts, history, healthcare, politics and give a new spin to a problem we’re trying to solve rather than looking at how we’ve always done something.

But as far as hard skills, it’s data literacy, being able to read and understand a P&L and understanding the commercials of your business backwards.

Any podcast you are currently listening to, or a book you are reading?

I wouldn’t work in product if I didn’t mention Lenny’s Podcast (although now that I’ve lost my commute I actually read the transcripts rather than listening), and 99% Invisible has been my favourite podcast for many years. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately with the theme of connecting why we are the way we are and what history or food have shaped modern life.

What is your favourite tool or resource, and why?

We have a slack channel where we post interesting links and I joke that I’ve just become a Lenny bot as I link to a lot of his writing. Lenny is the most amazing resource for product people, as is First Round Review. I adore the stories from Growth.Design. as they unpack the psychology behind specific product designs.  I’m not particularly wedded to any tools, most of them have their advantages and their faults.

Toughest work moment?

There have been lots of them. Redundancies or having to let someone go is always the hardest thing to do, as is being on the other side when I’ve been made redundant. It might be recency bias but I’ve recently made the same mistake for the second time which makes me really frustrated with myself as I know that mistakes and failings are part of being human but I really hate making the same mistake twice. Different companies and different circumstances but the root cause was the same when I drilled down to it.

Most rewarding work moment?

I have so many that I can’t choose one. Launching a new product is always a thrill, creating something new that didn’t exist before. Working side by side with people I really admire and learn a lot from is what keeps me energised. Ultimately it’s growing people’s careers that I find the most rewarding - when I can find the right challenges or opportunities or ask the right questions that unlocks the next level for someone - that’s why I do what I do.

Your one-sentence work-related advice

Follow your curiosity - you might not have a linear path up a career ladder but it will be interesting and rewarding.

Your one-sentence hiring-related advice

Hire people that scare the shit out of you - if they trigger your imposter syndrome and you’re scared they’re smarter than you, they are the right hire.

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