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Exploring Life & Business with Ronke Majekodunmi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ronke Majekodunmi.

Hi Ronke, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
For many years, I have been a noteworthy leader and powerhouse in product management. I have dedicated my career to creating outstanding, world-class products and investing my time to educate the next generation of product leaders. My mission is to make the world of product management more accessible for diverse product makers entering the field – providing insights and authentic experiences for the next generation to draw from.

In my current role as Senior Product Manager at PayPal, I am responsible for collaborating with global stakeholders, leading the strategy and development of new products while supporting the career development of the product management teams. At PayPal, I am a recognized mentor that leads with charisma to bring cross-functional and innovative products to life. In my previous positions, I partnered closely with key members in various industries to develop the entire life cycle of products, envision and define product vision, and achieve optimal performance levels.

I have always been passionate about sharing my wisdom and experience with beginner product managers. Partnering with Product School, I have the unique opportunity to contribute to a community of over one million product professionals, sharing my industry insights to help shape their effectiveness and leadership. At Product School, I host webinars teaching the importance of leading with empathy, and gratitude and utilizing soft skills, interpersonal characteristics, and building coalitions. I also host Product Management Certification courses, where I guide product managers joining the space. In addition to my various teaching opportunities, I regularly volunteer my time at the University of Washington’s Product Management Center. There, I engage with and offer insights and guidance to empower product management students from historically marginalized communities.

I earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University and holds a Bachelor’s in African American Studies from the State University of New York at Albany.

In addition, I actively use my website and podcast to engage with fellow product managers and provide valuable content that helps expand their careers and create clarity from ambiguity. You can read more on www.ronkepm.com or tune into my podcast “Product Magic” on your favorite listening platform!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I am a successful African American product leader. I am humbled by how far I have gotten in my career. I’m driven, motivated, intelligent, graceful, and I lead with humility. I’m profoundly grateful for my story in all of its messy brilliance. The person I am today evolved throughout the years because of four women who took a chance and mentored me.

I am a product of my village. They have guided and supported me at various stages of my professional and personal life. They all took me under their wing, provided me with truthfulness, robust advice, and support – even when I did not realize I needed it or wanted it.

When certain opportunities have not worked out for me, when I am dealing with personal and professional setbacks or failures, they ask me what is next?

I have learned from these incredible individuals the importance of getting up after disappointments and missteps. Owning my mistakes and, most notably, the importance of not running away from challenges but instead running towards opportunities.

In those low moments when I did not want to get up, they pushed and forced me to. I am where I am today because of perseverance. All these years later, I can honestly say I am so thankful for my unanswered prayers because all those opportunities that did not work out for me put me at the right place and the right time to meet the love of my life, opening doors and opportunities I had never imagined; I just had to persevere.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson of all, the impossible may take a long time or cost money, but it is possible – and I am a testament to this life lesson.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
With Ronke PM LLC (https://www.ronkepm.com/), I have a platform to uncover product magic one story at a time.

I’ve been in the world of Product Management for years now, and I’ve never looked back.

Curating products that help bring a company’s vision to life is what I love to do. Throughout the years, I have led successful teams that develop outstanding, customer-centric products and continue to do so as Senior Product Manager for a major payments technology company.

My MBA education allowed me to develop the business skills necessary for Product Management, like problem-solving and storytelling, but most of my success has come from crafting my soft skills.

When I talk about soft skills, I mean the interpersonal abilities they don’t teach you in schools, such as leading without authority, building coalitions, and expressing gratitude.

Soft skills are essential for Product Managers to motivate partners and teams to exceed expectations.

These skills have not only helped me become a recognized mentor but also effectively lead my teams to develop innovative products for enterprises looking to manage and scale their business.

I am here today as a resource, ready to inspire the next generation of Product Managers. Partnering with Product School as a Featured Speaker, I share pivotal experiences and insights to mould new Product Managers entering the field into natural leaders capable of transforming an entire organization.

On this site, you’ll find valuable resources and articles to help you hone in on your soft skills while growing your product management and leadership abilities. These will get you thinking and help you to truly understand how to create a customer-focused product management culture, lead without authority, express gratitude and most of all – create product magic.

Product Management is much more than discovering a problem, proposing it to your company, and having your team create a solution.

It’s the epicentre of all company innovation. It’s influencing and leading each team to work together to bring a vision to life. It’s what drives businesses forward, solidifies customer relationships, and creates products that have the capacity to change both the market and the lives of clients.

Product Management begins with the customers it seeks to serve. One of the reasons I love this role is because of the research that goes into it. Through focus groups, conducting interviews, and discovering customer pain points, Product Managers are able to tell a captivating story to motivate an entire organization to come together and take action.

In the role of Product Manager, you are in a prime position to transform how an organization thinks about customer problems and apply this in a way that empowers teams to create innovative solutions. This requires collaboration with cross-functional departments, building coalitions with those involved, and challenging the ideas presented.

Creating clarity from ambiguity is a highly rewarding and exciting experience that Product Managers get to craft each day.

So really, why Product Management?

As a Product Manager, you have a unique opportunity to bring value and elicit excitement from coworkers, teams, and customers alike. Your product vision has a direct effect on improving the lives of others and has the chance to change the industry as a whole – creating lifelong advocates for the company and your work.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Using your voice means providing a light in the dark. Change can only transpire when these lights burn magnificently, preparing the way for others.

If you are a new or aspiring product manager, please do not give up on your dreams no matter how many setbacks or hindrances. Pause, Rest, But never give up. Fortitude does not howl; it does not clamor nor growl. Instead, fortitude is the hushed voice that plainly says get up and try again tomorrow.

The generations of women who came before us always looked behind to see who was there, who needed help, and they pulled them up. When there was no opportunity, they created one to make our path much more accessible. They were only able to do that because they preserved. Therefore, we must continue to develop new opportunities for the next generation of women that will need our help to shatter the glass ceiling.

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