Product Leader Spotlight: Gloria Folaron

We chatted with Gloria Folaron, Digital Product Manager lead at a sleep technology startup, to learn more about her role in helping people sleep better and insight and journey into PM.

Product Leader Spotlight: Gloria Folaron

Kraftful Growth Lead, Anna Carmichael, chatted with Gloria Folaron, a Digital Product Manager lead at a sleep technology startup, to learn more about her role in helping people sleep better and insight and journey into PM.

Anna: Tell me about your current role and how you got into product management?

Gloria: I’m the Digital Product Manager Lead at  a local sleep technology startup and I work on  our open source  project management system, Leantime, with my partner as a PM in my spare time.

My undergraduate degree in nursing. One thing that attracted me to nursing was the people piece. My initial draw to nursing was helping people but the more I got into it, the more it started to be clear that people had health issues and that I would see problems and want to fix them. This realization led me to Product Management.

Anna: What core values drive product development for you?

Gloria: When I think about my core value and mission for product development, I lean into human empathy. When we think about building products for customers rather than humans, we stop thinking of the human using the product at the other end. I constantly remind myself that we are building for humans, not customers. Dollars will follow if you are bringing value to those humans.

Anna: If you’re successful in your mission at your current role, what impact will that have on the world?

Gloria: Research shows that if you don't sleep enough it's the equivalent of driving drunk and that you interpret body signals and facial expressions more incorrectly. So if we change the world and we all sleep better, the roads get safer and we will be able to be more empathetic, and trusting of others. If we’re sleeping better, we might just be generally happier people too.

Anna: Do you have any advice for folks (or women) trying to break into a PM role?

Gloria: My past is traditionally unconventional. Find a way to carve out your specialized piece.  When you hear “nurse,” you don’t necessarily think “product manager.” But my background let me see frameworks, systematic processes, approaches and the human component. Skills translate across fields - the technical piece of product management is practice and experience that comes with time.

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