Product School is proud to honor this year’s most influential Black Product Leaders in our community who help to build digital products loved by millions.
In 2021, more barriers into the tech industry are being broken than ever before.
Product Managers build products for everyone, which means they need to be built by everyone. This month, in honour of Black History Month, we’re celebrating Black Product Leaders. These twenty individuals have made stunning contributions to their respective companies and to the tech industry, so we’re shining the spotlight on them.
Mamuna Oladipo, SVP of Product, Design & Engineering at Kickstarter
Meet Mamuna. She’s the Senior Vice President Product, Design & Engineering at Kickstarter. Before that role, she was Vice President of Product at SeamlessDocs and Vice President of Product Marketing and Design at Sony Music Entertainment. Some of her specialties include building product strategies & roadmaps aligned across companies’ needs and standardizing user-centered design processes across organizations.
“Applying holistic thinking to product management means you are taking any new or old ideas and understanding the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts.“Mamuna Oladipo
Leonard Kongshavn, Global Product Lead at Google
Leonard is passionate about building the best products in the market. He’s currently the Global Product Lead and Search Partners at Google, where he specializes in shaping the global strategy and delivering growth. Before Google, he was a Senior Account Executive at Gambit Hill+Knowlton Strategies. According to a colleague of his, Leonard has a positive approach to problem-solving, always gets tasks done, and is easy and fun to work with.
“Curiosity is the core fundamental to what you do when you develop something new into the world.“Leonard Kongshavn
Kasha Stewart, Head of Product at Disney
Kasha is the Head of Product at Disney. She is a transformative consumer-facing product expert and leader. She aims to deliver the product vision, strategy, and roadmap at the C-suite level, in addition to internal and external stakeholders. Prior to her current role, Kasha was the Director of Product Management for Beachbody On Demand and is also a speaker/panelist for Disney, Women in Product, and Afrotech.
“Leadership is defined by your actions. Not your title.”Kasha Stewart
Annie Jean-Baptiste, Author and Head of Product Inclusion at Google
Annie Jean-Baptiste is an author, founder of the Equity Army, and the Head of Product Inclusion at Google. She leads Product Inclusion strategy across the company, including consultation, communications, scale, and research. She is passionate about making the web and Google’s products work for underserved communities while ensuring that Google is a place where everyone shines for their differences.
Outside of Google, Annie is a former American Heart Association spokesperson and a One Young World ambassador focused on healthy lifestyles in underserved communities. She is also a former Hack the Hood mentor. She currently serves on the board of KQED.
“Technology can have bias and if we are not intentional about bringing an inclusive lens throughout the entire product design process.”Annie Jean-Baptiste
Daniel Ayele, Product Leader at Atlassian
Daniel is a Senior Product Manager whose passion revolves around making tools for teams. Currently, he is a Senior Product Manager at Atlassian, where he leads the Confluence collaboration team, aiming to help teams engage meaningfully and move their work forward by revamping the comments, notifications, and sharing experience. Before this, Daniel was a Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, Bright, Ancestry, and Inflection. His colleague describes him as a great Product Manager and team leader.
Empower your team to find ways to create shared experiences and grow.Daniel Ayele
Martie Burris, Senior Product Manager at Salesforce
Martie is a creative who enjoys building products that improve people’s lives. She specializes in organizing chaos, empowering Product teams, and Technology Consulting. When Martie isn’t working, she uses her experience to educate and create space for others. In 2018, she started a coaching initiative called FoldingChair; through her initiative, she’s helped 25+ “coachees” from underserved backgrounds find their first or second Product roles.
Currently, Martie is a Senior Manager of Product Management at Salesforce, where she manages Partnerships, Programs, and Product for over $100M+ business. Prior to her current role, she was a Product Manager at Workday, where she teamed with Customers, UX Designers, and Engineers to build flexible global financial products for the resource management and professional services industry. Notably, she was a two-time winner of the X-Team Award for Product and had features listed in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant.
“You are the thought leader, and visionary for your product. No one should know the product better than you. Part of being successful in product is leading through influence.”Martie Burris
Jamal Eason, Group Product Manager at Google
Jamal is an experienced Product Manager in the internet & mobile industries for both start-ups and large companies. He’s highly skilled in Strategic Planning, UX Design, Analytical Thinking, Go-to-market Strategy, Mobile Apps, and Leadership. Currently, Jamal is Senior Product Manager at Google, where he launched Android Studio.
Before this, Jamal worked in tech at Bon’App as Product Manager, then moved onto Intel Corporation as a Product Marketing Manager, and finally made the jump to Google. Jamal’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from West Point, a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Laura Teclemariam, Director of Product Management at Netflix
Laura is a business-focused Product Manager with over 18+ years of experience managing products, teams and analyzing data in the entertainment industry. She describes herself as a highly motivated individual who has the knowledge-base to make a difference and affect a company’s bottom line in an executive-level position.
Right now, she’s currently working as the Director of Product Management at Netflix, and before that, she held Product Management positions at Warner Bros, EA Sports, and Glu Mobile.
“Build Products like the world depends on it, because it does.”Laura Teclemariam
Oji Udezue, VP of Product at Calendly
Oji is currently a VP of Product at Calendly, where he leads the product, design, and customer content strategies for the company. He’s also an Angel Investor and founding partner of the Kernel Fund and worked as a PM at Microsoft for over six years. He is a pragmatic, hands-on operator and with an innate ability to communicate with a cut through mindset. His colleagues describe him as strategic, customer-oriented, engineering-minded, business-focused, and a great leader.
Tiffany Dockery, Product Leader at Instagram
Tiffany is passionate about building high-functioning teams and solving complex problems. Currently, she’s working as a Product Manager at Instagram, and before that, she worked at Amazon, HBO, Google, and even Spotify as a Senior Product Manager.
During her MBA studies at Yale, she was a co-leader for the Yale Global Social Enterprise, where she helped lead a class of 25 students to Nicaragua to provide free pro-bono consulting to social enterprises in the country. She was also a co-leader for Q+, Yale SOM’s LGBTQA Alliance, and sat on the Dean’s Diversity Task Force.
“The magic sauce is the ability to identify what the real problem area is for the customer and the ability to get people bought into what the core solution would be.”Tiffany Dockery
Lenworth Gordon, Senior Technical Product Manager at Amazon
Lenworth is a seasoned Product architect, bringing to his position over 19 years of extensive experience designing and implementing consumer products and complicated enterprise systems. Today, Lenworth leads the company’s efforts at Amazon as a Senior Technical Product Manager, driven by a passion for invention and customer-obsession. He has contributed to many Product managerial roles during his lucrative career, supporting small and mid-sized ventures and successful enterprises such as Amazon and Verizon.
For each organization he leads, Lenworth helps achieve transformative success offering extensive development life cycle expertise. In addition to this, his other specialties include the Internet of Things (IoT), telematics, e-commerce, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and business intelligence.
Jacquelle Amankonah, Product Leader at Google
Jacquelle is a Product Manager at Google, where she leads a team of 150+ people working on the Google Assistant transformation. Before her current role, she worked within the entertainment technology space, launching award-winning music apps, reinventing music distribution at major labels, and heading operations for major teams at brand new startup ventures in music to established corporations dealing with billion+ scale.
Receiving her Master’s degree in Law and Philosophy from USC at just 20 years old and heralded as being one of the Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs in the world, Jacquelle has kept her avid and thriving entrepreneurial spirit, believing the best ideas only come alive with an unforgiving drive and a healthy environment to cultivate them. She started Global MIC as the mecca of her passions to gather and empower the next generation of music and tech innovators to push all boundaries within the space.
“Your insights power all the tech decisions … and you own these fully.”Jacquelle Amankonah
Brandon Quinn, Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn
Brandon is a firm believer that leading with empathy is the shortest path to solving any problem. Currently, he is a Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn. Before this, he worked as the Director of Product at Starcity. Besides, he worked at Apple for over 14 years in various positions. Brandon’s situational understanding is impressive.
He knows when to dive into the details, when to look at the big picture, when to have a challenging conversation, and when to push back. All of these traits, combined with his charisma and positive attitude, make him perfect for Product.
“Anything that you do is going to be challenging but having a great passion for what you’re trying to solve will carry you a long way.”Brandon Quinn
Dianthe van Velzen, Product Leader at Facebook
Dianthe is a Product Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the tech industry. Currently, she works as a Product Manager at Facebook, and before that, she held Product and tech roles at Booking.com, Microsoft, and several startups. She has extensive knowledge in business strategy, data analytics, and the principles of UX design. Besides, she graduated with an MSc in Marketing Management from Rotterdam School of Management University.
“Think hard on what really matters, but don’t wait for the perfect metric”Dianthe van Velzen
Jon Bell, Product Lead at Netflix
Jon is an experienced Product Lead with over ten years of experience in the Product world. Right now, he is a Product Lead at Netflix, and before that, he built products at Mailchimp, where he led a group of 10 product designers crafting the future of marketing automation on the web and mobile. Besides, Jon worked as a Product Lead at Udacity. He is known for mixing innovation, design, data, and technology to build solutions that add exponential value to products.
Uche Adegbite, Director of Product at Twitter
Uche is the Director of Product Management for Global Markets at Twitter. She is a high-energy, results-oriented leader with excellent interpersonal, communication, and relationship-building skills. Uche’s key strengths also include Program Management, requirements discovery, business prioritization, UX design, and project management for complex projects.
As well as the ability to problem-solve, adapt and work with ambiguous and evolving requirements, Uche holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and has more than 13 years of experience working at top tech companies such as Microsoft and Twitter.
Ebi Atawodi, Head of Product at Uber
Ebi is a Product advisor at Origin, and before that, she worked at Uber, leading the Amsterdam Product team. While at Uber, she got to work with over 120 talented product managers, designers, engineers, and data scientists, making every company experience even more seamless. Prior to that role, she was the General Manager at Uber West Africa, tasked with growing the business from 15 cars to a top 20 market in the EMEA region. Ebi is also widely known for being the creator of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, which was named Africa’s most prestigious literary prize.
Benjamin Earl Evans, Product Inclusion Lead at Airbnb
Benjamin is a design executive with a focus on product inclusion. His mission is to lead a new generation of problem solvers who use design to tackle issues like racism, sexism, and bias. He is also a passionate team builder devoted to fostering a culture of excellence, effective collaboration, and joy. Benjamin’s experience spans industrial, service, and digital design, as well as user research and business strategy. Currently, he works as a Product Inclusion Lead at Airbnb, and before that, he held various design positions in places like Nike, Nickelodeon, and Impact Hub.
Asia Mariah Stewart, Product Leader at American Express
Asia is a centric and data-informed technologist with over 9 years of digital marketing and product experience. She’s a skilled strategist in aligning people, process, and products within the beauty, financial technology, and high growth startup space. Currently, she works as a Product Manager at American Express, and before that, she worked at Estée Lauder. She is known for being an expert owner and creator of user experiences that continually raise the bar on functionality, usability, simplicity, and flow.
Erin Teague, Director of Product at YouTube
Erin is an exceptional product leader with a proven record of mixing sports and technology in her job. She’s currently working as the Head of Product at YouTube Sports, and before that, she was the Head of Product for YouTube’s Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) team.
She’s also worked in Product at places like Twitter and Yahoo and is widely recognized as one of Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence, winning 2019’s BET Tech Maven Award. She was also recognized as one of the “Silicon Valley 100” by Business Insider and one of Silicon Valley’s “40 under 40.”
Congratulations to these incredible product leaders. We can’t wait to see what the future hold for each of you.