By Adrienne Rupp, Vice President, Marketing
In this next piece in our employee spotlight series, I talked with Toni Connelly, senior product manager of data sources. Toni graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology. She and her family currently reside in Raleigh, N.C.
Toni, who is completing her seventh year with Validic at the end of this month, is the product manager for Validic’s healthcare IoT platform, which helps clients access personal health data from 530+ home health and wearable devices.
“There’s nothing that makes me prouder at work than hearing from people that their quality of life has improved, or that they have a much better understanding of their health, and what sort of positive impact that change or knowledge has had for them and their loved ones.” – Toni Connelly, senior product manager of data sources
Adrienne Rupp: What made you decide to join Validic?
Toni Connelly: I started my career in the eCommerce industry, designing and building applications to ease selling on retail sites like Amazon, eBay, Shopify and others. The challenges and opportunities in that industry largely centered around standardizing workflows for sellers to manage their inventory, listings, and sales across multiple platforms that all had different features and functionality. No two days were the same and I was energized by the thrill of solving big problems and working with everyone from small retailers to million dollar successful entrepreneurs.
However, I always felt that technology could power something even more amazing and impactful – I just needed to keep my eyes open for the right opportunity. I joined Validic because of the company’s laser focus on improving healthcare and empowering people to understand and improve their fitness and wellness. Healthcare is an area that I knew had the potential to positively touch millions of lives. Good health is the foundation of a quality life and achieving good health still feels mystical and confusing for some of us. If I could bring some clarity and direction to others, I knew I could make a big impact on the lives of others. Validic has given me the opportunity to combine my love of technology with my desire to help others in a profound way.
AR: Tell me about your role here as senior product manager of data sources.
TC: As senior product manager of data sources, I get to work closely with device manufacturers, application developers, wellness companies, healthcare providers, and health and technology industry leaders. My goal is to identify and integrate new sources of critical, high-quality health data that can be used to power patient programs. Having access to such data gives patients and their healthcare team valuable insight into how their day-to-day activities and health decisions affect their health. With the right data, they can make more informed health decisions based on their lifestyle, health, and needs.
AR: What is a day in the life of a Validic product manager? What kinds of tasks, meetings, deliverables are part of it?
TC: A large part of my day is spent serving as a liaison between a variety of different parties with the goal of facilitating a cohesive experience to deliver data from a source of health data to Validic customers. In addition, I’m responsible for the strategic vision and direction of the Validic® Inform health IoT platform, which requires me to plan and execute. I collaborate with others on our product and development teams to prioritize objectives, manage a backlog, build a product roadmap, and plan development sprints, all with the goal of delivering a great product with timely and useful features to our customers.
AR: What type of skills, education, training do you need for your role or similar roles?
TC: Perhaps not surprisingly, soft skills top the chart for success as a product manager. Great communication skills are necessary to help explain concepts, garner support for ideas, lead discussions, and advocate for customers.
Problem-solving, listening, and investigative skills (the ability to ask relevant and thought-provoking questions) are all crucial skills to help product managers process and understand challenging problems and complex solutions.
Critical thinking and analytical skills help product managers brainstorm and evaluate alternatives.
Leadership skills help motivate product teams and build rapport with other internal and external teams. Customer service skills also help product managers support and build relationships with customers.
Finally, project and time management skills help product managers stay on task and effectively plan and manage their team’s time.
AR: What do you enjoy most about your role?
TC: I am a collaborative and inquisitive person so I most enjoy working with others to create new features and solve problems. The challenges that we’re tackling at Validic have real-world implications and directly affect the lives of others. There’s nothing that makes me prouder at work than hearing from people that their quality of life has improved, or that they have a much better understanding of their health, and what sort of positive impact that change or knowledge has had for them and their loved ones. At Validic, I get to hear stories like that often.
AR: What’s one thing on your bucket list?
TC: I want to visit every U.S. national park.
AR: When you’re not at work, how do you spend your free time?
TC: In my spare time I enjoy interior decorating, party planning, and playing the violin.
AR: Finally, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out?
TC: Impress yourself. Always aspire a little bit higher than you think you can reach.
Validic is hiring! View our open roles at https://validic.com/careers/ and read more about what it’s like to work for Validic.
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