Upasna Gautam


In Upasna's role as Product Manager on the Digital News Platforms & Services team at CNN, she works with CNN's engineers, designers, editors, and journalists to develop and optimize the content management technology that delivers breaking news to the world. Upasna has been working in the tech industry for the last 15 years, where she has been an integral part of delivering technical, data-informed solutions for brands such as Ford Motor Company, PCMag, Mashable, Mars Corporation, and Kimberly-Clark. Outside of her day job at CNN, Upasna is an avid public speaker, career coach, meditation teacher, Public Speaking Coach at Shine Bootcamp, and a Community Lead with Google's Women Techmakers.

How will coaching shape the future of product over the next 5-10 years?

Coaching and mentorship is critical to the betterment of the Product industry because it decentralizes access to education and resources, and highlights the importance of equitable and affordable access to learning. As a result, the greatest power that mentorship/coaching will provide is in seizing valuable opportunities for underrepresented groups.

What are some of the most effective frameworks you've used when coaching leaders in your area?

The most effective frameworks I've used are around developing strong communication skills in three key areas: listening, writing, and speaking. I've encouraged my mentees/students to approach Product thinking with this three part framework (this has worked wonders for those who are completely new to Product or aspiring to transition into Product): Observation + Insight + Key Takeaway. Whether it's starting to documented discovery notes, talking to a stakeholder, or thinking about your own accomplishments, this 3-part framework covers the ground to ensure value and impact are delivered.

What's your best advice for product managers looking to increase their impact?

Focus on benefits over features. Whether it's interviewing for a job or asking for a raise/promotion, don't just talk about you can do - focus on the benefits you bring to the table, how you can affect change, and how you can provide value. My favorite example: Apple didn't make an ad that said "3 GB of storage." They made an ad that said "1,000 songs in your pocket." The key takeaway here is: no one cares what you can do - they care what you can do for *them.* That is the leverage needed to increase impact.

Anything we should know about you as a thought leader in the area of product:

Nope! Thank you for reading and for the consideration!