Ever wondered what it’s like to work for a digital product studio? Feeling curious about what makes our team so successful? Our employee spotlight series is here to give you an insight into who we are, how we work, and shine a light on Crowdlinker’s most valued assets - the people.
Last month, the team gave a huge welcome to our newest Product Manager, Clémence Wassen. Clem completed her Masters in Management at the UBC Sauder School of Business around the time of the pandemic, before diving head first into a couple of dynamic product/project management roles.
During our chat, we spoke about Clem’s refusal to become an early casualty of a looming tech recession and how she discovered her new opportunity here with us at Crowdlinker. We also learnt a little bit about Clem’s roots, her ambitions, and of course, what she’s been up to since she got here.
As someone so new to Crowdlinker, we actually haven’t had a chance to speak before now. When did you start and what was that like for you?
I started September 19th. The onboarding was absolutely incredible. Maja (Maja Plastich, People Operations Coordinator) was such an angel, I've never had a fully dedicated HR person before.
That first day she spent all day with me making sure that I had everything set up. It was great, the amount of support that I got was more than I expected.
That’s really nice to hear! How did you discover your new position?
The company I was working for before was in a situation where it was likely some of us were going to lose our jobs. I’d heard of so many layoffs in the tech industry around Vancouver happening anyway, so around mid July I decided to be proactive and see what was out there to understand just how tight the job market really was.
I applied to 4 jobs and I was super selective about where I applied. I wanted something in a full time product role, with a similar culture, similar build, and an outlook that prioritizes employee empowerment.
I ended up losing my job like I suspected and following through with those applications. I got quite far into the process with a few of them, but in the end, I chose Crowdlinker because of the work that you guys do, the role I would be stepping into, and the way that the company works.
What was it about the role and the way the company works that helped you to make your choice in the end?
It was important for me to find an environment with supportive co-workers that offers transparency when it comes to the financials of the company and what’s being done in terms of business development. I also like that Crowdlinker invests in their employees' growth.
In terms of the role, I loved that it would give me the ability to work remotely. Being able to visit my family in Europe but not have to take time off was really important for me.
You mentioned your family is in Europe, is that where you’re from originally?
I was born in France in Le Mans, then when I was 9 my parents moved to suburban New York, which is where I learned English. And then I decided to go to UBC (The University of British Columbia), in Vancouver, because it was cheaper and really pretty, haha. So, I moved there, and that’s where I did my Bachelors in Psychology and my Masters degree in Management. Afterwards I decided to stay in Vancouver. But right now I’m actually in London!
France, London, Toronto, Vancouver. How are you finding the time difference? Does it cause any problems?
I find it really easy. My previous company was entirely west coast based, so when I’d come to Europe to be with my family that was a 9 hour time difference! Having just 6 or 5 hours is much easier.
Also, there’s good communication here. The amount of documentation and processes that there is in place to support me and help me to self guide is great. For example, right now I've just started a competitive analysis, and every time I have a question I can go back to the documentation and unblock myself rather than having to wait for help.
Other than loving the ability to work remotely, how are you finding working with Crowdlinker so far?
It’s really nice. Previously I was seen as a product expert in my role, and I only had a couple of years behind me. So here it’s really nice to be around people who are more experienced than me that I can learn from.
I love how busy I am. I’m definitely someone who’d much rather be overwhelmed than underwhelmed. I have a lot of drive and ambition and right now I’m thriving.
There’s also a certain kind of comradery that you can feel in the company. People are friendly and there’s jokes going around without it being too ‘bro-y’. The culture huddles are really fun too, and you can see people actually want to engage in the games together without it feeling like an awkward icebreaker.
In terms of being really busy, what sort of things have you been working on since you started?
It’s been a pretty fast start for me since my onboarding. I’ve been working closely with Fiona and Aram and it’s been really nice to see that they trust me to do my job, and they’re also really supportive in a way that enables me to be independent.
I was onboarded with our client, Rove, as their Product Manager. Essentially, the project is for a travel app - kind of like Airbnb experiences, but directed specifically at Gen Z. It’s interesting and exciting to work on such a big project, and I also really love to travel so it’s been fun for me.
Then I recently just started doing a competitive analysis for a new opportunity we have in the pipeline, which is also sort of travel related. It’s a booking management software, and the client is interested in increasing their PLG (product led growth) - essentially creating a self onboarding flow so that their conversion rate is less dependent on SDRs (Sales Development Reps) and out-bounding.
And soon I’m going to be product managing a build for one of our existing clients who is adding a new feature to their app.
I think there’s a lot of challenges that can come along with a remote role that is so fundamentally reliant on working with other people. Given that this has been a pretty positive experience for you so far, do you have any advice for anyone thinking of going into a similar remote role?
You know they say, “when it’s going well it’s like you’re herding sheep, when it’s not going well it’s like you’re herding cats.”
So when it feels like you’re herding cats, I’d give this advice:
If you think that you’re communicating enough, communicate even more - that’s something I try to live by. And I think in general it’s good advice for working remotely,
Then for the product management side of things - Approach things with curiosity and keep an open mind. You might think you know something about your client, a project, a product, a design, or a UX, but it could just be an assumption. And not only does that apply to the work itself, but also your co-workers.
I agree, I think that’s great advice.
We’ve talked a lot about work! So, to finish, can you tell me a bit about what sort of things you enjoy outside of work?
I wouldn't be a Vancouverite if I didn’t spend the majority of my weekends skiing and hiking with my partner and friends! Over the past couple of years, I’ve also really gotten into running. I started running during the pandemic as a way of coping with everything going on in the world, and I signed up for a half marathon just to have something to work towards. When I completed my third one, I promised myself that when in person races were back, I'd run a full marathon - and I did! I finished the Vancouver Marathon in May 2022, and actually just signed up for the Paris Marathon in April 2023 with my sister. But before that, I'll be running my fourth half marathon next week - Oct 22!
I also want to keep on pushing my limits even more - my plan is to complete a half Ironman in September 2023. Ultimately, I want to do a full Ironman in a couple of years ... and not to become an Ironman, but to become an Iron-Woman!
As well, travelling the world and constantly pushing my physical and mental limits is what my dreams are made of!
And one thing I couldn’t go without - spending time with animals. I’m counting the days till I move into a pet friendly apartment. Until then, I'll just have to make do by stealing my friends' dogs!
Thanks so much to Clem for taking the time out of a busy day to speak with me. Welcome to the team!
If you’re interested in joining our team, check out our careers page for the latest opportunities at Crowdlinker.