Ronke Majekodunmi is a Senior Product Manager at PayPal and her focus is to help 100+ minority women break into Product Management in 2022. Women of color have a hard time securing product manager roles, especially at large companies where DEI in product design is more important than ever.
Can you tell everyone, who is Ronke Majekodunmi?
For many years, I have been a noteworthy leader and powerhouse in product management. I have dedicated my career to creating outstanding, world-class products and investing my time to educate the next generation of product leaders. My mission is to make the world of product management more accessible for diverse product makers entering the field – providing insights and authentic experiences for the next generation to draw from.
In addition, I actively use my website and podcast to engage with fellow product managers and provide valuable content that helps expand their careers and create clarity from ambiguity. You can read more on www.ronkepm.comor tune into my podcast “Product Magic” on your favorite listening platform!
Why was it important to focus on helping 100+ minority women break into Product Management in 2022?
Diversity and inclusion are a conscious requisite and the discerning action that organizations, leaders, and employees must partake in to build influential people and products. Product leaders have the privilege and responsibility of shaping the products that our communities will use for years to come. Without diversity in our viewpoints and the inclusion of those different from us, our products would not have the same reach they would if they were created with everybody in mind.
When product exploration encompasses a wide range of thinking, the product can be built into something everyone can use regardless of race, ethnicity, and circumstances. So, if we create products that work for everyone, we can increase our customer base, allowing our organization’s revenue to grow. Diversity is essential to build best-in-class products.
You mention imposter syndrome! For those that are not aware, what is it and how can someone manage imposter syndrome working in product management?
Imposter syndrome can be characterized as a compilation of emotions of ineptitude, even remaining regardless of a person’s real and tangible accomplishments. Women who think they are fraudulent have chronic uncertainty and a sense of erudite deceitfulness that replaces any thoughts of achievements or visible validation of their proficiency.
Through time and experience, I have learned to deal with stress in moments of severe self-doubting. The ability to manage them has enabled me to pursue my aspirations. Whenever these thoughts creep into my mind (and they still do – particularly when I am about to do a presentation for my leadership, have a skip level meeting or being interviewed) – what has helped to be pertinacious are acknowledgement of past trailblazers, recognition of achievements, embracing shortcomings and turning fears into excitement and cease engaging in upward comparison
Let’s discuss bringing diversity to the business forefront. What does that mean to you to be a black minority woman working in product management and how can women overcome the obstacles?
Using your leadership voice means providing a light in the dark. Change can only transpire when these lights burn magnificently, preparing the way for others.
I am a successful African American product leader. I am humbled by how far I have gotten in my career. I’m driven, motivated, intelligent, graceful, and I lead with humility. I’m profoundly grateful for my story in all of its messy brilliance. The person I am today evolved throughout the years because of four women who took a chance and mentored me.
I am a product of my village. They have guided and supported me at various stages of my professional and personal life. They all took me under their wing, provided me with truthfulness, robust advice, and support – even when I did not realize I needed it or wanted it.
I have learned from these incredible individuals the importance of getting up after disappointments and missteps. Owning my mistakes and, most notably, the importance of not running away from challenges but instead running towards opportunities.
How do you believe we can diversify product teams?
Diversity management has never been more paramount. We still need to foster more inclusion of employees from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives into organizations’ structure to operate effectively in the real world, meeting the demands of emerging markets. Therefore, organizations must cultivate their diversity management approaches to acculturate to the expanding diversity of the workforce globally.
As demographics change, diversity becomes necessary to grow into new markets, retain employees, and recruit new candidates. High-performing candidates and emerging leaders want to see themselves reflected at every level of their organization. Not only does it influence individual and company performance, but employees are more likely to stay and grow their careers in companies where they can relate to their coaches and mentors. Seeing someone who looks like you in leadership has profound psychological effects on employees, allowing them to see who they can become in the future.
What does Women’s empowerment mean to you?
Women’s empowerment to me means I can use my leadership voice to bend history and shine a light so bright for others to follow. I am only the efficacious product leader I am today because other people used their leadership voice to light the path for me.
It means meeting my big moments with rectitude, excellence, gracefulness, and gentleness. Meeting my moment is part of the destiny I designed for myself and the generations of women to come after me.
What advice can you provide to women that are interested in working in project management?
Fortitude does not howl; it does not clamor nor growl. Instead, fortitude is the hushed voice that plainly says get up and try again tomorrow. If one interview does not work out, pause, rest, but never give up. Impediments and obstructions are necessary. It is a part of our destiny. These adversities and barriers will lead you to the right place, the right time, the right product management job for you.
What would you like our views to gain from this interview?
To anyone reading this article who faces setbacks or hindrances in accomplishing your dream – please do not give up. The generations of women who came before us always looked behind to see who was there, who needed help, and they pulled them up. When there was no opportunity, they created one to make our path much more accessible. They were only able to do that because they preserved. Therefore, we must continue to develop new opportunities for the next generation of women that will need our help to shatter the glass ceiling.
How can people connect with you?
People can reach me via the following channels
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – https://www.ronkepm.com/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronkemajek/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ronkemajekodun1
Photo credits: Ronke Majekodunmi