Skip to main content

Currently, only about 1 in 4 employees in the tech industry identifies as a woman. So what does it take to create a successful career as a woman in Tech? In this interview series called Women in Tech, we are talking to successful leaders in the tech industry to share stories and insights about what they did to lead successful careers. We also discuss the steps needed to create a great tech product. As part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tamar Rosati.

Tamar Rosati

As Chief Product Officer for Honor Technology, Tamar Rosati brings extensive product experience from both start up and large public companies, including Citigroup, Apple, Trulia and Granular. From leading teams of all sizes in product development and product management across design, engineering, and data science, her expertise includes:product-led growth, B2B2C and marketplace experiences, productizing data science/artificial intelligence, managing multi-product portfolios, user-centric product design, product analytics and product strategy, as well as, corporate strategy, finance and marketing. Tamar received a bachelor’s in science from Georgetown University and her MBA from Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before diving in, our readers would love to learn more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ironically, I never envisioned a career in tech. I actually began my career in investment banking. The most exciting and rewarding work that I did during my time there was creating a new innovative financial product for clients in Latin America. This ignited my curiosity in product management and technology, which led to business school followed by a career in tech.

It has been said that our mistakes can sometimes be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Early on I learned about the importance in product of accurately estimating the impact of your work. The first project I worked on as a product manager, I think I estimated for the sales team that we would increase leads by 300% with a simple page redesign. If only it were that easy! We had a lot of leads to make up for after that! 

What do you feel has been your career-defining moment?

Both of my career-defining moments are defined by a senior executive taking a big chance on me. I wouldn’t be where I am without those leaders recognizing my potential and giving me the opportunity. The first instance was in my transition from finance to product management at my first tech company. Our CFO saw my potential to be a strong product leader and helped me to make the transition. At my next company, our CEO similarly made a big bet on me and overnight promoted me from a project manager leader managing a couple of people to running our entire product development organization spanning 250 people.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

The beginning of my journey in product was very humbling. I had no idea what I was doing. What’s SQL? What’s the difference between UI and UX? I credit a couple of really patient colleagues at the time—the lead engineer I worked with and a fellow project manager—who were very generous with their time in answering my really basic questions about developing products. I remember I actually bought a book that explained how web technologies work.

I’ve always been perseverant—my mom told me that since I was young if I put my mind to something I would get it done, whatever it took. When I transitioned to product, I was really motivated to learn how to create things (experiences) with technology. That’s what exhilarated me about becoming a product manager.

We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address? How does your company help people?

Honor Technology leads the world’s largest home care network using a unique, technology platform to provide the most advanced care for aging adults. According to AARP, nearly 90% of adults over 65 would prefer to age in place as they grow older, and home is often the safest place for them to be. To make it possible, the home care industry will need to grow the workforce by 30% as nearly 71 million baby boomers enter the stage of life when they will need some assistance.

Honor is solving for this looming aging care crisis. Through our home care franchise network, Home Instead, we aim to deliver more personalized care to older adults by providing innovative, expanded offerings to both care professionals and clients. The heart of our technology is our Honor Care App which not only enables care professionals to be matched with the right client, but offers ongoing training, real-time updated care plans, and full autonomy and control over scheduling that aligns with individual skill sets. By using technology, we are providing a better work experience for care professionals which ultimately leads to better care experiences for clients.

If someone wants to lead a great company and create great products, what is the most important quality that a person should have, and what habits or behaviors would you suggest for honing that particular quality?

They should be very passionate. As a product leader, it’s so important that you genuinely care and are excited about the problems you are solving in the world. Your team and the organization will feed off of your energy, excitement, and passion for it. Do think about what types of problems out there, that can be solved with technology, might keep you up at night thinking about and pop you out of bed in the morning to go tackle.

Next, let’s talk about teams. What’s a team management strategy or framework that you’ve found to be exceptionally useful for the product development process?

I subscribe to the philosophy of empowered product teams, a term coined by Marty Cagan, author of Inspired and founder of Silicon Valley Product Group. The concept is that you stand up the four legs of the chair—product management, design, engineering, data science—organized into product teams that are given lots of business and product strategy context. The teams are tasked with an objective or problem space to solve, empowered to solve it, and held accountable for delivering outcomes (not shipping features). I’ve seen this structure make all the difference in terms of producing creativity and innovation. When you can harness that collective creative capacity of these very unique perspectives (data, technical, user experience, business) on the same problem, that’s where the magic happens.

When you think of the strongest team you’ve ever worked with, why do you think the team worked so well together, and can you recall an anecdote that illustrates the dynamic?

The strongest teams I’ve worked with are characterized by a few things:

  • A high degree of psychological safety—the individuals have a high degree of trust, respect, and vulnerability to ask the hard questions and challenge each other in a super productive and constructive way, in a way that makes us all better.
  • A high degree of accountability to results and a high shared standard of performance.
  • Levity—this means connecting on a personal level, cracking a joke, and feeling connected to each other. You can be serious about your work, produce results and still enjoy the process of getting there through the little moments of levity.

If you had only one software tool in your arsenal, what would it be, why, and what other tools do you consider to be mission-critical?

I couldn’t imagine doing my job without Slack, Google Docs, and Figma. Well-written, structured, organized thinking in docs and through visualization is the lifeblood of product people.

Let’s talk about downtime. What’s your go-to practice or ritual for preventing burnout?

I have two toddlers, so downtime is a rarity, but when I have it, I like to practice yoga (the hot kind!). I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to be tuned into your leading signals of burnout. I personally feel it in how I show up for my family and colleagues, and in the quality of my thinking as a leader. It’s really important once you start feeling those signs to shut it off and take a mental break from “the work” for an afternoon, evening or a long weekend. You’ll come back even more productive and effective as a leader. 

Based on your experience, what are your “Five Steps Needed to Create Great Tech Products”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Know your problem. So much time and investment is lost in product development chasing solutions without clarity on the problem they are out to solve. Investing the upfront time and work in defining the problem will save you from lots of product failures. 
  1. Obsess about the problem. Work relentlessly to understand and obsess about the problem you are solving. Know everything you could possibly know about the problem, spend lots of time with your end users, talk to subject matter experts, research competitors, and study it from any and all angles.
  2. Find your innovators. Some individuals are naturally very creative thinkers and live in the land of the possible. Identify who those individuals are and tap into their creativity for your toughest problems.

    I always have my go-to data scientists and engineers that I go to for ideas. Figure out how to get really good at providing context and defining the problem so the innovators can contribute their novel thinking to how we might solve it.
  1. Test, test and test some more. There are so many ways to test out a product solution before an engineer writes a single line of code. Concept testing, prototyping, usability testing, developing technical POCs—the faster you can test and validate, the better. Concepts that fail early should be celebrated—this means you can quickly throw out the ideas that don’t have legs, move on to the ones that do and celebrate how you saved precious engineering hours from building the thing that will never work!

    It’s very easy to get attached to a solution but if you obsess about the problem and get attached to it, you can be impartial to the solution.
  1. Take calculated risks. If you don’t feel a little bit nervous every time you ship something, you probably are playing it too safe. Yes, you can test and de-risk a lot before you ship something, but you should always feel a bit uncomfortable, or you probably aren’t innovating at the level you need to.

Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in tech? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?

I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by strong female leaders in tech throughout my career.

Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch and why?

I always rack my brain on this question and then end up at the same place … I would love to have breakfast or lunch with my late grandparents, whom I never got to meet. I’m Armenian and am a first-generation American. I would love to learn more about my grandparents’ rich history and journey.

For more interviews like this, subscribe to The Product Manager newsletter.

By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The Product Manager. Following six years of experience in the tech industry, she pivoted into the content space where she's had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant voices in the product world. Driven by insatiable curiosity and a love of bringing people together, her mission is to foster a fun, vibrant, and inspiring community of product people.