Jodie Ryu has been working as a product manager for Brightspot since July 2018.
Last summer, Jodie Ryu oversaw the implementation of Brightspot's first professional sporting event platform for the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. Her work in the field of golf, however, did not stop there. She recently traveled to Augusta, Georgia, for the Drive, Chip & Putt national finals, also powered by Brightspot, to provide on-site support during this marquee event. Jodie sat down with Rose to discuss these projects, her path to becoming a product manager, and the advice that has helped her thrive in her role.
You started at Brightspot after graduating from the University of Virginia in 2018. What attracted you to start your career here?
I found Brightspot at the UVA career fair. I remember meeting Avery and Ryan at the Brightspot booth. I had done a little bit of research about the company in advance but didn't know what a CMS was, so it was nice to talk with them and learn more about the company, the culture and the mission work. It seemed like a good, well-rounded company.
You graduated from UVA with a degree in computer science but decided to work as a product manager instead of an engineer. What led to that decision?
I had no idea what product management was before talking with Avery and Ryan. I did some research on the role and talked with them about the day-to-day tasks. As I learned more about product management and all that it entails—working with a team, gathering and communicating requirements, collaborating with clients, staying organized—I realized it encompassed the things I enjoyed doing and was the right role for me.
What you do enjoy most about being a product manager?
I love working with awesome clients. Being able to interface with them every day on how they want a site to look or how their CMS should function is very rewarding. I also enjoy working with the development team. They're super smart and a joy to learn from.
How do you feel that you have grown professionally since starting at Brightspot?
Brightspot gives you a lot of responsibilities off the bat, which I have grown to appreciate. Unlike many entry-level jobs, you don't have tedious, time-consuming tasks; instead you are thrown into the deep end and challenged to learn quickly. Professionally, I've learned how to prioritize tasks, better communicate with people and take ownership of deliverables.
In your time at Brightspot, you've worked on lots of really interesting projects. Does one stand out as a favorite?
Definitely, the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup project! It was the first time I was able to take true ownership of the full project life cycle. I captured the initial requirements, worked through design and development phases, guided the client's UAT, and ultimately operated the site during the golf tournament last summer. I learned so much through that project.
What's the best piece of career or life advice that you've ever received?
The best career advice I received from other product managers is don't be afraid to ask questions. Often, if you don't ask questions, you'll make the wrong assumptions. It's better to be certain than to guess, even if the questions seem silly at the time. That has definitely stuck with me.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
The people are the best part. I love the people! I would say the second-best thing is the challenge. Every day, I am tackling something new and always learning. There is never a dull moment!
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
Outside of the office, I am always at the rock-climbing gym or rock climbing outdoors. If I am not eating, working or sleeping, I am probably climbing on rocks!
What is something you are most looking forward to doing once the pandemic is behind us?
I am looking forward to traveling to the West Coast. I have never been climbing there before and am eager to go climbing and visit some national parks with my friends. I also miss people at work. I can't wait to see my work friends again soon!
Any songs, artists or albums you've been listening to recently?
I have been on YouTube watching lots of NPR Tiny Desk concerts lately. I've been going through all the artists and listening to their performances.