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Opinions

Women In Product Dinner: for the love of food, people and Product

Caroline Verellen

At Smooth Sailing, we enjoy qualitative, yet informal networking. That’s why we love to organise ‘Women in Product’ dinners; small scale dinners where we welcome about 15’ish women that work in the Product scene. In the time span of a few courses, we share our experiences, future career ambitions, laughs and we broaden our network. Last Thursday we hosted the second edition, together with Amplitude.

Table setting at the Women in Product dinner.

We shared food ...

Thursday evening we gathered in the city center of Ghent. It was the perfect sunny autumn evening to welcome the participants to our second Women in Product dinner.

Together with participants from ACA Group, Alan, Amplitude, Bjièn, icapps, Möbius Business Redesign, Payflip, Rydoo, Summ.link, Tally, University Library Ghent we took a seat at Epiphany’s Kitchen that proudly bears the title of Best Vegan Dinner Place 2021.

How we select participants

We really enjoy to gather different roles to get various perspectives. It was nice to meet (co-)founders, Product Managers, Designers, Customer Success Managers, … with one domain in common: Product. As the focus of the event is to getting to know the people that work in similar contexts, we try to gather an interesting set of profiles, based on their job contents and responsibilities.

... and we got acquainted

We polled the participants on possible conversation subjects for the night, leading up to the event. What stood out from the answers was that career-related matters and design dilemma’s, got the most response. So, in order to spark these conversations, we provided a few cards with topics to discuss, of which some questions and statements were suggested by the participants beforehand. A short summary of proposals, in order of sparking the most discussion:

  • Product versus Customer oriented companies - are they the same or different?
  • You need to adopt trends in product - agree or disagree?
  • Ten years from now, will design in your field look more spare & minimal or complex & ornate?
  • Which has been more valuable in your career: your education or your experience?
  • What’s your career path: journey or destination?

At a certain point during the dinner, over half of the participants were invested in the first statement. Not so much as they are the same/different but as of they should be the same/different. And how this reflected in past experiences. It was great to see the overall enthusiastic response as their statements were included. Of course, it was also completely fine to have informal chitchat.

Switching seats allows for more conversation

In-between courses we stimulated (read; gently forced) people to switch seats so everyone would get the chance to connect with all attendees. At times we had to interrupt very interesting conversations to do so, but it also meant everyone got to know new people and took a lot of fresh-new connections on LinkedIn back home.

Did we make your mouth water?

Open call to join the waiting list for our next Product Dinner! We look forward to getting to know you better and exchanging stories and experiences with like-minded people. Make yourself heard!

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    Caroline

Meet Caroline

Her main superpowers are being able to empathise with the user and listen attentively before she defines the course of action. She designs with intent and advocates on behalf of the users. Her innate positive attitude ensures she spots opportunities in all facets of the UX journey.

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