“You can do anything, but not everything!” – An interview with Clare Ross
I met Elvie for the first time back in January and learnt about all the incredible things they’re creating and doing for women with their unique products. I instantly knew that Elvie would send a positive message on Women Rock because despite the fact the business is for women and a lot of the people who work for Elvie are women, the tech team there is still male dominated as are most tech companies. I was introduced to Clare who is the Senior Product Manager and is in the team behind the ground-breaking breast pump that has taken the market by storm! We spoke about her career so far in an industry that is expected to be worth $51.3 billion by 2025….
TELL US ABOUT ELVIE?
Elvie is a women’s health tech company. We aim to make extraordinary product that improve women’s lives. We’ve got two products in the market: Elvie Trainer and Elvie Pump. We also put boobs on roofs… not only do we create products – we get involved in conversation around women’s health. So this year, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we placed five giant inflatable boobs across London’s skyline to fight the stigma around breastfeeding and pumping in public!
WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY LOOK LIKE TO YOU AS SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER?
Haha, rarely are two days the same here! It’s a very varied role, one of the reasons I love it. From a daily stand-up with the app devs, to doing some user trials with our product researcher to chatting to our data scientist and then catching up with customer care to see how our products are doing in the wild. And there also might be a bit of time to turn your head to the roadmap and what’s coming up for Elvie…Top Secret!
That’s a crazy mash-up of tasks and skills. You’re guaranteed to be engaged, challenged and surrounded by an awesome bunch of colleagues.
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR TECH COME FROM AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO IT?
For me it’s the application of tech to solve problems that gets me out of bed in the morning. We talk internally about Elvie being a problem company, rather than a tech company or a product company. It’s only by deeply understanding the problem space and user that we can truly harness the power of tech.
YOU WERE IN AN ALL-MALE CRICKET TEAM AND THE FIRST FEMALE ON THE PRODUCT TEAM AT ELVIE. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS WHO MIGHT FIND THE THOUGHT OF THIS DAUNTING?
I think venturing into what appears to be a male space, whatever the setting, is incredibly daunting! I’m lucky, with my chunk of privilege, to be ok with wandering into them, so wanted to share my positive experience. I’ve found that once you’re over the initially daunting part, it’s worth it. I’ve been welcomed for my skills and what I’m bringing to the team; gender isn’t an issue. But the best bit is that once you’re there, it is easier for others to follow your lead!
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR IN YOUR CAREER?
EASY: the launch of Elvie Pump, in October last year. It was the culmination of years of hard work from the whole team and an amazing feeling to have created something we’re really proud of.
Honestly, I’m not cultured enough to have a favourite quote… But if I was going to pretend, then google found “You can do anything, but not everything.” which seems pretty sensible. Early in my career, someone told me that one of the most important parts of developing a strategy is knowing what you’re not (doing). That idea is something I find useful to keep in mind both in and out of work.
WHO’S YOUR SQUAD?
I can’t choose just 3! I seem to have surrounded myself with a bunch of amazing people: people who tell me when I’m being an idiot, people who tell me they love me and people who will come on stupid bicycle adventures with me. The mix is invaluable.
Thank you Clare, we love Elvie and working with you.
A voice for diversity in tech!
An interview by Darcie Cornish