Rebecca Cooper is a Principal Product Manager at SafetyCulture and she knew she was in the right place only a few weeks into the role. We chatted about her career journey, the team at SafetyCulture and making an impact.
Falling into a tech career
Rebecca didn’t start her career in tech. In fact, she has a Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management and dreamed of travelling the world as a hotel manager. After ten years in hotels, she wanted to move away from the shift work and disgruntled customers.
She moved back to Australia after living in Canada, took a role in Customer Support for a tech company and started learning about technology and Product Management.
I just loved what a Product Manager did. They still got to interact with customers, but they actually got to solve problems. And that was really exciting to me.”
She managed to move from Customer Support into the Product Team, and did everything she could to learn Product Management and build relationships within the product community. Then she made her way to SafetyCulture, where she is connected to their mission of making sure every worker gets home safely every day.
I’ve been here for 3 years now, and my career has exploded during that time. I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities, worked with incredible customers and other product managers.”
At SafetyCulture, Rebecca spends her time translating business objectives, customer feedback and market trends into deliverables for SafetyCulture‘s product. She works closely with Engineering and Design to develop products, and then all the teams required to launch new products to market.
Rebecca loves all the customer interaction, and seeing SafetyCulture products in use in the wild at customer sites.
The customer focus is nothing I’ve ever seen before. SafetyCulture has the right mentality around how to build a product that solves meaningful problems while working alongside our customers to find the right solutions.”
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Making a splash at work
Rebecca won the rising star award for Leading Women in Product across Australia and New Zealand a few years ago, which was an incredible achievement.
Her role has changed a lot during her time at SafetyCulture, moving from Product Manager in a small team working on a large project, to People Manager developing other Product Managers and now back to her Product Manager start.
My passion is in solving customer problems and that’s where I’ve landed. My role now is to solve a really important customer problem that we have talked about solving for years. I love being able to speak with customers, work with our engineering and design teams and build something amazing that our customers are going to love.”
Rebecca is – quite rightly – proud of how quickly she has progressed within her career. She admits it involved some hard work, sweat and maybe a few tears, but the effort has been worth it. “I love my job and I’m so proud of how hard I’ve worked to get here.”
Now she’s getting excited about a different type of challenge, getting ready to take a year off to start a family. “It’s not a career achievement but I think becoming a mother is going to give me a brand new perspective towards my job and I’m excited for that too.”
Life and career lessons
Rebecca laughs that everyone has imposter syndrome, and no one really knows what they are doing!
The higher you get the bigger the imposter syndrome is, I believe. But once you know this and realize often people are solving problems for the first time, you feel better about your position.
I honestly believe vulnerability around what you know and what you don’t is key to gaining respect. It’s ok to not know everything but taking the initiative to find out is really important.”
At SafetyCulture, Rebecca has been given endless opportunities to work on amazing, interesting projects. She has been able to explore her career trajectory and change paths to fuel her passions. She’s still a bit shocked that she even works in tech, but Rebecca is so excited about the career path she’s taken. And her advice to anyone else thinking about a career change into tech, she says,
If you’re interested in changing roles, do it! Do everything you can to make it happen. You don’t have to settle because it seems hard to change. Also, if you don’t know what you want to do with your career — don’t stress. I didn’t know for the longest time and eventually my career found me.”