Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Dawn Bell

  • Name: Dawn Bell

    Role: Group Product Owner, Bazaarvoice

    Education: BSc Hons Criminology and Criminal Justice from UUJ and HNC Computing and Software Development from BMC.

    Bio: Started my career as an XP Product Manager in the Compozed Lab in Allstate, Belfast building claims technology products for market leading clients in the gig economy industry. Recently joined Bazaarvoice as Group Product Owner within the Client Experience portfolio.

    What does your typical day look like?

    I’d love to say a typical day involved waking up early to do sunrise yoga, eat a healthy breakfast and leave to head to the office but in reality I’m a prolific alarm snoozer and I leave a trail of destruction in my wake as I rush out the door. Work wise, I catch up on email and start my day with our team stand up; where we catch up on what we’ve got planned and if there are any blockers we can help with. Most evenings I head out for a walk with a podcast before ending my night binging on my latest netflix addiction.

    What are you currently working on?

    I just started with Bazaarvoice in January so I’m still very much finding my feet. Within my new team I’m currently focussed on building out our product roadmap, product artefacts, and observability. We’re a product enabling team so we’re relied upon by all other product teams in the business.

    We’re also the first port of call for clients onboarding to the Bazaarvoice platform. So a big part of my job at the moment is working on the long term strategy to evolve our configuration offerings to our clients.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    Having spent five brilliant years with Allstate, I was ready for a change of industry and wanted somewhere where I could continue to grow my career and learn new skills in a new industry. I’m an avid online shopper and someone who really appreciates some good user-generated content before I make a decision to buy something.

    In Bazaarvoice I’ll get the opportunity to work on products where the use cases and users are things I can really relate to in my daily life. Bazaarvoice has a great reputation as being a product mindset focused company, so when I got the opportunity to join it was a no brainer for me.

    Did you always want to work in this industry (tech)?

    Truly, yes but I didn’t know how to break into the industry without the ability to write code. Joining Allstate gave me the confidence and insight into what other roles were out there in terms of Product Owners/Managers, Project Managers, Scrum Masters and the like.

    Having started my Allstate career as an Executive Assistant I knew that my transferable skills were suited to many “non-technical” tech roles. Moving into the Product Management role has been the best decision I’ve made and I feel lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had.. Moving to Bazaarvoice has not only cemented my love for the profession but reignited my passion for human-centered design and problem solving.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    I like to think of myself as a ‘fixer”, I like to make things better for others, be it end users, other teams or my own team mates.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry (tech)?

    I’d say go for it and don’t underestimate the power of transferable skills gained in other careers and/or industries. Fresh eyes and a fresh approach is so valuable. For those interested in a career in product I’d say to join the Belfast communities for Product Tank and UX Belfast. Be proactive and shadow people and ask as many questions as you can think of. There’s no career where the phrase “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” rings more true.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    User-generated content isn’t a new concept. People have been recommending products and services to each other for centuries. The ability and the need to generate, collect and syndicate organic user-generated content has never been more important. This past year has turned a vast majority of us into exclusive online shoppers seeking out a review or a customer photo of a product has become second nature.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I can’t pinpoint a person who inspired me to get into tech but I can think of countless people who have inspired me to continue my career path in Product. Andrea Clarke from the Compozed Lab in Allstate was my day one buddy in my first Product Management role. I learned my craft from her and continue to ask her advice to this day.

    Since joining Bazaarvoice, I’ve been inspired by the welcoming and down to earth nature of everyone I’ve the pleasure of working with. I have to give kudos to Aisling McGibbon, Bronagh Gaillard, Seamus Cushley and Paula Motes (to name only a few). The support I have received from them has been invaluable. It has assured me that I’d found my new professional home and somewhere I could see myself long term.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    I’d have to say voice technology. As a daily user of Alexa and Siri, I continue to be surprised and delighted with the ease of use of the technology, especially when Alexa prompts a coffee order that I can make and purchase without even getting my phone out.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    I’d have to say my Airpods, I use them all day every day for music, podcasts, phone calls and work meetings.


    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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