7 ways to give back as a product manager in Vancouver

1.       Donate your expertise to local NPOs

Many organizations are looking for help with market research, marketing campaigns, ensuring that their offerings satisfy community needs and strategic planning. Product managers usually posses the skills and experience that can help.

We often think that business and tech experience is not applicable to the not-for-profit world. This is so untrue! Many of the things we do as product managers can make a huge difference for non-profits and charities.

VanHacks hackathon, 2018

VanHacks hackathon, 2018

2.        Mentor and/or participate in hackathons

Hackathons are sprint-like events in which hipsters, hackers and hustlers build amazing products in less than 48 hours. Product managers can sign up to be mentors at student-run hackathons such as nwHacks or LumoHacks. PM folks can help with ideation, design, business model generation, as well as coding (if you do code, of course).

Additionally, experienced PMs can sign up to participate in VanHacks - an annual hackathon organized by ViDIA dedicated to helping those helping our community. VanHacks participants create tech solutions that solve challenging issues faced by our community's not-for-profit institutions whose aim is to do social good. With your help, we can work towards building a better, more unified Vancouver.

3.       Become a product management mentor

The ProductBC mentorship program enables product managers to improve their skills by learning from seasoned professionals. Mentors work on their coaching skills and give back to the product management community while mentees benefit from one-on-one advice and assistance. The program is 4 months in duration and may extend beyond this if both participants desire. Mentors must have at least 5 years experience in product management.

A number of other mentorship programs are also eager to attract PMs - SFU Mentors in Business, UBC Executive Mentorship, Launch AcademyNev Ventures BC, Futurpreneur and many more.  

4.       Donate your expertise to teach others PM skills

Organizations such as Canada Learning CodeCodeBC, SurreyCodes and others re often looking for experienced professionals to share their knowledge with aspiring techies & newbies.

Product Camp Vancouver

5.       Give a keynote, speak or join an event panel

There is a number of ways to get involved with local product community. You can share your experience at ProductCamp Vancouver, the premiere event for Product Management, Product Marketing, and Marketing professionals to teach to, learn from, and network with each other. They are often interested in PMs willing to lead sessions and talk about their work.

ProductBC organizes events year-round and is always looking for new volunteers, speakers & community builders. Vancouver Startup Week, multiple meetups and tech/startup groups would also love to hear from you!

6.       Bring the APM Program to Vancouver

“Outside of the major Silicon Valley product companies there are not sufficient resources to run a structured APM program to fully empower and train entrants to the product role.

A collective of 9 product-focused organizations are working to fix this long-standing problem. Together a collective of product leaders in Toronto have created a 6-month intensive program.

The APM program runs to augment vocational placements with in depth training sessions and create an incredible network to prepare APM’s to be able to handle any challenge the product world can throw at them”.

This is how their website describes the program. It would be great if we can bring this amazing program to Vancouver – our city needs great talent as we are set to become Canada’s leading tech hub 🚀🚀🚀

7.       Build a solution

Do you have an idea how to solve one of the pressing problems our city is facing? Build it! We need innovative solutions and people who are passionate about helping our community. We really need them!

These are just some of the ways to give back as a Product Manager – I am sure, you can find your own thing (please, share it with us so others can learn about it too!)