Product Innovation

Foster’s new Product Management Center hits the ground running

Last fall, the Foster School launched The Product Management Center, dedicated to empowering diverse product leaders to drive success developing innovations that are inclusive to diverse audiences.

The center brings together multidisciplinary faculty of the Foster School and the UW’s Information School and Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, and connects them with industry leaders in an effort to enrich the lives of diverse product managers (PMs), empower PMs to enrich the lives of diverse audiences, provide a trusted source of diverse PM talent and drive thought leadership.

Jeff Shulman

In its first year, The Product Management Center hosted the inaugural Inclusive Product Management Summit and the Foster the Product speaker series. It produced the How to Succeed in Product Management podcast, hosted by the center’s founding director Jeff Shulman, the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor of Marketing and creator of the award-winning Seattle Growth Podcast.

New this fall is the Inclusive Product Management Accelerator, the center’s targeted effort to expand access to economic opportunity by bringing more diverse voices to the PM community.

It is the result of a collaboration between Shulman and Martie Burris, the director of product management at Salesforce and the current Dean’s Impact Scholar at Foster.

Martie Burris

Burris created a coaching initiative in 2018 to advance the careers of early career Black and Latinx product managers. Her “Folding Chair” program honors the famous Shirley Chisholm quote: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Looking for ways to scale this initiative, Shulman and Burris created a free, ten-week professional development program for product management professionals from historically marginalized communities who can inspire innovations that universally improve lives. This effort is in partnership with Platinum sponsors T-Mobile, Amazon and Salesforce, and Silver sponsor Starbucks.

Foster’s new IPM Accelerator is already offering knowledge, connections and a community of support to empower its first cohort to excel in interviews and on the job.

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.