Amanda Milo listens to people and then fixes their problems. If it weren’t for a slight case of trypanophobia and a little too much empathy, she’d be Dr. Milo.
We here at Mind Over Machines are glad Amanda is afraid of needles and overly identifies with people in need because now, instead of hustling down hospital hallways, she’s helping people work smarter. Amanda Milo is our new Senior Product Manager, and she shares our human-centric vision for the future of work.
From Healthcare to Technology Innovation
Amanda traces her empath ethos back to childhood. Her parents taught her kindness and empathy from a very early age, and they stuck with her as the best way to help people. Then, in her management career, empathy readily became a tool for building relationships and getting the best out of coworkers.
“Amanda Milo is our new Senior Product Manager, and she shares our human-centric vision for the future of work.”
From the time she was 14, Amanda helped her father navigate our complex healthcare system. She’d always been interested in health and science, but her dad’s medical struggles forced her to grow up quickly. She learned the value of strength and knowledge when advocating for others.
Given her early interests and experiences, Amanda started college on a pre-med track. However, via process of elimination, her focus became less and less clinical. “I went from thinking pre-med to physician assistant to physical therapy to health science,” Amanda laughs.
She always knew she had a problem with needles, but one pivotal moment illuminated her larger impediment to a medical career. Amanda was sitting bedside when her grandmother’s oncologist came in and announced they had done all they could. She saw every difficult emotion pour over the doctor’s face, and in that moment, she realized she could not bear the emotional toll this life would take on her.
So, instead of a clinical career, Amanda spent a decade addressing thigs like quality of care, patient and provider experience, and care coordination from a non-clinical perspective. As a product manager, Amanda led teams in creating the dashboards, process efficiencies and applications that enabled improved experiences for patients, providers, and staff.
Wait. What’s a Product Manager?
When you think of “products,” you may think of manufacturing and retail, not healthcare and tech consulting. But the definition has expanded to cover anything that addresses customers’ needs. A product manager identifies a customer need, builds the business case to meet that need, and then brings the new product or service to life.
Amanda differentiates the product manager role from product ownership or project management by underscoring the end-to-end nature of her work. She starts with discovery and then walks a solution through development and implementation, all the way up to and including commercialization and marketing.
A product manager is often referred to as “the CEO of the product,” but Atlassian’s Sherif Mansour points out that a product manager doesn’t have all the carrots, sticks and general clout a C-level exec has to drive initiatives forward. Therefore, empathy becomes a product manager’s most effective tool. First, to help her understand what a client needs, and then, to motivate and support her team as they develop the necessary solution.
A Creative, Lifelong Learner
Amanda believes learning is the greatest form of self-investment, and she consistently lives out that belief in her own life. Back when she was advocating for her father’s medical care, she would research his condition, not to become a Google MD, but to be familiar with treatment options. She has been an avid learner ever since. As a product manager, she is constantly learning what people need, which tools are available to meet those needs, and how best to put them to use. A few years ago, Amanda was uncomfortable with what she had to contribute to her then-employer’s business development discussions. It prompted her to enroll in and complete an MBA, addressing what she perceived as a gap in her knowledge base head on.
As a creative, visual thinker, Amanda has been seen as a go-to person for creating presentation decks. She has made a point to grow that skill set by spending time learning from UI/UX specialists on staff. “I’ve always been inclined to draw, write, and work with my hands. Now, much of that creativity is done digitally with computers, but it’s still good for my soul,” she observes.
Crash Course in MINDs Collaboration
Shortly before her interview with Mind Over Machines, Amanda was informed she would be required to engage in a group problem-solving exercise. Obviously, that vague dictate was anxiety-producing, but she’s not one to shy away from a challenge. Amanda arrived at the interview to receive her assignment: Work with Chief Innovation Officer Tim Kulp and Innovation Orchestrator Tally Aumiller to develop a solution for a hospital claims department that wants to improve staff experience and retention by increasing operational efficiency. Once they built the product, Amanda then designed its marketing campaign with Director of Marketing Annie Cassidy.
Far from the usual boring resume questions and stiff interview protocol, this trial-by-fire provided firsthand experience collaborating with our MINDs. “The team was helpful, fun and welcoming,” Amanda reflects. “Thanks to our shared human-centric approach, the exercise actually felt comforting, like I had come home.”
Meeting Today’s Market Needs
With just a month on the job, Amanda is still settling in. She’s getting familiar with our existing menu of services, exploring Mind Over Machines’ niche in the Microsoft Partner Network and how we can best continue to add value. This is obviously a unique moment for the American workforce. Cue the overused, but entirely apt adjective: unprecedented.
Here is Amanda’s read on the market:
“Worldwide pandemic trauma triggered this Great Resignation. We’ve seen a mass exodus out of corporate jobs. The people left behind are wondering how they’re going to get everything done, especially under current circumstances: inadequate staffing, hybrid workspaces, enduring supply chain problems and limited resources. Leaders know they need technology to help fill the gaps,” Amanda assesses. “Our job as the Innovation & Strategy team is to figure out what these tech-enabled solutions look like and empower people through technology. We are evolving our core services and offerings to meet today’s unprecedented needs. Right now, businesses may not know what new products they need to move forward, but we know how to help them figure it out. As always, a whole lot of empathy will be required every step of the way.”