Maggie Ahearne
Senior Product Manager
January 06, 2020

Interview with Maggie, a senior product manager at HubSpot

Remote work allows Maggie to live in a small town and excel in her career. Hear about how she stays professionally connected, and her essential career advice for remote workers.

How did you get started with remote work?

My husband and I were over in Canada for almost ten years, and when I was pregnant with my second son, we decided to move back home to Ireland.

I was lucky to work for a fantastic team at Expedia, where my manager at the time didn’t blink an eye at allowing me to move home and work full time remotely.

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What are you working on?

I moved to HubSpot in January 2019. I work remotely three days per week for the business enablement team. I'm a senior product manager, working on HubSpot's billing platform. The billing platform team allows customers and internal teams to manage and purchase HubSpot subscriptions. We make sure all the cogs are well oiled and working properly in the background.

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What's your typical work routine?

In the morning, I put the head down and focus on getting my work tasks done, check Slacks, follow up on emails. The afternoon is usually wrapped up with Zoom meetings, where I talk to my colleagues in Boston. After the kids go to bed, I usually follow up on Slack chats with my team.

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Do you have a dedicated space to work?

Yes, my desk is set up in my bedroom. My husband works remotely too, and he’s in the spare bedroom.

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How do you stay on task?

I'm a big fan of the old fashioned list. I usually write one each morning.

There isn't a magic formula to my lists - I write out everything I need to do in the day and try to check things off in order of urgency and priority.

It's important to stay focused on the things that really matter in order to achieve my core goals, and try to eliminate the noise.

I've also learned the hard way as a product manager to distribute work, and not try to do it all. That allows the entire team to grow and accomplish things together, but also make mistakes and learn together.

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What do you like about remote work?

I feel like I can manage my work around my life. I love that I can be available to my kids by dropping them to school and picking them up.

I never imagined being able to live in a smaller town while maintaining my career goals.

I get to work for an amazing company and also have the lifestyle I want. It’s a win, win, plus I’m far more productive.

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What do you not like about remote work?

When I worked fully remote, in my previous role, I found it difficult to see how my career could advance where I wanted it to go. Now that I go to the office two days per week, I feel that I have a better balance.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

Slack and Zoom mostly. We also use Jira to track work. I’m also a huge fan of Trello.

I use Zoom for face to face meetings with my team, and I use Slack to chat with my teams and other individuals throughout the day. We are quite low on email usage and chat live on Slack for the most part.

We also use Jira to manage our engineering work. Finally, I have used Trello for everything from managing lists in my personal life, to executing major projects.

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Do you have any advice for remote workers?

Take the time to forge professional relationships, both in your company and in your community. You do not have the benefit of having the water cooler chats, so check out local meetups, etc.

I joined my local CoderDojo as a mentor, and it opened up my professional network locally.

I also put myself out there with people in my company whom I didn’t work with on a day to day basis, to look at what others were working on, and find opportunities to get involved in a variety of initiatives.

For me, I love to see what others are doing with accessibility in tech. Anything to do with developing women in tech will always have my attention.

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How do you decide priorities?

I try to be purposeful in the tasks I work on. I think it’s important to look at your input and decide if there’s a better way to do it.

I’m all about efficiency, and I hate wasting time for the sake of it. Work smart, and check yourself regularly to make sure you were working in the most effective way. Iterate on your processes and learn from those who are smarter than you.

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How do you know when to push yourself vs rest?

After the kids are gone to bed, I try to be pretty strict on that being my downtime. I might spend an hour or two doing some work, but after that, I use that as my rest time. I also try to make sure I get seven to eight hours of sleep.

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What are the biggest issues when companies try remote work?

Communication is a challenge. The team has to commit to including the remote workers in conversations and stick to it.

There’s nothing more deflating than feeling that you’re living on an island away from your team.

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Biography

Maggie Ahearne

Maggie has been working in ecommerce for over 10 years and has had roles for a number of startups and multinationals. She took the big leap into remote working back in 2016 when she left her big city life in Canada to move to a small town in Ireland. She has been supporting teams globally since, and is a huge advocate for women in tech and flexible working.

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