Ep. 2 Social Worker to Tech Product Manager, With Renee Saint-Louis


Renee Saint-Louis, CBAP is an IT Product Manager for an education publishing company in Minnesota. She has spent more than 20 years as a business analyst, director of projects, and project manager spanning industries of insurance, retail, and manufacturing. She has a passion for helping people as they search for their next career move. She’s successfully coached and mentored students, colleagues, and friends at all levels of an organization navigate the hiring process and find jobs they love.

Episode Summary

Tech product manager Renee Saint-Louis is a major inspiration for Develomentor and she also happens to be Grant’s sister! Renee has followed an unconventional career path and currently works at a small K-12 publishing firm. She has worked across a variety of other industries including banking and retail both as a product manager and as a business analyst.

Renee studied social work all through college, but after trying out a few internships she decided that it wasn’t for her. Renee switched her major to family and consumer science shortly before graduating and continued working at her job at Nordstrom after college. She got her first opportunity as a business analyst when her manager at Nordstrom spotted her potential and suggested that she apply for an open position.

Different companies can call the same job with a different title. The roles of product managers, business analysts, product owners and functional analysts often overlap. Essentially, they all help a business understand what its needs are and then work on bringing those needs to life, usually in the form of either process improvement or new technology.

Product managers take on a multiples roles depending on what is needed of them and their individual strengths. They often blend marketing, data science and engineering with their own intuition to determine the best course for their product. A big part of tech product management is finding gaps in the marketplace to give your company an advantage.

In this episode You’ll also hear:

1. How the business analyst and product manager role overlap
2. Common challenges faced by product managers
3. The importance of a mentor for your career

Key Milestones

product managers can be misunderstood and often wear many hats

Key Quotes

“I’m very fortunate I found someone who recognized my talent and helped guide me into a very successful career.”

“The business analyst title has changed over the last 20 years. More and more it gets different titles. In some companies its a product manager, in some companies its a product owner, in some companies its a functional analyst.”

“In essence, the role is helping a business really understand what its needs are and helping bring those needs to life, usually in the form of process improvement or new technologies”

“You have to marry data with human behavior and you have to understand what people are missing, what people want, what can make their lives easier. Sometimes data can’t get you there.”