About Innovatemap — 03.26.2024

The Power of a Peer Community: Elevating Product Management Together

Spencer Abrams, Principal Product Manager

An Innovatemap Product Manager explains what PM meetups at Innovatemap are to another team member.

Creating a community holds a unique power to transform individual experiences into a shared journey. At Innovatemap, we’ve seen this power firsthand through our recent Product Manager (PM) Meetups hosted at our Indianapolis HQ. These events transcend the conventional networking model to foster real connections, shared learnings and mutual growth among product management professionals.

Creating A Path to Product Management

My path into product management was mostly accidental, as is the case for many in this field. Early in my professional journey, I was fortunate to find a mentor who was new to product leadership but agreed to give me the opportunity to shadow them. After working together for a few months, I fell in love with the product manager role, but realized there’s no formal educational track to becoming a PM. Instead, I had to rely on learning from my peers. So when a teammate invited me to an event hosted by a new company known for its savvy in the digital product space, I jumped at the chance to attend. 

Enter Innovatemap.

That first event was an eye-opening experience. It wasn’t just about the presentation on feature roadmapping—the real magic happened in the conversations that took place before and after. It was in these moments that I began to soak up the diverse experiences from seasoned PMs, gaining insights into new strategies, tools and approaches to the job.

I continued to seek opportunities to connect with other PMs as I grew in my career. However, an international pandemic brought a sudden stop to these gatherings. While we tried to continue to connect virtually, it just wasn’t the same value as the in-person connections. 

Fast forward a few years and my new role at Innovatemap, I knew was missing something. The lack of personal interaction and the opportunity to mentor and learn within a community left a noticeable void in my professional career, and I was ready to find a way to fill it. After a few conversations with local PM community leaders, we decided to restart these Indy PM meetups with a fresh focus on creating real connections and building genuine relationships, free from any hidden agendas or sales pitches. 

Prioritizing Relationships, Cultivating Community

At the heart of these meetups is the transformative power of relationships. Whether it’s reuniting with colleagues from past roles, connecting with current partners or meeting new faces in the industry, our events thrive on the genuine support and advice readily exchanged within this community.

This ecosystem was built on the principle that we’re all here to help each other, regardless of our experience level. From seasoned product leaders to newcomers in the field, every attendee brings a perspective that can ignite insightful conversations, fostering a space where learning is both accessible and inclusive.

Bringing the Community Together Again

The drive to resurrect these meetups stemmed from a desire for both personal and community growth. By filling a room with extremely smart and experienced individuals, our goal is to create a place where we could all elevate our skills, share knowledge and build networks. 

Success, in this context, is measured by the tangible impacts on our professional lives: a single takeaway applied on the job, a new contact that could lead to future opportunities or discovering a tool that simplifies complex tasks.

As we plan future meetups, our focus remains on delivering content that resonates with our community’s relevant needs. From exploring effective user research techniques to discussions on product feature development across company sizes, we want to foster meaningful conversations for all PMs. Our long-term vision for the group is to cultivate a community that thrives beyond the confines of our events, where one-on-one relationships transform into a supportive network.

Making Space for Everyone

We’re committed to maintaining an open and inclusive environment, where curiosity is the only prerequisite. Regardless of your experience or familiarity with product management, our meetups offer a space to learn, share and grow together. As I reflect on my journey, from a first-time attendee to now leading the charge organizing these events, one sentiment remains true: these meetups are not just about product management; they’re about building a community where everyone, from seasoned experts to those just starting out, can find a sense of belonging and support.

In a profession as dynamic as product management, the strength of our community is our most valuable asset. Join us at our next Indy PM Meetup on May 1 at the Innovatemap HQ as we continue to build connections that empower and inspire us to excel at our jobs and contribute to the broader landscape of product management. 

Interested in learning more about our how our product managers can help you navigate building the right features for your software? Let’s talk.