Economic Impact Catalyst takes great pride in ensuring that our employees have the ability and freedom to do what they love while working toward a bigger cause. This blog post centers around a conversation between Lauren Bernard, Head of Product at EIC, and Ramya Tirumala, Marketing Associate at EIC, in honor of Women’s History Month.

“I believe that my role allows for the creation of a solution for others to use to simplify their workflows in their day-to-day lives. My connection to what we do as a whole is more than just seeing our clients and the people they are working with. It is so empowering to see what they do in their communities. I am creating a tool or process that allows them to do what they do best.” – Lauren Bernard

Lauren’s Experience

Lauren has worked with EIC for over three years and has worked in many company sectors, including client experience. She started with a data entry position and made her way over to product. Lauren remarks, “what I have always loved at EIC is the opportunity for growth.” Growth is central to Lauren, as she believes in reaching out and learning from others. Throughout her experience at EIC, Lauren has gained abilities in departments she would not have in a typical job. She has been able to interact with a wide variety of customers and people, giving her more expertise in the economic development industry.

Values in Connection with Presence at EIC

Values allow a person to feel connected to a team. For Lauren, her communication with the whole team allows for a true impact to be made. Before there can be a push to production (where the testing is complete and new code goes live to the platform), Lauren teams up with the IT team to plan what will be worked on each week and ensure that the platform is running smoothly and updates can be delivered. She believes in the values of curiosity, usefulness, productivity, and more, as she exhibits these on a daily basis. In her role, it is mandatory to ensure the company strategy is connected to the overall business strategy, including business goals. 

The Role of Female Figures

For Lauren, there is an emphasis on the presence that her family has in her life. “I have a lot of great female role models and mentors in my life, incredibly strong women whom I have learned a lot from. I am proud to be part of a community and company that values and empowers women.” In life, having the right female figures by your side allows for development based on the progress that you see around you. A huge part of her progression has also been the help of her mentor, Lily Shaw. “She was a mentor of mine in high school. I did a mentorship with her and found a good learning experience. Maintaining a relationship with a strong role model allowed me to find this position, and empowered me to grow in the company.” The ability to build a strong bond with other professionals will allow for a partnership to continue through one’s career. During Women’s History Month, Lauren sees the importance of the “recognition and empowerment that comes with it.” She commented: “I see this in various aspects of my life. To see women lifting other women up shows that there are great opportunities for highlighting the work that women do.

Challenges at Work, Made Into Opportunities

One challenge for Lauren would include not having prior experience in the product field. Lauren actually majored in communications, so it was a new start that she was excited for. However, she stated that she “felt a bit of hesitancy from others,” being a young woman in this role and coming from a different professional background. The product industry is male-dominated in many ways. This could typically make some shy away from accepting this role, but for Lauren, it’s a whole different story. She rose up to the challenge of tackling a role that would allow her to discover more about herself. Impostor syndrome can hit hard sometimes, which is the state of feeling that you are not well-suited for your position. In cases like this, Lauren makes sure to remember that her hard work is appreciated by the team and that there is a true impact being made.

Diversity in The Workplace

There are so many aspects of EIC that express diversity among the team. Lauren stated, “When I think about diversity at our company, I see it as something that is present and has been there since the start of our company. It’s all around us here at EIC.” Diversity allows for more thoughts and ideas that are brought to the table. It makes sure that different thought processes and experiences are discussed, and projects can be revitalized with the conversations that come about.

Success and Growth Mindset

Lauren details some of her tasks: “I focus on our platform: Startup Space, our mobile app, and the website work we do with clients. My day-to-day work often surrounds exploring and building new features for Startup Space, which has changed a lot since its inception, and ever since I started. I came into the role and understood how important it is to get feedback from clients. I work through design and problem-solving solutions. I prioritize next steps, and I help manage internal and external products.” Lauren works closely with other departments to ensure that the right actions are taken. Communication is important here, as it enables her to have open dialogue to ensure that when issues arise, they are taken care of as soon as possible. She takes every day, challenge, and opportunity as a lesson for growth, especially when there are issues with the platform or things that need to be immediately addressed. This is an opportunity for Lauren to ensure she is putting her all into what she does, and encourages “curiosity” as well.

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