Princess Akari on her journey from soil testing to product management.

Princess was originally an Engineer, switched to Project Management before settling in as a Product Manager.

Princess Akari on her journey from soil testing to product management.


What is your role at Brass?

I manage our mobile products throughout the product life cycle; this means that I get to take responsibility for the roadmap of these products, prioritise, manage iterations, and work with engineering to ship solutions.

Did you always want to be a Product manager?

Haha, not really. I always wanted to be an Engineer. Infact, I have a degree in civil engineering and worked a bit as a civil engineer and project manager before becoming a product manager.

From a degree in Engineering, to PM at Brass. How did you get here?

I studied civil engineering. I started my career as an on-site structural engineer. It was very stressful because as an on-site engineer you are required to be physically present on the project site to supervise on-going projects. Most times you will be exposed to extreme weather conditions like very sunny days and heavy rain. Apart from the physical work stress associated with being an on-site structural engineer, it is still an interesting field because you get to draw up building plans, do some survey work, soil testing etc. We can test if a land is worth building on. I was essentially a project manager onsite. But that was not actually where I decided to be a product manager. I did some work in Oil & Gas as a corporate strategist and I was also a project manager there. It was project management that gave me the basic tools I needed to be a product manager. I did a lot of strategy. We needed to define our USP, create a sales strategy, and other things.

So when did you realise you wanted to be a product manager?

I didn’t even know about product management in the first place. A friend of mine who worked in tech actually suggested it to me. He told me I already had the basic skills to be a product manager and I should think about it.

However, I didn’t make the transition immediately. I spent a few months taking courses and learning about product management and I actually started making connections between the role and what I was already doing. I finally decided to quit my job and transition fully into a product manager. I worked as a freelance product manager for a year and somehow found my way at Brass a year later as an associate product manager.

Why did you choose Brass?

As cliche as it sounds, it is because of who Brass is building for. Small businesses. We are providing financial solutions to small businesses and that in itself makes me proud. The brand looked like a place where you will start small and grow and that spoke to me because I was starting small. The tagline “big starts small” was how my life was looking and what better way than to grow than to join a company that has the same vision has yours.

Speaking of Brass, what’s the one thing you have learnt while working here that has helped you with your growth?

Willingness to learn. You can learn from anybody in this company, everyone is open to learning no matter how smart they are. There is a mutual respect for what we do, you don’t see anyone looking down on your job role. If I am given a task and it seems like I don’t understand I can always ask without being judged. Everyone is willing to help. Someone from the sales team can send me message about work they find difficult and would be open minded to learn. We can all depend on each other and know when to ask for help. My CTO is the champion of this, he provides an open door when it comes to learning.

What does a typical day for you at work look like?

Syncs! syncs! syncs!, This is to ensure that all the stakeholders involved in a particular project phase are in sync and on track with our deliverables.

A typical day for me at work starts at 9 am, I go through my emails and messages on slack, then I respond accordingly. I also check on all my internal stakeholders, mostly my engineers, to confirm that everything is on track or to collect information on blockers and escalate the situation if I cannot solve the problem.

The next set of things I do are totally dependent on the stage of the product we are building; I could either be preparing documentation for a new product, updating an existing documentation, reviewing designs on Figma or just doing QA and documenting feedback.

How would you describe what you do to a five year old?

I figure out what our company should work on next, then I make sure everyone has the requirements and tools they need to get it done. I also find a bunch of problems, make a list of the most important ones, then get those problems solved.

What do you love most about working at Brass

The Humans. I say it every-time and everywhere. the people are extremely kind and empathetic. They are very true to their words, if someone tells you in this company to take time off to rest they actually mean it. I know a lot of places where the people are very unkind to each other and I’m happy to say its not like that here. If you look in every team, you will see at least one kind person.

Get started for free in 10 minutes

Get all the best financial products for your business growth for free.
Open the last current account you will ever need for your business