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Friend of Fairfield Career Spotlight:Director of Product, Trulia

trulia-pngEvery time I travel I make a point to try to chat with the person sitting next to me. Sometimes (ok, most of the time) the person is not interested in becoming my new friend. I get it… JetBlue has free TV and my positivity can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. But in my most recent flight from San Francisco to New York, I sat next a really nice young professional who humored me in a conversation about what she did – can we say Career Counselor’s dream! So kick off your shoes and enjoy my first ever Friend of Fairfield Career Spotlight.

Job Title:

Director of Product at Trulia

Tell me about Trulia?

Trulia is an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals. According to their about page, they are a group of “energized and happy brainiacs”. Their employees consist of “semi-pro athletes, ping-pong enthusiasts, avid surfers, chicken farmers, jugglers, knitters” joined together with a common goal; create “killer products that will improve the really hard and potentially un-fun process of finding the right place to live.” She said the best part of working for Trulia are the people, which makes sense as they were voted one of best places to work in the Bay Area.

truliaSoooo… Director of Product, what exactly does that mean?

As Director of Product she focuses on helping consumers who want to buy a new home have the best online search experience. In our conversation she asked me to go through the process of searching for a home on Trulia and engaged me in some interesting questions about how I felt about the product – pretty cool stuff! The other part of her position focuses on helping home builders connect with consumers.

Some background:

She graduated from Georgetown University in 2006 (fellow Jesuit institution!). Her first job out of college was an Analyst for Citibank in the Emerging Markets team. She worked at Citibank for 3 years and built a great professional network. Next stop on her journey was University California Berkley to get her MBA. During her time at CAL, she interned at Apple on the iPhone (so cool). I asked her why she didn’t want to work for Apple post MBA and she said that they had great products and exciting projects, but she wasn’t challenged and didn’t feel like she would be able to make an immediate impact on their business. After grad school she spent just over a year working in management consulting, but was quickly wooed by the tech culture in San Francisco. Her first position at Trulia was a Corporate Finance and Strategy Manager – she was promoted to her current role just after a year with the company (impressive).

What has helped you succeed at Trulia?

She works hard, forged strong relationships with senior leaders, and shows genuine interest in the business. The relationship piece seemed to be one of the biggest factors in her upward mobility within the company. Since day one, she found genuine mentors – people who created opportunities for her and mentored her through the process. Her background was also key in her success – she was able to leverage her finance skills from Citibank and strategy skills from consulting to successfully tackle challenging problems.

Any advice for a Fairfield student interested in working in tech/for a start up?  

Network! You might not get your ideal role right off the bat, but if you are likable and capable of doing the work doors will open for you.  Ideally, you want to have bosses that advocate for you and value what you do – everyone needs a personal cheerleader! Clearly, if you are interested in working in Tech or for Startups there are companies all over the country, but a lot of them are in California. She encourages students to leverage their alumni base and LinkedIn to find a way in. If you are not in a technical role, sales is also a great place to start.

Everyone has a long term goal, what is yours?

CEO of an awesome company like Trulia.

If you are interested in working for a company like Trulia there are entry level sales positions in New York… and of course, the Career Planning Center is here to help along the way!

 

     

Stephanie Gallo 

Associate Director,  Career Planning Center

SGallo2@fairfield.edu

www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniegallo/

 

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