Welcome to our continuing series of candid, one-on-one interviews with product management professionals!
In the spotlight today is Alicia Dixon, Senior Product Manager at Hilton Worldwide. How did she move from fashion design to digital payments? And what trends does she see in product management today? Read on…
Alicia, how would you describe your journey in product management?
My first love is fashion design. I started in apparel as a technical designer. Basically, I would take other people’s creative designs and adapt them so that real people could wear them. I worked for Fruit of the Loom then moved to Dell where I focused on online brand management. During a reorganization, I said I’d like to do more brand management and, apparently, management took took that as a need to get into product management.
And you’ve stayed there ever since. What do you like about product management?
I like taking something complex and breaking it down. Really digging in, understanding the problem, and figuring out how to solve it.
What kinds of problems are you solving at Hilton?
I’ve been there a little over three years. I started on the digital innovation team then moved to digital key products. My focus was on making the check-in process easier, faster, more streamlined. To do that, we let you use your phone as your key so you’re skipping the front desk and you don’t have an extra card to keep in your wallet or purse. Now, I’m in digital payments which is a hybrid partner/product role.
What does it take to be successful as a product manager?
To be successful in product, you need to constantly evolve and adapt.
How do you see product management evolving currently?
There is a big focus on data, which is great and can help you make certain predictions. Personally, I feel we’ve skewed too much to the data side and need to swing back to face-to-face interviews and not taking data at face value.
What are you most proud of accomplishing as a PM?
When I was a technical designer, I would get such a thrill when I would see someone at the mall wearing one of my designs. I get that same jolt today when I see someone in a Hilton using our digital key.
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Make sure you have sponsors. Do not just align with one person because if they bail or get blackballed, you’re in trouble.
Who’s your favorite fictional character and why?
You know, I can’t say that I have one. Sorry! But, Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes just popped into my mind — probably because we share the same Myers-Briggs.