Karen Swyszcz

From Biochemistry Graduate to Product Manager

Karen's career journey showcases her remarkable transition from a background in biochemistry to a thriving role as a Product Manager.

Karen holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo, with a specialization in biotechnology. This provided her with a solid foundation in scientific principles and critical thinking.

Early Career Roles:

  • Patheon (Jun 2008 - Jul 2009): Karen's journey included a role as a Validation Scientist I at Patheon, where she provided technical expertise and support to pharmaceutical operations. This role involved data analysis, equipment validation, and project management.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Mar 2011 - Aug 2015): Prior to her tech-focused roles, Karen worked as a Meat Hygiene Officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Here, she monitored food processing practices and ensured safe food handling. This role honed her skills in quality assurance and compliance.
  • WhatRunsWhere (Aug 2015 - Jan 2017): Karen's career took an initial shift towards technology as she worked as a Scraper Analyst at WhatRunsWhere. Here, she maintained webserver health, troubleshooted software issues, and analyzed and optimized data collection. This role introduced her to tech-related tasks and cross-functional coordination.

Transition to Product Management

Karen's transition towards product management started with Co.Lab’s bootcamp program. She completed the Product Management Track and gained practical experience. Here, she acted as the voice of the user, conducted research, and led a team of developers and a designer.

Karen continued her product management journey by working on ✨Podball✨, a tool that streamlines podcast editing.

💼 Four months after finishing Co.Lab’s bootcamp, Karen was able to land her first Product role at Buddi

Karen's career in product management reached new heights when she became the 1st Product Manager Hire at Buddi, a B2B2C e-commerce startup. She led API integrations, ideated and implemented new features, and demonstrated cultural competence.

Karen's career journey from biochemistry to product management demonstrates that with a strong educational foundation, transferable skills, and a willingness to adapt and learn, one can successfully pivot into a thriving career in tech and product management!

🎯 Transferable Skills: Karen's transition highlights how skills such as problem-solving, communication, project management, and quality assurance from her earlier roles can be applied effectively in product management.

Education: Her background in biochemistry provided a foundation in critical thinking, research, and scientific analysis, which are valuable in tech and product roles.

Continuous Learning: Karen's journey underscores the importance of continuous learning and seeking opportunities to gain new skills.

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