Leslie Thomas Jr

From Communications Grad to Product Manager

Leslie's remarkable journey to becoming a Product Manager showcases his adaptability, commitment to inclusion, and a rich array of transferable skills that have been pivotal in her career transition.

Leslie's academic journey commenced with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from Ball State University.

Early Career Role:

Training Associate at OppFi (July 2019 - August 2021)

Leslie's tenure at OppFi played a key role in launching OppFi's first-ever chatbot and redesigning the company's ticketing platform. These experiences honed his problem-solving and project management skills.

Transition to Product Management

In this role, Leslie’s transition to Product Management was marked by his participation at Co.Lab’s 8-week Bootcamp program where led a team to identify development opportunities for ✨Co.Buddy✨, an app designed to help young tech professionals develop new skills. Here, he conducted thorough market research, analyzed data, and translated findings into concrete product requirements, fostering his product management expertise.

💼 Five months after finishing Co.Lab’s Bootcamp, Leslie landed his first Product Manager role at AKQA

At AKQA, a prominent digital design and innovation agency, Leslie collaborated on product launches for clients like ADT Commercial and Tanger Outlets. This role allowed him to work on innovative solutions while enhancing his product management capabilities.

Currently, Leslie serves as a Product Manager II at Microsoft, contributing to the mission of empowering organizations and individuals through accessible technology. He leads product and strategic initiatives for Microsoft Viva Connections, exemplifying his commitment to building a more connected, productive, and inclusive workforce.

Leslie's journey showcases how a diverse skill set, unwavering dedication to inclusion, and a passion for problem-solving can propel one's career from Communication Studies to Product Management at a tech giant like Microsoft.

🎯 Transferable Skills: Leslie’s roles at OppFi and Co.Lab honed his ability to analyze complex issues and devise effective solutions. This skill is critical in identifying and addressing challenges in product management.

Project Management: Leslie's experience in launching OppFi's chatbot and leading the Co.Buddy project equipped his with project management expertise. In product management, overseeing the development and delivery of products within specified timelines is a vital skill.

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