Episode 17: Finding The Right Environment In Tech To Be Your Authentic Self

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On this week’s episode, I spoke with Lidiane Jones, the VP of SW Product Management at Sonos, a leading smart sound system company. For over 15 years, Lidiane has worked in product management for a wide variety of products related to consumer productivity, machine learning, and much more. Over the course of her career, she has gained a reputation for building diverse, dynamic, and high-performing teams. In her current role at Sonos, Lidiane leads her team as they work to improve customers’ lives through great listening experiences. We discussed her career trajectory, and her advice to women looking for mentors and sponsors.  

Even though she loved coding from a very young age, Lidiane’s transition from tech-focused roles to her position as VP of product management was an organic one. Realizing that she spent much of her energy on the what and why of the products, considering everything from the angle of customer experience, Lidiane met with some product managers and loved the work. Now, she and her team create crisp, prioritized road maps for products that are grounded in the company’s strategy and direction.

As a Latina woman in the tech sector, Lidiane has been deliberate in selecting professional environments where she could thrive while still being herself. It’s easy to see why this career trajectory led her to Sonos, a nontraditional, product-driven, and highly inclusive tech company. The fact that she received a job offer from Sonos when she was 7 months pregnant signaled to Lidiane that this was a company aligned with her style and values. “It was very telling for me in terms of culture and environment. You can read a lot from those early interactions.”

Environmental fit plays a role not only in personal success, but in building a support network of both peers and leaders. Lidiane’s advice for early and mid-career women is to cultivate a broad mentorship network of people of all genders, career stages, and roles. “Earlier in my career, I was more conscious of being the only woman in the room. I had a male colleague with a similar working style to mine, but he was so much freer to share his ideas. I wondered why I was blocking myself, and then I started to take the leap to be more vocal in these discussions.”

As far as finding these connections, Lidiane values organic and authentic connections that will last beyond a single job or role. “You can spot the people who are invested in your success. They’re the ones who catch you before or after a meeting for a cup of coffee. People will see your strengths outside of a single meeting or project, and you’ll find something of mutual interest as you get to know each other.”

Lidiane, thank you so much for joining me on the show this week and sharing your keen insights into mentorship and sponsorship. To all of my listeners, thank you once again for tuning in to the show. See you next week!