Sarah Quinlan is a Product Manager at Auror and previously worked for the New Zealand Police as a team lead and analyst. Moving to a different industry is tough, even with connection points like there are with law enforcement and Retail Crime Intelligence. We had a chat with Sarah to learn how she approached this challenge, why she joined Auror, and her career “roadmap.”
What is your role at Auror?
I’m a Product Manager at Auror. I help to align the product work with our company goals at Auror. I do this by setting context about customer problems the team is trying to solve, timing the work right for our goals, clarifying the value we hope to deliver for our customers, and measuring the results.
How did you get into product management?
This is my first role in tech. I spent eight years working at New Zealand Police in intelligence on a range of policing issues, major incident response, investigation support, and international liaison activities.
I grew a lot and was so proud to work with the New Zealand Police but found I was starting to normalize the day-to-day pressures that come from that line of work. I knew it was time for a change and the team supported me 100% to go for it.
It’s no accident that I’m here. I saw a similar purpose at Auror – to connect communities to prevent crime. But now, I make an impact in different ways by helping to build a world-class product that helps our retail and law enforcement customers make their stores and communities safer.
What was the biggest challenge moving from the police to a technology company?
The change was big. Not only did I have to learn new skills for this new career, but I also had to learn a new way of working. Moving from the public to private sector was so cool and it highlighted a lot of working habits that I had to unlearn.
The biggest change is unlinking my value from actual work time. The other is collaborating in a hybrid and remote workplace. Oh, and did I mention we don’t do many emails here at Auror?
What do you love about the new role?
The people! I love the team at Auror, and I’ve had so much support to grow into my new role.
Auror’s growing a diverse, inclusive, caring, and passionate team. You feel this energy when you work with your colleagues. Even though I work remotely and I’m not always physically around them, I still feel so connected to my team and our mission. The way we work with one another shapes how we build our products and our close partnership with customers.
What has been the most interesting project you’ve worked on since joining Auror?
The team I’m working with now is looking at new technologies to help customers use their data in Auror to find patterns and link repeat offenders. This is super interesting as it frees up the manual time spent by our customers searching for this information, so they can focus on solving the problems or collaborating with law enforcement for prevention.
What advice would you give someone interested in changing industries?
Get ready to learn. Depending on how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing, you’re probably really good at it, people know and trust you, and you know how things get done. Starting somewhere new and transitioning into a different career pathway means you won’t start from zero, but you’ll need to be okay with letting go of some of that comfort and certainty – and be ready to learn new things again. I recently picked up skiing and used this to understand how I dealt with learning new difficult things as an adult (skiing is harder!).
Find support & advice. Connect with other folks who are already doing the things you’re thinking about doing. They can give invaluable ideas, support, and sense checks for how things really are. I was invited by a developer friend to a tech conference which opened my eyes to the opportunities and got me thinking about a new career path. After that I joined the NZ Tech WomeNB community on Slack and that’s where I saw the role at Auror. Another Developer friend shared his CV as a starting template which doesn’t sound big, but seeing how I could highlight my transferable skills and experience was super helpful.
Back yourself. You give so much time and energy to work you need to feel happy, healthy, and connected with the ‘why’ behind it. If you don’t feel this or want more of this, back yourself to make the change.
Keen to learn more about working at Auror? We’re hiring!