Senior Program Manager, DataRobot
Natalie recently took a new position at DataRobot after 5+ years working at Hasbro. In her new role, she manages multiple cross-team projects and strategic initiatives. Natalie’s a Rhode Island lady (and makes me want to visit Providence) with a background in Fine Art.
Wolf & Heron: Tell me about your values. What’s most important to you?
Natalie Hogan: My values are very closely tied to what I do professionally. I work to maximize the potential of people and help them remove barriers. I’m a catalyst of others’ visions. So, I would say potential, and being a catalyst of that potential, is a value of mine.
And it’s not about following a standard business case route to success or applied solutions. Honestly, problems that are already solved are not that interesting. All of the unknown stuff can be pretty scary. I get excited about my work because I’m looking at new problems, I’m on the edge of thinking and helping people make their vision into a reality. Creative problem solving and design thinking is not just an output, it’s a process. So those are also things that are really important to me.
w&h: If you look ahead, and say 10 years from now, what are you hoping to achieve?
NH: Hmm, if I think about the impact I’d like to have, I think of one of the big problems that that is most interesting to me...why are people dysfunctional and dysfunctional together? We might want the same outcome, but we can’t function fluidly. Because of that, I’m interested in studying the science of language, human dynamics, etc. I’d actually recommend this book, Immunity to Change, it talks about fear trigger points and other issues. In 5 years, I think I’m still on this journey of learning and understanding problem. And in ten years, I’d like to have some good tools to address these challenges of dysfunction and to help people fulfill their visions.
w&h: Can you share a specific story that illustrates how you had to (or need to be) influential in your WorkLife?
NH: Influence is one of my bigger skills, but it can be hard to see yourself through that lens. Most of what I do is new, never been done before, I don’t have a process. For me, influence is building good relationships and being able to paint a shared vision and bring people along. If you can’t do that, there’s no point. You have to think about what incentivizes people in their work. For example, for a legal team, a big part of what they’re incentivized to do is not get us sued. So, finding ways to help them see the magic, be a part of something, not to take the easy route and just say no, is essential.
w&h: What are your habits or routines that you use to “show up” as your best self? How does it help?
NH: Most days, my default setting is Power Natalie. I need to keep myself out of behaviors that undermine that. If something builds anxiety, if I hear myself justifying my thinking or peddling around something even if I’m confident, that can undermine me. It’s all internal. So, to get around that, I focus on the way I’m thinking, on my work flow. Also, I run. It’s the best way to get comfortable with being uncomfortable with yourself. If you can live with yourself in that state for two hours, you can get through a lot. You start to learn what happens to your brain under duress.
w&h: What soft skills have been most important in getting to where you are today?
NH: I’ve always been more on the aggressive side of things. I had a boss that I swear was a jedi. There was something he said to me once, I was working long hours, going hard at everything...we had a few bad meetings and people weren’t going along. And I was continuing to apply pressure. My boss said, hey, don’t impose your will on the universe. That’s stuck with me. When we can see the value we want to create, it’s easy to push other people as hard as we can, but it’s important to maintain influence skills, relationship skills, listening. Don’t impose your will on the universe.
w&h: If you could offer a woman in her early 20s just getting started in her WorkLife one piece of advice, what would it be?
NH: Don’t be afraid of other people, regardless of position or title or your first impression of them. Whatever it is that causes that feeling in your gut to pull back that shiny version of you. Don’t be afraid of them.
Look up and acknowledge people. Do the human thing and make them feel good. Embrace people as much as you can.
Natalie's Words of Wisdom
On Her Why
"Problems that are already solved are not that interesting."
"For me, influence is building good relationships and being able to paint a shared vision and bring people along."
"Don’t impose your will on the universe."
"Don’t be afraid of other people, regardless of position or title or your first impression of them."