Tacit Edge is taking applications for the next cohort of its gender and race Equity, Diversity and Inclusion-based Product Management education programs, which the organization claims is among the most successful globally.
Founded by corporate veterans Christa Hill and Renee Matsalla, the Calgary-based tech-education startup is looking to shift the number of women and visible minorities graduating into Product Management and related roles with top companies throughout Alberta, across Canada, and around the world.
In partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and with funding from Alberta Innovates, Tacit Edge’s 12-week Applied Product Management Program graduated their first students last year.
“Product Management is a career that has very few opportunities to gain post-secondary education unless you’re already hired at a company and rise through the ranks or participate in online theory-only education,” argues Matsalla. “It’s trained in-house at many companies, yet businesses regionally and globally need diverse Product Managers.”
Product Management is defined as the business process of planning, developing, launching, and managing a product or service. It includes the entire lifecycle of a product, from ideation and development to market—a field that “bridges the gap between technology innovation and business strategy,” according to Matsalla.
The issue is that companies “don’t have a trusted standard source of Product Managers to draw from, and students struggle to find a trusted high-quality place for low-risk hands-on learning,” she says. “These are the two sides of the problem we are seeking to solve.”
Tacit Edge claims a 73% hire rate of graduates into product management and related roles of which more than half are women and nearly three-quarters identify as visible minorities. The company believes this is an improvement over industry figures, which skew two-thirds male and white, according to data from career platform Zippia.
“Our education is ideal for anyone who wants to learn the latest best practices for building great products, from startup, scale-up, to enterprise,” the company states. “Anyone can benefit from the innovation that Product Management education creates.”
“Under-represented groups, newcomers to Canada, and those who have faced adversity often make the best Product Managers we can imagine,” commented Hill. “These individuals thrive in ambiguity and have already overcome challenging situations unique to their lives navigating the complexity of starting a new life in a new country.”
According to the Boston Product Management Association’s Study on the State of DE&I in Product Management research/survey, less diverse teams may share limited perspectives, build less successful products, and perform at a lower level.
“The Product Management function is at the center of our innovation ecosystem, bridging the gap between technical development and market demand,” stated Doug Holt of Alberta Innovates. “It is the driving force behind the development and success of products the market actually wants and is crucial for driving the growth and scale-up of businesses in our ecosystem. ”
Tacit program graduates have gone on to work for major corporations like Microsoft, as well as regional firms like Calgary’s Small Business of the Year, legal-tech upstart Goodlawyer.
“We can’t wait to bring the world diverse talent, and the next generation of successful Product Managers who are primed to disrupt industry and help solve problems for businesses and people alike,” Hill said.