Connector Spotlight: Polina Cherkashyna

August 4, 2021

Q. Tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on.

I joined Connected as a product manager, and in this capacity, I helped one of our major clients – a music streaming service – bring their content to smart speakers such as Amazon Echo. I also worked to deliver a mobile application for a major consumer electronics provider. 

I later moved into our Growth and Client Experience guild, where I worked on operationalizing our account-based marketing and sales approach, sales enablement, streamlining how we do allocations, and business development. 

Q. What’s the most interesting challenge about the project?

For the music streaming service, my team started working with voice assistants in the very early days – smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home had only recently been released. As a result, there were no guidelines or best practices for what is now known as Conversation Design, and there was no market data on how consumers were actually using their smart speakers. We had to operate with so many unknowns, but thanks to the Connected Product Thinking approach, we were able not only to deliver a successful product to market but also to develop internal tools for quality assurance while prototyping voice experiences and developing some early Conversation Design best practices. In fact, we were hired by some of Amazon’s biggest players to design their future voice products. 

Outside of Connected, I now own a small company that provides Conversation Design training, and I can confidently say that it’s the best training course of its type that exists at the moment. 

Q. Where did you work prior to Connected?

Before Connected, I worked as an account director in a number of digital ad agencies, where I led the adoption of new advertising technologies such as IoT, voice interfaces, and AR. I then began working as a product manager at a startup called CloudMade, which develops Machine Learning solutions for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). I worked predominantly with European OEMs such as Audi and Porsche.

Q. What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

I’m really proud of the Growth Operations work that I’ve done at Connected. Driving organizational change is hard, and at times, it seems quite impossible. But it’s really fulfilling to see, after a year of hard work, the whole team following all the new processes and now sharing the knowledge with new team members too. 

Q. Do you have a mantra you live by?

Work hard, have fun, no drama. I’ve been lucky to work only on projects that I love and feel passionate about. I do value a great work ethic, and I enjoy solving complex problems, whether product or business related. 

Q. What do you love to do outside of work?

Ever since I came to Canada and discovered backcountry camping, I’ve fallen in love with it. On long weekends, I love going to Algonquin Park and portaging as deep as time allows into the woods. I find it really relaxing to be in a remote place with no technology, surrounded by amazing views and the quiet.

Q. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

I’m quite sure I’d take a “Survive in the Wild Guide,” but if we’re talking about something I can re-watch forever, it’d be any number of Parks and Recreation episodes. I really love this show; it’s my go-to when I’m feeling down or just want to relax. 

Q. Describe yourself in three words. 

Empathetic, driven, go-getter.

Q. And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

At the moment, my favourite product is Wealthsimple. I’m fascinated by the simplicity of its user experience, visual design, and features that work well in conjunction with the brand, promotion strategies, and exceptional client service.

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