This School16 concentration gave Luciana Salles the confidence to take her skills into tech

November 5, 2022

In this interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Luciana Salles, an alum of our January 2022 cohort. 

You say you followed the “safe and boring” path after getting your college degree.

As a first generation Brazilian in America, I wanted to make sure that I’d be making money and be financially stable right after undergrad. I pursued a degree in chemical engineering because I knew I’d be good at it and that it’d be a stable industry in the future. The career possibilities are really endless with that degree. 

During undergrad, I was accepted into a rotational program with the company Avery Dennison and got great exposure to chemical manufacturing. I figured I’d work in this field for a couple years and put my degree to use. Then I’d eventually transition into something more tech-facing because that's what I really enjoyed. 

As is the case with most adults, time just escaped me. I ended up staying with the safe and stable path at Avery Dennison and am proud to say that I’ve been continually promoted and supported in my career development there.

Did you enter School16 wanting to continue down the operations path? 

I definitely went in thinking that strategy and operations made the most sense for me because I knew I had transferable skills. I also knew that I could learn this area of tech quickly while acclimating into this new field and assessing what I actually wanted to do. But when product management came around in the curriculum, that's really when I got excited about the program and what was possible for me as a professional in tech.

Aside from the curriculum, what resources prepared you to get your next role?

  1. Talking with my course instructor Mandy Poston really opened my eyes to product management.
  2. The mentor sessions were great. Being able to talk to someone who's already successful in the area you’re looking to enter is invaluable when you don’t have the professional connections.
  3. The deliverables made me feel confident that I could work in product management. I submitted my assignments, presented them in class, and received really good feedback. I learned that my operational and strategic skills weren’t far off from what a product manager needs.

What’s your current position like?

This role is the first of its kind at my longtime employer Avery Dennison. I’m a Digital Product Manager. Prior to this role, I hadn’t really worked directly with the IT function and I was very aware that I had a lot to learn on the tech side of things. I also knew that I understood the business units at the company and had the opportunity to work with a lot of my soon to be customers. 

Now, as a Product Manager, it’s my job to take the voice of the customer and formulate a plan on how my team can execute and continually improve our products or platforms.

Interested in learning more? Connect with Luciana here!

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