Employee Spotlight: John Diaz, Senior Product Manager
On a regular basis, we talk with our team members about their experience working at Canoe, and their future goals and aspirations. This week, we spoke with John Diaz, Senior Product Manager.
Describe your background and current role at Canoe.
I started my career with Blackstone and spent seven-and-a-half years with the firm. I began as a Business Analyst and eventually grew to lead Product Management for our internal CRM team. My time at Blackstone was fundamental in developing my product skills while giving me significant exposure to the alternative investments space.
After Blackstone, I had a brief stretch with a FinTech startup called Ridgeline where I was a Product Manager on the Client Engagement (CRM) team. Ridgeline focuses more on the traditional asset management space so I was able to learn a ton about that side of the industry despite my short time there.
At Canoe, I am the Product Manager for Canoe Connect — an offering that makes our clients’ lives easier by automating the tedious, time-consuming task of document collection. I also serve as a Product resource for strategic client and key account initiatives.
Why did you choose to join Canoe?
With Canoe, I saw an immense opportunity to transform an industry fraught with tons of manual workflows and very little standardization. It was also a great chance to apply the industry knowledge I had picked up during my time in the private equity space.
Another contributor was the chance to lead new initiatives from scratch while working closely with leaders across the company. During my interview process, one thing that stuck out was Canoe’s entrepreneurial spirit — the idea that if you see that something is wrong or can be improved, you are empowered to drive to that outcome.
After a few months, what are your initial observations of Canoe?
The energy and people at Canoe are absolutely fantastic. Starting with leadership and resonating throughout the rest of the firm, everyone is excited about our goals and focused on solving some really challenging problems. The people are sharp, kind, and always willing to help out. My experience with Jason Eiswerth, our CEO, is a great example of this. He is incredibly accessible and always eager to gather feedback or brainstorm new ideas. Anecdotally, I’ve had more one-on-one conversations with him in 2 months than I have with any other chief executive over 8 years.
I’ve also been excited to learn that the entrepreneurial spirit that I saw in my interview process is actually a reality. In my short time here, I’ve been able to identify and execute on several internal initiatives despite the fact that they were outside my designated product area.
What product enhancement(s) are you most excited about and why?
We have a great product that is only getting better. I’m excited to expand our document collection capabilities to even more portals while adding more user-centric workflows across our home page and document center.
How do you collaborate across teams in your role?
As a Product Manager at Canoe, you’re constantly working with colleagues across many different functions like Engineering, Sales, Client Success, and Operations. With so many different stakeholders (in addition to the customer), it’s crucial to ensure that everyone is bought into and aligned with both short-term and long-term goals.
Constant communication is also key. In terms of my own collaboration style, it’s early, often, and with tons of visuals and examples. Luckily, the employees at Canoe make it very easy and fun. People are always up for circling up and digging into a really tough problem, whether that takes the form of brainstorming sessions and other collaborative exercises. With our newly opened SoHo office, I also love taking the opportunity to grab a conference room and get straight to whiteboarding.