(Article by Kurt Schlosser originally appeared in GeekWire.)
Geek of the Week profiles the characters of Pacific Northwest tech, science, games, innovation, and more.
Limeade is a Bellevue, Wash.-based software company focused on elevating the employee experience, helping to build great places to work for enterprise companies. Tiff Napolitano, senior director of product management, helps make Limeade a great place to work.
The mom, tech geek, mentor, teammate, runner, yogi, traveler, creator, life-long learner and lover of nature, music and the arts — just to name a few roles — is also GeekWire’s latest Geek of the Week.
Napolitano joined Limeade as employee No. 7, starting up the customer success team. She has been with the company for almost 10 years.
“We all know it’s kind of unheard of in the tech industry to stay at a company for this long. So why have I stayed?” Napolitano said. “Limeade needed someone who could play many roles and had the initiative and hunger to just learn and make things better. That’s me.”
She credits the company’s mission to improve the employee work experience as well as the support she gives and gets from awesome teammates.
“It creates this unique culture at Limeade encouraging me and others to thrive and do our best work,” she said.
Napolitano also takes seriously her role as a woman leader in tech — which she says has not been easy.
“When I started in this industry, I was usually the only woman leader in the room,” she said. “This forced me to learn quickly and to be confident and direct so I could advocate for my team and my ideas. Now I see the industry changing with more and more women leading and their voices being heard. We still have a long way to go, but I’ve been a leader and advocate in making this possible as we all go on this journey in tech together. This makes proud and hopeful for the future.”
Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Tiff Napolitano:
What do you do, and why do you do it? I lead the Limeade product management team. I do it because I love seeing others grow and learn, I love being a leader and I’m a tech geek who loves mobile and web development.
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? The life of a product manager is rewarding and challenging. To be excellent in this field takes confidence, vulnerability and the ability to be great at many different skill sets, using all four quadrants of your brain. I love mentoring teammates. Seeing them improve knowing I helped them grow new skills is rewarding.
Where do you find your inspiration? My teammates (we call ourselves LimeMates), my family, nature, music, the arts, other UXs and mobile apps I love.
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? My phone. Our phones have become appendages to us all. It’s how I work, communicate with family, socialize with others, create cool stuff and share it, organize the busy family life of 11 (7 kids, 2 adults and 2 new kitties we got last week – meow) learn new things, listen to music, get news around the world, enjoy TV and entertainment. You get the point. It does it all.
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? Somewhat organized, by teammates, standing desk because I like moving while I focus, decorated with art and pictures of family and friends, colorful, a view to look at the trees outside while I think.
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) 1. Time for myself (schedule it and protect it!) 2. Setting boundaries between work time and family time. When I am working, I’m full on working and focused. When I’m at home and everyone is awake, I’m with family. 3. Turn off all work notifications. You don’t need them. If you follow setting focused work and family time then you’ll naturally see what you need for email and chat while you are working and when you want to check in versus the constant distraction of every notification.
Mac, Windows or Linux? Mac.
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Picard, but I’m much more of a Star Wars fan than Trekkie. I dangerously know enough about Star Trek.
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Time Machine — I miss my brother and sister and my grandparents and I’d go back and spend time with them.
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … Not tell you because I’m planning to do it some day and it won’t cost $1M 🙂
I once waited in line for … A free lotus flower tattoo in Bali. Great experience of tacos and tats and Bali is just amazing in general. I recommended it as a travel must and it is a terrific travel country for kids, too.
Your role models: There are too many to mention just a few. I am inspired by anyone living their best life and inspiring others to live their best lives, be their best selves. It’s these moments in life that I am very happy and inspired.
Greatest game in history Soccer. I grew up playing it and coached it for many years. Shout out to my teammates on the Suns, Cosmos and Eagles in Columbus, Ohio. You all taught me my favorite company value we have at Limeade: We’re a team!
Best gadget ever: The bobby pin because you can MacGyver the heck out of one.
First computer: Commodore 64.
Current phone: iPhone X — every-2-year upgrade.
Favorite app: Of course, Limeade ONE! And Insta, outside of our apps.
Favorite cause: The Nature Conservancy through AmazonSmile.
Most important technology of 2019: Limeade ONE — our new platform elevating the employee experience, so every employee knows their company cares.
Most important technology of 2021: Limeade ONE — The operating system for organizations to shape their company culture.
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: Care for others at work (and everywhere) — company, team and then you in that order! Beyond this, put yourself out there, learn and experience new things, be confident (confidence comes with being prepared and believing in yourself). BE YOU!
LinkedIn: Tiff Napolitano