No risk, no reward – that’s the theme of this Friday Fives. Blair Pecka shares her career journey into product management and how determination and hard work led to her recent promotion to vice president of product. We’ll also learn about product management misconceptions and one of her all-time favorite movies.

How did you break into Product Management?
I started out as an Account Executive for a local television affiliate in Upstate NY. When the television industry started evolving and moving online I became fascinated with the concept of digital advertising. With that, I packed my bags and moved to NYC. I worked for companies focused on building out custom creative solutions for top brands, agencies, and publishers. From there, I transitioned rather organically to various product roles spearheading the strategy and build-out across of varies platforms and technology. I didn’t know where my career would lead then but I knew every opportunity was a chance for me to learn and evolve.

Product management certifications courses are becoming popular. What’s your opinion on these courses vs. on-the-job training?
Ultimately, you’ll want to have a balance of both. There are benefits to certifications and courses; they can provide you with valuable frameworks that can be applied throughout your career. I feel strongly that the value you obtain from on-the-job training is irrefutable. When you’re living it first hand, your mistakes and your successes are real. These experiences shape who you are and mold your career path.

As the Vice President of Product, what is your biggest challenge?
By far the biggest challenge is being everywhere at once. Product is at the intersection of where all the groups within the organization come together. My role works very closely with engineering, operations, sales, and marketing to ensure not only that our products launch successfully but that we are also available to provide additional support when it is needed most.

What is the biggest misconception people often have when it comes to product management?
The biggest misconception is that product owners are the same as project managers. While sometimes product owners may need to put on their project management hats, it’s not fundamentally apart of a product owners role and responsibilities.

What movie do you watch every time it comes on tv?
Independence Day. Hands down!  One of my favorite quotes to this day is, “I could have been at a barbecue!”