Anjali Balakrishna, Product Manager in Nashville, TN, United States
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Anjali Balakrishna

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Nashville, TN, United States
Toptal Member Since
June 3, 2019

For the past five years, Anjali has been leading product and service development teams to build and launch effective solutions to important social issues. Her work has primarily been focused on the learning and development space but has a strong translatable skillset as a digital and analog product manager. She is a strong leader and creative problem solver who will put in the time and hard work to get the job done right.

Project Highlights

Future Camp
Led the design, development, and deployment of a new business unit of The Future Project, doubling our national footprint.
The Launch Box
Led the product design and development of a suite of educational tools used by 3000+ students and educators nationwide.
Dreamly
Led digital team to redesign and relaunch a data and insights tool for educators in schools across America.

Expertise

Work Experience

VP, Invention

2017 - 2019
The Future Project
  • Led the team responsible for shaping the organization’s product strategy. This involved identifying the most strategic opportunity areas to increase organizational revenue and impact and then creatively expressing those opportunities by designing and deploying new products and services to reach customers in new and existing markets. This role also involved business development work, identifying the most strategic markets for expansion and establishing a foundational business model and sales infrastructure to grow new offerings.
  • Managed a budget of $2 million and 9 employees to develop concepts for several new revenue-generating initiatives, and to launch one of these initiatives as a full-fledged business unit.
  • Led a 9-month R&D intensive and pilot this initiative, Future Camp, resulting in over a dozen new products and artifacts, as well as a 3-day immersive transformational experience that was delivered to over 650+ young people in seven communities nationwide.
  • Led a full redesign of The Future Project’s schools program to strategically increase the scale of impact and decrease cost per student reached by 5-10x previous levels.
  • Sat on the organization’s executive team as head of product, accountable for overall organizational health ($12 million budget and 100+ employees).

Senior Director, Innovation

2017 - 2017
The Future Project
  • Led all product development for the organization. Established organization’s first-ever dedicated product team, developed a signature product development process, integrating techniques and best practices from agile software development, human-centered design, instructional design, and more, and built a suite of physical products and curricular resources that were rolled out to 40+ staff members embedded in high schools in 10 districts, reaching over 25,000 customers.
  • Recruited, trained, and mentored a team of five staff members, sourced from our schools, in best design practices, developing them into effective product/curriculum designers.
  • Led product team through monthly design sprints—3-day facilitated experiences wherein I issued the team a clear design brief with constraints and goals, and guided them through market and customer research and analysis, storyboarding and prototyping, feature specification and development planning, and more.
  • Sat on the organization’s leadership team, responsible for ensuring information symmetry and alignment across the various departments within the company.

Deputy to the Chief Innovation Officer

2015 - 2016
The Future Project
  • Provided strategic and operational leverage to two different Chief Innovation Officers. This role involved extensive project management, participation, and leadership in product and experience design efforts, and programming support for existing offerings.

Chief of Staff

2014 - 2015
The Future Project
  • Supported the CEO and president through a year of unprecedented organizational growth, during which time the organizational footprint tripled from about a dozen sites, all on the east coast, to over 30 sites on nationwide.
  • Built operational systems—from impact reporting and data collection, to organization-wide communications practices, to city team management structures—to enable the organization of 60+employees to operate effectively.
  • Designed and produced a student event that brought 500+ young people together from seven cities nationwide (including San Francisco and Detroit) for a day-long experience to showcase the projects they were working on to positively impact their communities.

Future Camp

Led the design, development, and deployment of a new business unit of The Future Project, doubling our national footprint.

The Future Camp is a three-day bootcamp for high school students that can be delivered in schools and communities across the nation. We developed this product as a way to increase the reach of the organization, bringing transformational programming to young people across the country.

The Launch Box

Led the product design and development of a suite of educational tools used by 3000+ students and educators nationwide.

This suite of educational tools was designed in response to a need to standardize the quality of impact and experience being delivered to high school students in schools across the country. These products ranged from workbooks to training modules to card games and more, and each served a unique purpose in enabling our staff to deliver educational content to their students.

Dreamly

Led digital team to redesign and relaunch a data and insights tool for educators in schools across America.

Dreamly was a proprietary digital product from The Future Project created to equip our school staff with a tool to track their work with students and get customized insights back. After a failed initial pilot, I took over leadership of the product and worked with the team to rescope and focus it, relaunching it to significantly greater success and usage rate.
2010 - 2014

Bachelor's Degree in American Studies

Yale University - New Haven, CT

Tools

Asana, Adobe Creative Suite, Trello

Industry Expertise

Nonprofits, Sustainability

Paradigms

Agile Product Management, Agile Workflow, Design Thinking, Agile, Scrum

Other

Product Management, Business Analysis, Requirements, Product Strategy, Product Roadmaps, Go-to-market Plans, User Research, Business Models, Product Design, Product Marketing, Product Frameworks, Innovation, Product Ownership, Product Discovery, Product Delivery, Sprint Planning, Education, Learning & Development

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