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Feyza Sen | Product Owner

Surround yourself with mentors

My name is Feyza Sen. I am currently the Product Owner of our Omnichannel Brand Team. I started working at Van Lanschot Kempen in September 2020 as a Digital & Innovation intern and became the Product Owner of the Digital Adoption team after my internship.

What did you do before starting at Van Lanschot Kempen?
Before starting at Van Lanschot Kempen, I studied Communications in Istanbul, specialising in Advertising and Public Relations. During my studies, I interned at various organisations, from creative agencies to multinational corporations, focusing on diverse fields such as communication, media relations, and strategic planning.

Afterwards, I moved to the Netherlands to complete my master’s degree at Erasmus University Rotterdam in Media & Business, where I had the opportunity to explore how new digital technologies altered businesses. I conducted my thesis research on how companies use data to understand their customers.

How do you experience your role as a Product Owner of the Omnichannel Brand Team?
I am mainly responsible for maximising product value through the continuous development of our public websites. My role involves a lot of stakeholder management as I am constantly required to manage the expectations of stakeholders by having discussions and alignments with them to understand their needs; translating those needs into tasks for the development team; and ensuring the work done meets the acceptance criteria. 

Other key tasks within this role are prioritising the product backlog; collecting stakeholder feedback on the work done; presenting the product, its vision and planning to relevant people inside or outside the organisation. I like that this role allows me to act as the bridge to connect the stakeholders and the development by focusing on the product strategy and value.

What is your experience in working for Van Lanschot Kempen and what stands out to you?
What I like the most about working at Van Lanschot Kempen is the growth mentality that encourages continuous learning, fostering an agile approach through a ‘fail fast, learn fast’ philosophy where we are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. 

In addition, they also offer training possibilities in diverse topics, from bias awareness to data analytics tools. When I voiced my goal to become a Product Owner, both my manager and the organisation supported me by creating an opportunity. 

Furthermore, coming from an international background, I appreciate the effort they put into incorporating inclusivity and diversity through various initiatives. As a non-Dutch employee, it helps me that the official communication language is English, yet, I also have the chance to follow Dutch courses if I am interested.

What is something you wish you knew before you started working in your role as Product Owner of the Omnichannel Brand Team?
Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding what gives you energy and what you could improve on will help you make decisions that better reflect yourself. You can find out about your strengths and weaknesses through tests, or simply by asking for feedback from the people around you. 

Surround yourself with mentors and role models that inspire you. They will play a key role in your personal and professional development as your support system. Ask questions to people in work life to learn from their insights and what it’s like to be working in their role. Sometimes jobs can be different than what you expect. Intern at various domains and organisations to discover what you like and don’t like. Lastly, remember that it’s never too late to change your career path.
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