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Meet Michelle Ackerman

michelle ackermanMichelle Ackerman gave a lightning talk at our Spotify concert in January 2016. She is a Product Manager at Spotify.

How (and when) did you get into your current field or company?

I’ve been working in music technology since college. I started in a QA/Marketing internship at The Echo Nest in Somerville. In the next two years my role evolved and my responsibilities included managing the intern program, helping to start a Data Curation team and a bigger role on the Data QA side. In 2014, The Echo Nest was acquired by Spotify and I transitioned into a Product Owner role. My squad (small teams at Spotify usually made up of 5-8 engineers, a product owner, and an agile coach) works closely with the Playlist Editors as they create Spotify playlists.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day includes coordinating with the squad, prioritizing new feature requests and projects, communicating with our stakeholders, and looking ahead to how our team can contribute to Spotify’s programmed experiences.

What is the favorite part of your day?

I really enjoy working with my team. Many of us have been working with music data and recommendation together for a while and it’s been great to watch us grow and evolve within Spotify.

What excites you about working in your industry?

I’ve always been passionate about music; it’s sort of my dream to be able to contribute in any way to this industry, especially given how quickly it has changed. Music is so subjective, emotional and personal and it means a lot to me to have music services reflect that as they let users to discover new artists around the world.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

To never underestimate the importance of enjoying being around your coworkers. We spend so much time with them, so surrounding ourselves with passionate smart people that we truly admire can mean the world to you in your job.

What is your favorite part of being a woman in STEM?

It’s a warm and supportive community. It’s exciting to see the different ways of getting involved from going to meet-ups, organizations, to diversity initiatives within companies themselves.

What other women inspire you?

The women at our Boston office are just the greatest people. Seriously. I’ve worked with many of them since I started at The Echo Nest in 2011 and I feel very lucky to have had such smart, caring, and hilarious role models in them. They make going to work fun.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I love writing. Sometimes I attempt to write my own music but that’s mostly a disaster and I’m afraid of playing music in front of people. I usually stick to poems and screenplays.

What do you geek out about?

Sad music. Well, music in general, but I love sad music in a way that few people understand.


Felicia Jadczak
Felicia Jadczak
Felicia is a Co-Founder of She Geeks Out.