Day in the Life

‘Product managers wear a lot of hats’: A day in the life of Melissa Manne, managing director of digital channels at Chase

  • The past few years, Chase has been zeroing in on its digital offerings. Leading innovation across digital experiences is Melissa Manne.
  • As managing director of digital channels, Manne focuses her energy on strategy, empowering her team, and staying in sync across the organization.

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‘Product managers wear a lot of hats’: A day in the life of Melissa Manne, managing director of digital channels at Chase

Melissa Manne is part of the leadership team for digital channels at Chase. Manne joined Chase just over a year ago, with more than 15 years of experience in product management and finance. Her track record includes experience at firms like American Express, Clarity Money, and Goldman Sachs.

“I've worked at big companies, I've worked at smaller companies,” she said. “I would say the common thread has been all the interesting problems to solve when it comes to helping customers manage and understand their finances.”

Manne’s work involves diving into consumers’ digital experience with the bank.

“My team is responsible for our authenticated experience on and on the app,” she said. “So basically, if you have a login, that's the experience that my team manages.”

In her role, she’s also responsible for making sure her team is in sync with the organization at large so that when customers log in, the experience reflects the most current and relevant offerings.

When she’s not working, Manne is usually enjoying a good book or taking advantage of the many things to do in New York City, where she happens to live.

From her morning run to her evening read, here’s a day in her life.

Morning: starting early, staying balanced

I am definitely a person who has more energy in the morning. I would say on a good day, the first thing that I try to do when I wake up is be active. 

I live in New York City, and I'm lucky enough to live close to Central Park, which has a lot of great running trails. I'll either go for a jog or go to the gym. Admittedly, I'm not somebody who is super-energized right after working out, but I do find that it brings some calm and focus to the day.

Then I head to the office. I like to get there a bit on the early side – before it really fills up – to have some quiet time. Once I’m there, one of the first things I do is sit with my calendar. We are a big organization, and I think everyone knows product managers inherently wear a lot of hats, so no two days are the same for me.

Melissa Manne, managing director of digital channels at Chase

But in looking at my calendar, I try to balance meetings where I have connectivity to the broader organization with the one-on-ones for my direct reports and people I mentor. I also focus on really carving out time for deep work. The balance of these tasks tends to change every day. 

The first thing I do is try to tackle whatever the hardest thing on my plate is. That often involves digging into strategy and thinking about something that impacts the team or the organization. I find that the morning is when I'm at my freshest and can make the most progress there. 

What qualifies as the hardest task on my plate does definitely change, but one thing that I spend quite a bit of time on is our product transformation. I know Chase spoke to Tearsheet about this around two years ago – we’ve undergone a pretty big evolution in terms of product, where we’ve really done a lot of work as an organization to use agility and best practices to become a product-driven organization, and we are solving customer problems across product, technology, design, and data & analytics.

I spend quite a bit of time making sure that our ways of working are efficient, and that we're moving towards empowered teams. It means really reflecting on how we can set up our organization for success – looking at not only what we're doing now, but where we want to go in the future. For example, as we’ve added more personalization into the experience – like alerting customers to where they may have a duplicate charge, or helping them find options with how they can optimize a large deposit into their checking or savings account – we're seeing great results.

So, strategizing how we can infuse more of those learnings into the digital experience across our channels and products is top of mind. To me, those are some of the things that require deep thought, and that I really need to carve out time to focus on.

Afternoon: meeting mode

The afternoons do tend to be pretty meeting-heavy. There's quite a bit of just connecting throughout the organization to understand other priorities and make sure we're connecting the dots, and then also socializing the great work on the horizon that my team is leading and championing.

One-on-ones are something I’m deliberate about. I've been here a year, so I've made it a really big priority to spend time and get to know the team. I think every meeting tends to be different – they all have different purposes, and you have to think about them as such. I dedicate a good portion of my time to really making sure I'm removing blockers and supporting hiring and any other challenges. Then, of course, giving feedback along the way.

I try to wrap up the meetings by around 5 or 5:30, and then spend a little bit of time on my inbox, because by then, there are definitely some emails to catch up on. There’s always something in there I want to review and provide an opinion or feedback on — if we're prepping for a big release or experiment, I try to carve some time to do that at the end of the day.

After work: exploring books, exploring the city

I feel very lucky living in New York City – there are always new restaurants and shows popping up. A couple of nights a week, I try and check out something new and fun with my partner or friends.

I’m also an avid reader. I think, like all of us, I have to be a little bit more intentional about it in the attention economy. In terms of what I read: I like novels, but I also like to read management or self-help books – I'm actually reading a book called The Art of Gathering, which is about how to make in-person interactions more meaningful, given that we’re getting back to real-life socializing.

I'm a morning person, so I try to be asleep by about 11. Sometimes I end up scrolling on my phone a little bit later than I intended to, but I do try and wrap it up by 11 on weeknights.

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