Product Director, Manhattan Beach - Digital Ventures
At BCG, Challengers go against expected thinking and inspire their teams to be truly innovative. Sharon empowers and inspires others.
Innovation is all about challenging the status quo and pushing boundaries. Be fearless, and chase after what you believe in.
Both the startup mindset and the drive to innovate have always been near and dear to me. From scaling startups to pivoting products, I drove sustained innovation as a product manager at previous companies. Joining BCGDV has helped me come full circle, since we focus on disruptive innovations, which precede sustained innovations. In other words, we ideate and build products from the ground up that truly encapsulate the founding team’s experience.
In fact, BCGDV has introduced me to a world of new possibilities. I’ve built my entire career in technology, and it has been amazing to merge technology with different industries to explore disruptive opportunities together. I enjoy innovating and incubating new businesses with our corporate partners, whose industries range from financial services to industrial goods to consumer goods. In just three years, I have launched three new startups and products, a unique opportunity that would not exist anywhere else.
Sharon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and Asian American studies from UCLA and has a master’s in business administration from the USC Marshall School of Business.
Q: What did you learn in your first year on the job?
A: I was pleasantly surprised by BCGDV’s openness to evolving our methodology. When I first started, I imagined that we had fixed frameworks to follow, but I quickly learned that we are always looking to improve our methods, and that we are encouraged to challenge the status quo. It’s been rewarding to see what a long way we have come, as we are on version 6.0. In fact, I was so inspired by BCGDV’s openness that I am co-owning the current iteration of the incubation methodology.
Q: What’s the biggest impact you have had with your work?
A: I led the product build of AutoGravity, a startup cofounded by Daimler Financial Services and BCGDV. Because AutoGravity revolutionizes the digital car-buying experience, it only took two years of being in the market to get a valuation of $200 million, with $80 million in Series A and B funding combined. It has also won many awards, including Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious 2017 F&I Digital Media Awards.
Q: What is something that has surprised you about working at BCGDV?
A: In our innovation phase, we typically pitch business ideas in Shark Tank style. To my delight and surprise, members of all levels and cohorts are given the opportunity to present ideas to executive-level clients of Fortune 500 companies. This is a great way to help people expand their skill sets, and it gives everyone a unique opportunity that is available at very few companies.
Q: Can you give an example of a time where your team really came together in a big way? Put another way, what’s the best team experience you’ve had?
A: There is no doubt I was lucky enough to work with the "A Team" on one of my projects. In my entire career, this was the first time I saw such a strong dynamic and camaraderie, because we had so much trust and respect for each other. No matter what kind of challenge was handed to us, even when our project scope increased with the same deadlines, we collaborated together across different functions and filled in the gaps for each other. We always had each other’s best interests in mind. This has undoubtedly become my goal in building future teams.
Q: What’s your office environment like?
A: BCGDV’s Manhattan Beach office feels like a startup foundry! We have 20 venture rooms designed to serve as mini offices for new startups backed by corporations. In any given venture room, teams comprise representation from different functions—from designers to venture architects to engineers—who work together to ideate and build new businesses. In fact, we encourage our corporate clients to co-locate and innovate with us in our venture rooms, an environment that’s buzzing with creativity.