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Meet Victoria van Heerden, Group Product Manager at BVNK

In this edition of Life at BVNK, Victoria talks about her journey from industrial engineer to product manager and the power of collaboration.

By
Mar 20, 2024
4 min read

Tell us about your role.

I’m a Group Product Manager, developing products for our Platform Engineering and Financial Crime Compliance teams. That means a lot of zooming in and out between high-level strategy and practical implementation. For example, I might start the day working with team leads to link our company objectives and key results (OKRs) to the product roadmap. Then, work directly with my engineering teams to translate that strategy into great products for our customers. I love to see the big picture but also focus on the implementation details with my team.

Why BVNK?

I wanted to join a team with an inspiring vision and vibrant culture, where I could jump in and make an impact from day one. Since joining, not only have I been part of building a product that I believe in, but I get to build it with the most dedicated and collaborative people. The team we have here at BVNK is fundamental to achieving our mission to make payments accessible and resilient.

Describe the culture at BVNK in one word.

Collaborative – insanely so. We’re constantly evaluating our ways of working so that we can solve problems faster and build better products together. The work we do is so cross-functional that it often makes me think of the Zulu philosophy ‘Ubuntu’, meaning ‘I am, because we are’. When we succeed at BVNK, it’s thanks to the power of the collective.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

I’m an industrial engineer that fell in love with complicated systems and processes when I completed my masters in engineering health systems. After a few graduate roles, I found myself as a co-founder for a health-tech startup. All of the work I was doing as a founder – wireframing, speaking to customers, running sprints with engineers and analysing metrics – made me realise that my dream job was actually to be a product manager. I joined a crypto investment firm where I built products for the DeFi community, and then shifted to payments. 

Regardless of the industry, for me it’s about not only doing good work, but work that is good. Here at BVNK, the work we do is more than good — it’s extraordinary.

“For me it’s about not only doing good work, but work that is good. Here at BVNK, the work we do is more than good — it’s extraordinary.”
Victoria van Heerden
Group Product Manager

Which BVNK values resonate most with you?

Integrity – as it works so well with our other values at BVNK. Embracing integrity not only enables us to create meaningful products for our customers but also makes BVNK a great place to work.

The best piece of advice you’ve received?

One of my mentors at BVNK told me to work on improving your strengths rather than your weaknesses. It’s so counterintuitive, but has completely changed the way I learn and grow. It’s about accepting your weaknesses as they are — it’s what makes us human after all. If we had to work tirelessly to improve our weaknesses, they may become just a trait of average quality. When we work on our strengths, that's where the magic happens. When our strengths are made greater, we level up, do incredible things and truly shine!

Any books, blogs, films or podcasts you’d recommend?

I enjoy reading about how businesses were built and the people that built them. One of my favourites is That will never work by Marc Randolph on the development of Netflix from a whiteboard to what we see on televisions today. The best part is when they decided to shift from their incredibly profitable position of selling DVDs to a subscription-based model. 

Another great read is The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger on his tenure as CEO at Disney. My favourite chapter is titled “If you don’t innovate, you die”, which, besides being great life advice, also shares the story how Disney almost bought Twitter and why they chose not to. I’m sure Elon would have appreciated that advice!

Where can we find you when you’re not at work?

To come refreshed to work every day, I believe you need to meet your physical, mental, spiritual and heart needs! On the physical side, I’m obsessed with crossfit, for mental stimulus, I study French and will be taking my DELF exam in November. For my spiritual side, I love being part of the community at Freedom Church. And finally, my heart is filled by my husband and our golden retriever pup, Waffles.

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