EPeeps Christine Starr | Product Manager

Hey there! I’m Christine and I’m a Product Manager here at EP. At the moment I call Sydney, Australia home but I am known to be a bit of a globe-trotter, having lived in 5 countries before the age of 25. However, growing up I spent most of my time in Aotearoa New Zealand, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Tell us a bit about yourself! (personal and/or work life)

I joined Education Perfect back in 2017, after finishing my Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Otago. During my time at EP, I’ve worn many hats/titles starting out in the Support Team and eventually being one of the founding members of both our Technical Support and Product Teams when they were first established. It has been heartwarming to see these teams grow and flourish to where they are today.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending my time being active by checking out the many amazing scenic spots Sydney has to offer, but you can also catch me in the gym repeatedly lifting heavy things. Now that the days of lockdowns are behind us, I have been taking every chance I get to see my favourite musicians live and attend local events. That being said, I am a big introvert at heart and there’s truly nothing better than a night in snuggling up next to my dog or playing video games.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’ve been doing Product Management for approximately 3 years now and I find what I do to be so rewarding. If I had to sum up what I do as a Product Manager in one sentence, it would be: Understanding, prioritising and solving problems to make our customers’ lives easier. I enjoy making a positive impact and Product Management gives me the perfect outlet to do so. I enjoy the opportunities to have conversations with teachers, students and parents to get their feedback on their experiences using EP, and then working with awesome Designers and Engineers to collaborate on solutions together.

What are you most excited about? (personal and/or work life)

Recently in the Product & Engineering space at EP, there has been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes to enable us to make more frequent exciting updates to the platform. It has been a huge effort from many different teams so I can’t wait for this next era of EP where we can really start making incremental updates more often! In my personal life, I’m most excited to see my mum. She is currently living in Europe and we haven’t seen each other since I moved to Sydney in 2020. We have always been close, so the distance and time zone differences have been challenging to say the least. Next month she will be moving over here and I can’t wait to reconnect with her again.

Tell us about your pet(s)!

I have a 2-year-old long-haired miniature dachshund named Bailey. She is the sweetest little thing and has mastered the art of puppy-dog eyes to manipulate everyone at the dog park to give her treats. I got her just before Christmas eve in 2020 during the lockdown. Getting back to ‘normal’ after having a lockdown dog and living alone is not easy (or cheap!). The first time I left her at home alone for a few hours, she ate the wall in my apartment, and then this year she chewed the cable to my expensive standing desk, causing a power outage. That being said, she has quite honestly been one of the best things to happen to me. She has such a funny quirky personality and makes me laugh every day. For example, when she isn’t getting enough attention she will get herself ‘stuck’ under the couch on purpose and have to be ‘rescued’ and she loves sneaking into the part of the terrace where she knows she’s not supposed to be and makes a game out of me chasing her to try and catch her.

What advice would you pass on to a younger version of yourself?

Spend less time worrying, especially over trivial things! We have limited time on this earth so it’s best to let go of things we have no control over. This is definitely easier said than done, especially when dealing with anxiety. When I look back on my younger self, I was so much more stressed out than I needed to be. I wish I could give past-me a hug and some reassurance that everything works out for the best, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time.

Any last words you would like to share?

Take some time out every now and then to reflect and give yourself credit for your achievements and how far you have come! It’s so easy to get stuck in the day-to-day grind and then before you know it another year is over. I find taking a moment to pause and reflect has been so helpful both in a work setting and in my personal life.

We don’t give ourselves enough credit for the effort we put in, especially when it comes to working towards goals and building habits. These often happen so incrementally that it’s hard to see a difference unless you actively make an effort to reflect. There is a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear, which has skyrocketed in popularity (for good reason!) and I’d recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already read it.