Global M had the pleasure of talking with Ashley Duqué Kienzle about life as a Chief Product Officer for Changing Health, Barcelona.
Changing Health is focused on enabling people to live happier and healthier lives no matter who or where they are. We do this by delivering adaptable personalized health journeys that support the whole person and are condition agnostic.
Ashley has previously held roles at the likes of Amazon and Facebook, where she worked on artificial intelligence (AI) products and led a team to tackle significant problem areas. Ashley was appointed Chief Product Officer at Changing Health in 2020 working as part of a skilled and talented exec team to drive health outcomes.
From her home in Barcelona, Ashley speaks with Global M about a day-in-the-life of a Chief Product Office 🙌🏽
1. Ashley, hey! First off can you tell us a bit about your job & what your company does?
As Chief Product Officer for Changing Health, I work as part of a skilled and talented team to drive better health outcomes. We are helping individuals struggling with different health conditions, change their behaviour to potentially eradicate these conditions and live healthier lives.
Under my remit, I have a variety of different areas such as Tech, UI/UX, Data, Clinical, and Product. We help people with lifestyle behaviour change and it’s really important we are rooted in science so we have clinicians on the team to support this.
I also have on my team User Support looking at the end-user and answering any questions they might have. We also have coaches as part of some of the behavioral change journies and where audiences might require different interventions in order to be effective, the appropriate coach is available. UX Research and UX Design are amongst the wonderful team ensuring we are always user-focused.
By having a wide swath of Talent with different capabilities, knowledge, and skills, we are able to share ideas and have constructive discussions which enables us to continue building a user-centric product and promote positive behavioral change.Ashley Duqué Kienzle
2. What brought you to the role of Chief Product Officer and what’s your background?
I have a circuitous background, I actually started out by studying behavioural biology and completed a masters focussing on behaviour change.
After study and a few short stints in communications jobs, I later got into Product. Product Management was a great fit for my background, both from understanding how people make decisions, to how this impacts their choices and how they engage with various technologies. I was really blessed to have worked for Accenture first then Capital One, which was an amazing training ground for me. I was able to develop and learn from strong industry leaders, which enabled me to move on to Amazon.
At Amazon and Facebook, I worked on artificial intelligence products and led a team to tackle significant problem areas. Amazon was a great opportunity for me to follow my passion in data and again at Facebook where I also focused on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Going International was one of my personal goals, and having the opportunity to work in the Community Integrity space at Facebook in London was great and opened the doors to my international life.
Later I moved to Babylon, where I led the development of artificial intelligence products to provide remote healthcare and aligned the team of over 40 people around a user and business-driven vision to transform healthcare data and machine learning.
I was exposed to the healthcare system from as early as 6 years of age because of my dad’s diagnosis with ALS and have always been very passionate about Maths and Science and how we could revolutionize the healthcare system. It is one of those industries stuck in the old way, now and certainly in the last couple of years the pace of change has increased.
It’s not just about the product being right but actually, how can we work collaboratively to understand how we provide the most suitable and best product for the end-user.Ashley Duqué Kienzle
Now I am working at Changing Health, where we are focused on behaviour change that if correctly addressed will enable people to prevent, reverse or survive some of the world’s most burdensome chronic diseases.
We do this by delivering lifestyle changes that last a lifetime through condition agnostic, personalised digital health journeys that are based on science and data.
3. So what time does your day start, and what does your typical workday schedule look like?
I am naturally very energetic, rarely sitting down individual ⏰ usually waking about 6 am and greeted soon after by my beautiful adopted dogos 🐕 🐕
Every morning I make sure I schedule some quiet time, prayer time, journaling, and a bit of meditation. Then of course I take the dogs out for a morning walk (and a must-needed coffee!). After that, it is some form of exercise.
I usually try to book out the first hour of my day, if I can, for writing, reading, and catching up. If I am writing, I do have to do this first thing in the morning or late in the day. I find I am best at editing late so I really try to set this time aside.
Depending on the day, there may be lots of meetings, presentations, and weekly meets. This could be from strategy meetings, seeing where we are, outcomes, etc.
I try to allow myself an hour at the end of the day to wrap things up and really get up to speed with what is happening the next day.
4. What kind of projects are you working on?
Multiple projects underway and we are raising Series A, so this is a project in itself at the moment. I might be doing VC calls, answering questions, and making sure we are ready for this exciting step.
We have recently hired an amazing CTO in March, who is working with me on ensuring we have the right technology strategy, the right data infrastructure which will enable real-time machine learning (ML).
We are also working on the data itself and of course looking to grow the wonderful team, hiring for Full Stack developers and Clinicians later this summer.
We are also working on a National Diabetes program to help people who have type 2 diabetes manage this and hopefully actually come out from having diabetes altogether 🙏🏽
5. What do you consider the greatest achievements to date?
Early in my career, in my Capital One days, I really got to help people grow during a technology transition and that was really important to me.
For me what is super important is seeing people learn and grow and then seeing products out there that help end users.Ashley Duqué Kienzle
My biggest accomplishment is the combination of both this and when I went to Babylon, I was able to turn around a team, get them behind a vision, getting them focused within 4 months—which was amazing.
And now here at Changing Health, being able to really solidify the Product strategy, getting everyone coalesced around driving outcomes through a personalized journey, and helping people develop through that, is something I truly love.
6. Who is your professional role model?
I have two role models (in no order) when I think about who has really contributed to Product and Design and being user-centered, this would be Teresa Torez at the top of my list. She coined the term continuous discovery and outlined how diverse teams can work collaboratively with end-users to drive positive outcomes.
My Mom (mum in the UK), is incredible and started out as a Social worker, later moving into Human Resources where she went from Minnesota to Texas with the mission to hire more minorities and women. As you can imagine she was faced with a lot of tension and push back and worked extremely hard with great passion to change the mindset and culture of people. She was so passionate about doing what was right and her commitment and passion to change the culture for the better and allow women to be heard and have a voice has truly inspired me and set me up for how I am now.
7. What are the best things about working for Changing Health?
The passion. Everyone at the company is really passionate about driving user outcomes and helping people live healthier, happier lives. It is what gets us excited, pushes us to do our best—we have constructive discussions, and just really focus on helping people live better and healthier lives.Ashley Duqué Kienzle
I am incredibly blessed that all my peers at Changing Health treat me as an equal and value my input. Changing Health as an organisation really wants to do good and stand up for positive change which mirrors my values.
8. What piece of advice would you give to a Chief Product Officer starting out?
The important thing here is, it is not about being right or about you having all the ideas, it is about getting a diverse team around you and encouraging them to elevate their voice to work together to find the right solution. This will be through trial and error at times.
You have to be humble to be a good Product leader, YES be confident but it is a combination of qualities that the best leaders and companies have. A recommended read from me would be – Adam Grant which discusses Confident Humility
A huge thank you to Ashley for giving us a sneak peak into the day-in-the-life of a Chief Product Officer.