It's not just our photographers that are helping to capture the world through photography, there are thousands of people working hard behind the scenes across the world to bring these images to you.

In this 'Who We Are' series, we look at the many job roles at a photography agency frompicture editors, to sales and marketing to art directors.

In our next installment, we get familiar with Product Manager, Lauren Soto based in our Seattle office.

 

What skills do you need for your job?
Strategic thinking, the ability to break the complicated into something simple and the ability to herd cats with the best of them.

My job is the perfect balance of reactive and proactive – proactive in that we try to assess what's best for the customer and business at any given time while thinking through the 'what if's' and reactive in that we have to solve those 'what ifs' when they actually happen.. .and they always do. As a Product Manager, the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes is critical to the success of whatever project you're working on.

In addition to these hard skills, I also feel it's just as important to be a true partner, someone who can be trusted to help lead the team to the right decisions. Every project I work on is a collaborative feat of strength and the ability to instill trust in your teammates that you have their best intentions in mind is just as important as understanding KPIs, systems and technical constraints.

What are you passionate about outside of your work life?
I really, truly love snowboarding. I've been doing it for over sixteen years and was fortunate enough to start when it was still a scrappy sport. It's been exciting to watch it evolve over the years and to be able to grow and change along with it. In the last year or so I have taken-up split boarding. This is essentially where you have a snowboard that breaks into two (skis), you affix climbing skins to the bottom (for traction) and you climb your way UP the hill instead of riding the lift. It's been exhilarating and challenging and has really changed my perspective on the sport to the point where it's no longer all about how many runs on that perfect powder day but rather the thrill of getting there and just getting out. Not that I don't still love and appreciate that blue sky powder day, but there's just something to being out in nature and controlling your path and outcome that's just really fantastic.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Soto

What excites you about photography?
I think perspective is one of those things that we all struggle with – putting yourself in the shoes of someone else and trying to see the world the way they do. With photography, it's one of the few ways in which we can quite literally see someone else's perspective. It's always interesting to me how two people can see the same experience in such dramatically different ways and how the context changes with the way a situation is framed.

Best holiday you’ve ever been on?
Last year I had the opportunity to take a trip with a friend while over in Europe. We ended up staying in a bungalow on a world surf reserve beach in Ericiera, Portugal. The bungalow was pretty much across the street from the beach and our time was spent surfing, hanging out on the beach and reading in hammocks. I remember thinking to myself that I had to figure out a way to come back for a much longer period of time in the future.

How do you like to spend Sundays?
My favorite Sundays are spent up in the mountains. However, since that's only five months out of the year, the rest of the year I like to spend my Sundays exploring. Whether it is on a road trip with my husband and dogs or on an adventure around town, I like to have a day to get out and explore my surroundings.

Who has been one of the biggest influences in your life?
Definitely my Dad. He worked a lot when I was younger but always found time to tote me around with him. My Dad builds and fixes elevators for a living but never had any qualms about bringing his daughter to work with him. When he wasn't working, he was working on something around the house and he made sure that as I grew up I was comfortable doing hard work, working with tools and able to manage things on my own. He always encouraged to make the most of life and reaffirmed that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Above all, he pushed me to be self-sufficient and to have the abilities necessary to resolve issues as they appeared. Because of this, I developed the courage and confidence to take charge of my own life with the understanding that I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it… a skill I still apply personally and professionally today.

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