Carmen Palmer, a distinguished product leader at Women in Product, recently shared her profound insights gleaned from the CPO Summit San Francisco. 

With a rich background spanning Media and Entertainment, Online Advertising (Search and Display), Data, Payments, Enterprise Systems, SaaS, and Sales Workflow, Carmen stands as a testament to versatile leadership in the tech industry. Her hands-on approach and extensive experience have positioned her as a stalwart in driving product and business initiatives forward.

In this case study, Carmen reflects on the CPO Summit, exploring her strategies, challenges, and triumphs as she navigates the dynamic realm of product management. Join her as she uncovers the invaluable insights she brings to the table, illuminating pathways for innovation and growth in the ever-evolving tech ecosystem.

Attending the Chief Product Officer Summit San Francisco

Product Led Alliance reached out to me to participate, and I thought it was a great opportunity to connect with other Chief Product Officers and understand their challenges, their approaches and tools, what is top of mind for other CPOs, and stay on top of new trends. 

As a former CPO of Marketcast and now entering my new role as CPO of Women In Product, understanding the challenges that other CPOs are facing gives me additional perspectives that I can implement in my role and also provide context to help me better serve the Women In Product community.

Interactions and insights

I liked the roundtable interactions and the opportunity to network. The content was also very relevant. I found Joe Preston's "Jobs to be Undone" session insightful in thinking about the possibilities and unexpected benefits that come with leveraging GenAI. I really wanted to learn more about Cognitive JTBD and how to apply it.

P.J. Linarducci’s talk, CPO of Thumbtack, delivered a fantastic talk on strategic planning. His approach was simple and straightforward. Having gone through the strategic planning process at different companies and adapting based on the needs of the organization and team structure, his approach gave me a different lens on how I might approach annual planning for my org.

How AI can be a game changer for businesses today by Vikram Khandpur from Vonage was fascinating. He provided really great real-life examples of leveraging AI within your organization.

Key takeaways

The discussion on CPO challenges and what is top of mind was spot on for what I was looking for. Discussions around transforming organizations and how you best approach evolving your teams and managing across your stakeholders.

I also made important connections with thought leaders and also with folks who were very interested in Women In Product's mission. The enthusiasm and collaboration among the leaders was greater than I expected. Everyone was very engaged and ready to share stories.

James Colgan, as facilitator of the sessions, was excellent. The use of was also very good. The overall atmosphere of the summit was inviting, relaxed, and energized.


I would recommend this summit for CPOs who want to connect with and learn specifically what other leaders are doing and how they are handling the challenges we all face. Every organization is different, and we have to be adaptable and anticipate what's coming to be effective in our roles. The different perspectives of leaders of different sizes and industries provide that.

I would have loved to see more women leaders in attendance and speaking. There were women present, but representation, I'd say, is low, i.e being the only woman at a round table or maybe with 1-2 others.

I appreciated that PLA gave me a complimentary ticket. Leading a non-profit, I may not have been able to attend without the support. I think that bringing diverse voices into the room is really important for the discussion. I’d consider finding ways to target diverse CPOs to drive inclusivity.

I’ve actually leveraged some of the strategic planning ideas as part of my own strategic planning and operational execution.


I had a few women approach me on what Women In Product does and how they could get involved – so many valuable connections! I also had some great discussions with James Colgan on how my org would be helpful for women and organizations, especially in Europe, where our field and practice are increasingly important.

This was a good sized group of accomplished product leaders to provide a breadth of experience and still have the ability to have meaningful discussions and network opportunities.


The summit helped me realize that I had some validation in my tools, methodology, and that my thinking is open and considerate of trends in our industry. This also gave me good pointers on where I need to explore more and learn.

The CPO event was worthwhile for me to continue to develop as a leader and learn from other leaders in the industry.