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Connector Spotlight: Mackenzie Dysart



September 23, 2022

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

illustration of random shapes and patterns in Thoughtworks brand colors.

When Mackenzie Dysart, Senior Product Manager isn’t helping her team deliver products to our partners, she’s cooking it up in the kitchen. From Butternut Squash to Palak Paneer, Mackenzie is always trying to perfect every recipe out there!

Describing herself as an advocate, Disney-lover, and punny, we can verify that she’s always cracking the best dad jokes and is constantly teaching other Connectors about accessibility and other important topics through the Learning Lounge she started earlier this year!

As a foodie who not only loves to eat, but also cook, can you guess what her favourite product is and what she would like to be gifted this holiday season?

Tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on?

I am currently working on a project with the codename Jupiter. We have partnered with a large fitness manufacturer and are helping them enhance their member experience through further feature development of certain applications utilized in the equipment, in the studios, in their backend systems, and more. 

Outside of direct project work, I am also involved with a few internal initiatives here at Connected. In February, I started a learning lounge community with the goal of creating a space that allows Connectors to discuss and learn from different types of content including books, movies, and podcasts. Through the learning lounge, we also partnering with the different Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) we have at Connected to recognize special dates. We celebrated Asian Heritage Month this year by hosting a screening of Turning Red and Women’s History Month by discussing the podcast episode Wisdom from the Top: PepsiCo Indra Nooyi. This month the focus is on sharing some of our favourite content as part of “Sharetember”.

I am also one of the leaders of the Connected Women’s Network (CWN) where I helporganize fun activities such as virtual dance classes, and facilitate important and eye-opening conversations during our monthly meetings. As an ally and advocate for accessibility, I am regularly sharing content in our #ally Slack channel as a way to further educate Connectors and get the conversation going. 

As if that’s not enough, at Connected, we have houses, and I am a house co-captain for Liberty. I am actively welcoming new members and driving engagement within the house for company wide activities like Steptember (a challenge where each house tries to accumulate the most steps for the month to win some awesome prizes).

What’s the most interesting challenge about the project?

The most interesting challenge I faced with Jupiter was having to take ownership of several processes including leading syncs and building bridges to enable collaboration across departments to ensure that we achieved our goal. I was responsible for aligning competing priorities and different perspectives across numerous stakeholders at the company we partnered with and it wasn’t an easy feat to achieve!

Where did you work before Connected?

Prior to Connected, I was at Reason One as a PMO Lead where I lead a number of projects for a variety of clients such as Stericycle, Diabetes Canada, Economical Insurance, ALS Canada, and Security Compass. Before that, I was a Digital Project Manager at Scotiabank where I managed all the public facing websites. I also obtained experience of leading application and website development at Mosaic Sales Solutions as a Project Coordinator. This might come as a surprise, but I actually began my career as a Technical Recruiter at Nexus Systems Group and  I was awful at it. Luckily enough, I was introduced to the world of product management which prompted me to go back to school and pursue that as a career path. 

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

This is a hard question…but I would say I am proud of being able to make the easy, yet difficult decision of transitioning my career path from recruiting to product management. From identifying that being a recruiter wasn’t fulfilling me to going back to school for product management, it was a journey with many twists and turns but I learned a lot in the process.  

Recent achievements that make me proud are being introduced to the head of software of a large fitness manufacturer as the product manager that has been “killing it.” Also, implementing social activities for team members on Project Jupiter and seeing the back-end team bonding makes my heart happy as I want to see people feeling supported. 

Do you have a mantra you live by?

Be awesome and punch the sun!

What do you love to do outside of work?

For me, food can turn a bad day into a good one, or make an already good day even better! Now it isn’t just eating tasty delicacies, but also spending time making them. I don’t have a favourite cuisine because I love to try everything but some of my favourite dishes include Montreal Smoked Meat, Cacio e Pepe with homemade pasta, Palak Paneer, Donair, Haggis, Butternut Squash, and Black Bean Burritos, any and all tacos… I could go on. I just love food. You’ll know what’s cooking up in my kitchen through my instagram account – Munch with Mack (do follow!). 

When I am not in my kitchen, you’ll find me playing an array of sports from golf, volleyball, to soccer! I also love the outdoors and am a frequent hiker that has completed hikes like the West Coast Trail along Vancouver Island,Trolltunga in Norway, Sleeping Giant in northern Ontario, and Gros Morne in Newfoundland. 

I have two rescued pets: a dog named Winnie (also has an Instagram account) that I love to take on walks in the trails near me, and a cat named Abby that loves snuggles and always tries to make an appearance during meetings.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

Album – this is honestly so hard.. I would probably pick my friend’s “Mom Country” playlist on Spotify. If I have to stick to an album… Elton John’s Greatest Hits or maybe Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue since I’ve listened to both way too much

Movie – Out Cold or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Book – The completed works of Sherlock Holmes

Describe yourself in three words. 

Punny, Advocate, and Disney-lover.

And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

My favourite product is the instant-read thermometer since it’s useful for numerous delicacies – like meat, bread, cake, candy, and more! Candy making terrifies me and it’s such a subtle science that having the instant read thermometer means perfectly cooked brittle and caramels for my friends at Christmas. I don’t currently own one, but it became my favourite product after seeing it on the Great British Bake Off and the Great Canadian Bake Off on Netflix, so I wouldn’t mind receiving one as an early Christmas present (is that a hint for my friends? maybe).

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