- Brima Bangura was a member of our first WINTER 2021RingTern Class at RingCentral.
- Brima founded two(!) startups and got Product Management offers in Tech before graduating university: Revalite and Zimble.
We love our RingTerns. Their energy, intelligence and ideas inspire us, and their contributions make us a better company every day. What we really love is seeing them launch their careers. Former RingTern/current Product Manager Brima Bangura has already founded multiple companies, has a patent pending technology, and was named one of the Queen’s Young Leaders of 2018 for bringing bicycle-powered affordable energy solutions to his slum community in his home country of Sierra Leone.
Innovation and ingenuity like that must be leading to big things in his full-time role at RingCentral, right? We checked in to find out.
RINGCENTRAL (RC) : “How old are you now? Can you even buy a beer yet?”
BRIMA BANGURA (BB): “Hahaha I’m 14. Just turned 14 yesterday.”
BB: “Kidding. I’m old enough to buy a beer I think hahaha”
RC: “You got us.”
BB: “You make it so easy.”
RC: “OK, we walked into that one. All kidding aside, tell us about your new role.”
BB: “I work in the Product Team at RingCentral, and it’s been a great experience so far. We drive user Adoption, Engagement and Retention. At the core, our users are our priority so we spend a lot of time understanding their needs and pain points. How do we keep our customers coming back? We focus on their needs. Their needs are our utmost priority. This customer-centric approach facilitates the products and features we build, and how we improve them to help our customer become the better version of themselves. This differentiates RingCentral and its competitors and that is why we keep winning. So, it’s been really fun so far, and I’m learning a lot.”
RC: “Between Adoption, Engagement and Retention, which part is your favorite?”
BB: “That’s a great question. I enjoy all three of them. I am all about the user and these three areas focus on understanding our users and their behaviours. To answer your question, my favorite would be “Adoption” I suppose. User Adoption is the key for better Engagement and Retention. One important area of user Adoption is customer onboarding. I spend a lot of time understanding the SMB onboarding process for new users, documenting areas of improvement and working with the right teams to facilitate and drive Engagement. Our focus is to deliver value to new customers as early as possible and we optimize that smooth transition for them to start using our products and services.”
RC: “Has any of the user feedback been particularly surprising to you?”
BB: “Certain customers get fixated on one feature of the product, and those customers tend to say, “I don’t need all that other stuff.” So while we wouldn’t fundamentally change the product based on feedback like that, we might tweak this or that so, if a customer mainly depends on us for phone, or for video, they can access it quickly and easily.”
RC: “Now it’s your turn to give some feedback: you probably had your choice of tech jobs to choose from—why did you choose RingCentral?”
BB: “Well for starters, the experience I had during my RingTernship was just so great. (University Recruiting Program Coordinators) Jenn (Fisher) and Paola (Ausejo) were really attentive, answering our questions and directing us to whatever resource we needed. My manager was very nice, he helped me a lot in terms of understanding what I needed to be doing. I’ve had a lot of experience in product, but this was my first time working at a company as big as RingCentral, so my manager really helped me out and was also a great listener. The culture at RingCentral is amazing. Whether it’s cooking classes, financial advisor classes, or one-on-one interaction with employees, everyone worked really hard to make sure it was a good experience, and that we were having fun. The work/life balance is a big plus, too. It’s also a great learning environment—employees are willing to answer questions, I can literally message the CEO or one of the executives and schedule a one on one with them via RingCentral Video. That’s how COOL this place is….Such a great place to work. Lastly, it’s the vision behind why we do what we do – Building communication technologies that allows people around the world to work in a collaborative environment is more important than ever before these days, so I really enjoy being a part of that.”
The Vision Thing
RC: “Tell us how it’s going with your startups?”
BB: “Revalite is currently working on a portable lighting device for families and individuals living in less developed communities that depends on candles and kerosene lamps as their primary source of lighting. My team and I are currently working on that, and RingCentral technology is super-helpful for our video meetings.”
RC: “We were reading some background on Revalite and we noticed you using the term “ V2MOM.” That’s probably not a “Valentine 2 Mom,” right? Explain that a little?”
BB: “Right. Hahaha “V2MOM” stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measures. I think the practice started at Salesforce, and I find it’s a good goal setting framework that I use to clearly define, communicate and achieve our objectives. When it comes to the companies I founded, Revalite brings clean lighting technology to power and brings light to homes in underdeveloped communities. For this to be successful, one of the areas we are looking is to make sure the product we are building is efficient, reliable and affordable. Once you have those values in mind, you have the beginnings of a solid blueprint for any products you might want to develop. I think a lot about Tom’s – the shoes, where every time a shopper buys a pair, another pair goes to someone in developing countries. That’s great – but what happens when the shoes wear out? With our solution, we are intentional about why we are building this product. For people living on less than $2 a day, I don’t want to see them going back to square one, particularly in the case of Revalite, because going from clean electric light back to firelight is not only a product failure, it’s dangerous. So really nailing down our values was key.“
RC: “We’re just about out of time, but before we let you go, we have to check on something. Last time we spoke, you forgot to mention you’d been named one of Queen Elizabeth II’s Young Leaders in 2018 (Youngest Sierra Leonean to receive an award from the Queen). We Googled “Brima Bangura” and there you are meeting the Queen. Is there anything else we should know this time? Any other royalty? Don’t leave us hanging, dude.”
BB: (laughs) “No, I don’t think so.”
RC: “There’s another Brima Bangura who’s the goalie for the Sierra Leonean national football team. You’re sure that’s not you, too?”
BB: (laughs) “No, not me but I play soccer though haha”
RC: “Yeah it says here he’s 40 years old, and you’re only 14.”
BB: (laughs) “I’m in my early 20’s, but no, I’m not a goalie for the national team yet.”
BB: (laughs) “There’s still time, yes.”
Originally published Sep 01, 2021, updated Sep 23, 2021