People-centric product development

November 16, 2016 //

cori-shearer_001Cori Shearer
BBA, ‘14
Product Manager of Growth, Shazam

Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
Learning and flexibility: “At Temple, you can learn at your own pace, learn while also working part- or full-time, or learn while pursuing passions outside of the classroom.”


During her sophomore year, Cori Shearer, BBA ’14, went on a service trip to Jamaica that inspired her approach to business and product development.

As part of the trip, hosted through the Howard Gittis Student Center, Shearer and her peers helped children in the local community develop an eco-friendly trash disposal system to combat the lack of disposal resources and irregular waste management maintenance. The experience reaffirmed her desire to devote her time and energy to serving fellow underrepresented populations and to take a people-centric approach to business.

“The trip taught me to challenge my unconscious biases and to always try to understand barriers faced by others in certain markets,” said Shearer, 24. “Some of us have unchecked privileges that blind us to problems in the world, which prohibit us from understanding people. If we can’t understand people, how can we hope to develop products that meet their needs?”

Shearer, Product Manager of Growth for the popular music discovery application Shazam, applies this experience when she helps the company think about user diversity and platform access in product decisions.

Her journey to Silicon Valley, like her enrollment at Temple University, was unexpected. Shearer, who originally intended to pursue a career in the performing arts, fell in love with technology after taking her first management information systems course during her sophomore year. Her knowledge and passion for the field quickly developed as she became more active in the department, and began to participate in and even place at hackathon competitions.

In her junior year, Shearer attended a conference in San Francisco where Tim Westergren, Pandora Radio founder, delivered the keynote address. Westergren’s insight and charisma inspired Shearer.

“I remember saying to myself afterwards, ‘I want to work for him one day,’” Shearer said.

A year later, Shearer made that happen; she graduated from the Fox School of Business, bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco, and landed a summer internship as a technical program management intern at Pandora. Afterward, she officially began her post-grad career as a product specialist at the discovery engine StumbleUpon. Now, a year later, Shearer celebrated her work anniversary at Shazam, which she joined in September 2015.

In addition to her full-time job, Shearer devotes free time to mentoring and volunteering with organizations such as CODE2040 and Girls in Tech, which are dedicated to the advancement and the inclusion of underrepresented groups in tech.

“As a person of color and a young woman, I understand the barriers others face not only to enter but also to advance in this industry,” Shearer said. “I appreciate the opportunities I now have to help others navigate it.”

Shearer said she doesn’t believe in luck in the traditional sense. She credits her success and career growth to her “say yes” mindset, which she developed at the Fox School.

“I’ve had the privilege of experiencing success early in my career because I put in the preparation, I’ve remained resilient, taken advantage of opportunities and not people, and have surrounded myself with mentors and allies,” she said.