Bill Thornton
Skill Score
Seasoned Professional (4/6)
Ad Tech
Experienced Product Management leader with broad experience building and scaling enterprise solutions

I’m a product management and strategy leader with over 22 years of building and scaling large, customer-focused, results-oriented B2C and B2B digital experiences for Fortune 500 companies. I love working at the intersection of strategy, user experience, data analysis, and business goals. A colleague once described me as the “Swiss Army knife of getting things done” because of my ability to work and influence across Product, UX, Design, and Development and represent our efforts to C-level stakeholders.

As a leader, I’ve built high-performing, cross-functional teams and streamlined processes to bring products to market faster. Mentoring and coaching are at the core of my approach, and the successes and growth of my team members are among my most rewarding career moments.

Evaluated for VP of Product and Generalist PM role archetype
Performance by Category
Top Skills
Metrics definition Listening Negotiation Writing and presentation Product vision Business model design Market analysis Product roadmap Build vs buy vs partner Feature prioritization Data retrieval Product requirements User journey and personas User research Wireframes and mocks User feedback review Stakeholder alignment Agile methodologies Performance tracking Growth experiments Market positioning Distribution planning Relationship building
Skill Progression

President, Owner

Provided Internet Consulting, Web Development to Stephen King (, Nicholas Sparks (, Eastern Maine Healthcare, Maine Manufacturing & Education Partnership,

Production Director

Oversaw the flow of projects through the Web Design & Development team, from sale to delivery.

Teacher, Writer in Residence

In addition to my teaching duties for this private high school in Syktyvkar Russia, I was responsible for creating new texts for them to study with. Created and published a Country Study book that is still in use today.

Publisher Representative

Represented the College Textbook publisher, John Wiley and Sons, in sales territories in central Pennsylvania and Cleveland

Director of Product

Recruited into the advertising agency as a change agent for their digital transformation and to drive new business opportunities by delivering value-engineered solutions for their clients.

• Unified creative disciplines under a standardized, user-centered Agile approach, improving profitability and increasing client and internal satisfaction
• Responsible for hiring and managing a team of 8 product managers and project managers
Productized the company’s core tech stack, variations on React.js/Next.js with a headless CMS
• Moved the digital team onto JIRA to work more efficiently in Agile / Scrum
• Overhauled scoping, estimation, forecasting practices for the digital team, reducing project overages
• Stood up a proper product man agement practice, transitioning from a reactive agency customer model while implementing streamlined process/artifacts including product roadmaps and leading the charge to create embedded partnerships with internal teams
• Created Product Strategy and Vision for the redesign of New York city’s Rockefeller Center site, using UX, A/B testing to create a goal-driven, content-centric site that supports the owner’s high-revenue tourist stops (Rockefeller Center, The Rainbow Room, Top of the Rock) as well as their commercial needs. Site relaunch grew organic search traffic 33% YoY and allowed them to reallocate 13% of their paid search budget
• Worked across several industries—eCommerce, pharma, real estate, finance, food and beverage—to develop goal-driven digital products ranging from landing pages (Organic Valley) to content- and goal-driven sites (
• Collaborated with client leadership to establish product vision and product strategy, including go-to-market strategy, and then translated those into actionable requirements and roadmaps with UX/Design/Content/Video/SEO/Development teams
• Led requirements-gathering and prioritization workshops, identified quantitative/qualitative research needs

Founder, Principal

Founded a Product Management and Operations consultancy that supports businesses and organizations by helping leaders identify, research, evaluate, and implement the best solutions for their needs.

• Currently advising the digital team at a market-leading industry publishing company to improve their Scrum workflow and processes and help improve quality and velocity for their portfolio of digital products
• Helped the Molly of Denali (PBS children’s show) educational team increase the reach of their materials by 300% compared to peer programs, expanding usage by underserved rural students (approx 9.3 million students). Trained six teams to use a human-centered design process for researching, ideating, and implementing learning materials

Freelance Writer

Freelance writer for running and fitness stories focusing on trending stories. Actively work with publications to cater work to fit engagement analytics for social, desktop, mobile consumption patterns.

Director of Product Management

Created an eight-person product management team that worked with the USA TODAY Network’s 109 newsrooms using our publishing platform. The team employed digital strategy, analytics, research, and UX best practices.

• Increased reader engagement by 1-2% by creating a data analysis tool that combined site analytics with story metadata to identify outlier newsrooms that outperformed others in the network
• Improved CMS workflow, reducing the time to create and publish stories by 2 minutes per story (a 25% reduction)
• Prioritized feature requests from across the network
• Collaborated with Agile teams of UX/Product/Development/Analytics
• Created and rolled out training programs for new features
• Led community engagement with CMS users

Director of User Experience and Design

Led a team of fifteen designers and UX designers that applied user-centered design to the challenge of making the best local news experience for the USA TODAY Network, 160 news sites with as the flagship.

• Led the Product Management for the redesign of USA TODAY and migration of all the network sites (120 at the time) onto a centralized platform and headless CMS. The redesign improved reader experience and saw remarkable gains (79% growth in mobile unique viewers, 69% increase in digital revenue) while also winning Webby and Adobe Innovation awards
• Led requirements gathering and facilitated the migration of Gannett’s 129 newspaper and 30 tv sites, onto the redesigned platform, including moving all 159 newsrooms onto a unified CMS
• Managed vendor selection process and relationship for the design agency (Fantasy Interactive)

Director Of Design And Development

Led Gannett Digital’s Product Lab, responsible for design and development of Gannett’s local newspaper sites, as well as and DealChicken niche products.

• Oversaw product development for Gannett’s portfolio of sites: Gannett’s 129 local newspaper sites and the,, FindItNow products
• Staffed and led a cross-disciplinary team (UX/Design/Dev) that launched
• Hired and managed a team of 10 direct reports
• Moved the organization from SDLC to Agile, hiring and managing cross-disciplinary teams of Product, Project, IA/UX, Design, Dev, QA

Manager/New Product Development

Led product development efforts for Gannett Digital’s flagship product, MomsLikeMe. com, adding enhancements to grow and improve the social network and giving it the tools for communities to flourish

Head of Product Development

Responsible for Product Development for a small, group-centric social networking product. Brought the product to Alpha, working with local product management and design teams and selecting and coordinating offshore development teams in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the Ukraine.

Principal Product Manager

Responsible for Product Management of the elements of the Search platform at AOL, including taxonomy and tagging tools and systems, publishing. Managed two remote Product Managers working in AOL’s NYC office.

Chief Mash Officer

Lead a team of innovators creating, strategizing, and evangelizing mashups for AOL Search

Senior Manager

Managed the Snapshot/Starship layer that added rich results (deep links) for Search results pages. Implemented a related ad links system to better monetize the search results pages.

Degree Programs

English Literature


Licenses and Certifications