Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?
In the 80‘s I studied education for handicapped people and taught history. Prior to that, I visited Gallaudet University in the US. It is the first university established for deaf students and I was deeply impressed with how developed and helpful IT applications were. A sticker on a PC said `The software is the instrument’, it piqued my interest and ultimately changed my career path. In 1989 I started working as a trainer at a local software company and got in contact with Lyndon Holmes, Aries‘ founder, one year later. Promoting Aries products on CD and DVD in the 1990’s was my starting point with the company. Then a German branch was established and HR responsibilities had been added to my job profile. When using the Internet became popular in the early 2000’s, Aries developed Editorial Manager and I became General Manager running the office in Germany. I’ve been with Aries for nearly 32 years now!
How have your previous roles helped you in your current position?
I currently serve as a Client Development Manager on the Aries Sales team, making my roles at Aries come full circle. I’m back where I started, but with thirty years of experience facing an exciting, ever-changing ecosystem within the publishing industry. Open Access (OA), artificial intelligence (AI), and other new players are affecting scholarly publishing and my life-long tenure in the industry prepared me to adapt and remain constantly curious.
How do you stay up-to-date with customer needs?
By using three basic senses: listen, look, and feel what’s going on. The Aries Sales team uses multiple channels to keep a pulse on industry trends and customer needs. These include internal and external meetings, client calls, prospect product demos, Aries user group meetings, community conferences, and more. It is important not to assume that I would already know the answer to a customer’s needs and wants without input from others. My tactics are simple, but effective – ask customers directly where the shoe pinches. Properly understanding their paint points allows us to better serve them.
Tell me about your department and the people you work most closely with.
Beyond myself in Germany, the Aries Sales team, led by Director of Sales, Jake Kelleher, consists of a strong set of Client Development Managers based in the UK and the US. Despite the time differences, everyone is always there to help and we meet regularly. I also connect with members of the Aries Marketing team often.
How do you collaborate with other departments at Aries?
The Aries Client Services team is my next knowledge base, but the whole company plays a role! I can ask my colleagues operational, technical, and strategic questions and someone is always willing to assist. Everybody at Aries is valued and it feels good to be part of this company for so long. Over the years, Aries’ mission and values remain constant. We aim to serve publishers with fair partnerships and innovative solutions.
Describe your typical workday.
Every day is a bit different. To some extent our routines offer a useful framework, but allow me to be flexible. Daily tasks include writing reports, archiving correspondence, exchanging information with my team, replying to prospects, discussing workflow solutions with customers and evaluating what works best. Moreover, I connect with Elsevier to take advantage of some of the resources they offer, such as various support tools for mental health to boost resilience and aid with stress, which has been especially helpful during the ongoing pandemic.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Our clients! They are always so pleasant to work with. Diversity is beautiful, and I enjoy experiencing where we differ and what we as human beings have in common. Together, we concentrate on finding solutions to common problems and it feels very self-rewarding to assist them. Connecting with diverse groups of publishers across the globe and exploring new ideas make my job gratifying.
What are you currently reading, listening to, or watching?
I am an avid reader! Sometimes I read a handful books in parallel and listen to some podcasts. Wuhan Diary and Maybe Esther have impressed me, and last week I finished Königin außer Dienst by Dutch Martine Bijl. Biopics, crime stories, and documentaries are my choices to watch on screen. Overall anything serious and zany works for me.
Tell me about some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I’m an art lover, especially paintings and sculptures. I visit exhibitions and galleries and enjoy meeting painters in their studios. Sometimes I buy a piece and now I’m running out of space to hang them! Meeting with friends is my other elixir. I enjoy walking through the city of Cologne, always seeing something which I did not notice before. I like dancing, taking pictures, writing, being creative and relaxing. For my karma, I support charity initiatives and try to learn something new each day, and for my health I sleep longer and have the courage to leave gaps.