Meet the Aries Team: Ann McLaughlin, Client Services Account Manager
Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?
I have been with Aries for almost 13 years now! I joined the Customer Service department back when there were only three of us on the team. Prior to joining Aries, I worked for two major accounting software companies in technical sales. I came to Aries with the unusual combination of an English degree and a software background.
What have your roles at Aries been?
In 2007, I joined Aries as an Account Coordinator (AC). Over time I continued to grow and eventually moved up to the U.S. Client Services Manager position. Two years ago, I transitioned into an Account Manager position which allows me the opportunity to work with a large publisher.
How have your previous roles helped you in your current position?
Being on the Client Services (CS) management team provided me with a lot of insight into the various publishers that we work with and greater visibility into and understanding of the scholarly publishing industry overall. Additionally, since I’ve been with Aries for so long, I’ve served as the Account Coordinator for the majority of our EM/PM customers throughout my tenure. This has allowed me to experience a wide range of workflows and initiatives within scholarly publishing.
How do you stay up-to-date with customer needs and industry trends?
Scientific discovery will never stop and is ever-changing, there are always new things to learn as the industry evolves. Our customers and their various initiatives keep me informed on what’s going on in the publishing world. The Client Services team is very engaged with our EM/PM user community, whether it is through our annual user group meetings, industry conferences, or everyday support queries, which helps us stay updated on their unique workflow needs.
How do you collaborate with other departments within Aries?
The Aries Client Services team interacts with every single department at Aries. The nature of the CS team makes it necessary to have good working relationships with everyone from the Database Administrators (DBAs) to the Product Management team. I work closely with the DBAs on data script management and with Product Management on feature creation and the rollout of those features. They probably hear from me much more than they would like to!
Tell me about your department and the people you work most closely with.
Lead by the Director of Client Services, the Aries CS team is comprised of a strong group of Account Specialists, Account Coordinators, and Account Managers around the world dedicated to high-quality service for our customer base. Each AC is assigned to manage a specific publisher or set of publishers. I work with a team of Account Coordinators in the US and the UK that provide support, training, and migration services for Elsevier, a major publisher. Our team works most closely with the Database Administrators and the Project Management team, but really, we work with every department at Aries.
Describe your typical workday.
Email is the main form of communication, especially these days! We handle queries, answer questions, do testing and research, and are involved in the specification development process. I’m also a part of various publisher project teams and spend many mornings in meetings with colleagues from some of our major locations.
Last year, I was part of a world-wide training initiative that had me traveling to various countries. I was very fortunate to be able to experience different cultures and interact with colleagues from around the globe. If you asked me this question nine months ago, I’d say that many of my workdays were spent on airplanes and in airports. Now, I am back to supporting customers from the Aries office or my home office.
What do you most enjoy about your job? What do you enjoy most about working for Aries?
Aries is really like an extended family to me. Having been here for over a decade, I can say that many of my colleagues are also great friends. The camaraderie is what gets us through the tough times. We work hard and play hard! I find the work really interesting as well. I feel like what we do at Aries is important – directly supporting publishers with their daily operations and workflows to indirectly facilitate knowledge and discovery gives me a sense of being a part of something much bigger than myself.
What are you currently reading, listening to, or watching?
I just finished the Game of Thrones series and as a natural progression I moved on to Vikings. I’m also a big Ozark fan. Many of us in the CS department are also fans and we have “Ozark Book Club” discussions when the show is on. As for reading, I’m in a bit of a nature phase, and am reading Scott Stillman’s Nature’s Silent Message and Edward Abby’s Desert Solitaire. Both offer unique and differing perspectives on wilderness conservation and the concept of public land and national parks.
Tell me about some of your hobbies/interests outside of work.
I am an avid outdoors person and spend most weekends hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, and motorcycle riding. I’m very big into landscape and wildlife photography and that dovetails nicely with my outdoor pursuits. I also recently took up woodworking, which I enjoy very much. It’s one of my more relaxing hobbies and I’ve always got a project or two in the works. When I’m not trekking around in the woods, I’m spending time with my grandchildren. They’re getting to the age where they can do lots of activities with me. My oldest grandson and I recently got into downhill mountain biking; they love the outdoors just as much as I do, and they make for great photography subjects!