Meet the Aries Team: Anna Walton, Senior 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 over six and a half years, having joined as an Account Coordinator back in January 2017. Before I came to Aries, I worked at a large publisher on both their Peer Review Support and Peer Review Systems support teams. So, I had the benefit of using Editorial Manager (EM), configuring sites and training Editors on EM, attending Aries’ European user group meeting (EEMUG), and knowing several of my new colleagues in advance of my position with Aries. 

What have your roles at Aries been?

Starting as an Account Coordinator on Aries’ global Client Services team in 2017, I initially supported a large customer account and several smaller ones. Over the next few years, I took on multiple larger customers and transitioned into the Account Manager role around two years later. A couple of years ago, I also took on management of the Client Services UK team and was promoted to Senior Account Manager earlier this year.

In my current role, I manage almost all UK based accounts and several throughout Europe other parts of the world – being on hand to ensure customers are happy and their needs are met. I am involved with their implementations, new initiatives and projects, and also support the Account Coordinators in their day-to-day customer support.

How have your previous roles helped you in your current position?

Before I became an Account Manager, I worked as an Account Coordinator for several years, which has been incredibly helpful with my current role of managing and supporting the UK Account Coordinators as I know the role and their accounts very well. It has been interesting to work with accounts I supported as an Account Coordinator in additional ways and to continue to build and develop my professional relationships with them.

Having come to Aries from a large publisher, I not only had EM (and other systems) experience, but also knowledge that helps me to anticipate, understand, and advocate for my clients’ needs, their workflows, and the questions that they will have. This has been incredibly helpful across all my roles at Aries and has also given me the experience of working directly with Editors, Reviewers, and Authors so I have a good understanding of how they use (and want to use) the system, which helps immensely when supporting clients. 

How do you stay informed with customer needs and industry trends?

I stay up to date in a variety of ways. Partly through attending conferences and webinars both in person (although less so latterly, sadly!) and remotely, participating at our user group meetings (EMUG), collaborating with clients, and following several publishing and ethics blogs which are always an interesting read.

Tell me about your department and the people you work most closely with.

I work most closely with the UK branch of the Client Services team, and our US and German counterparts. The Client Services team is fantastic – we all have different experiences and work incredibly well to support each other. You can always approach the team or a team mate to ask questions, collaborate, or touch base and being a remote worker does not make me feel any less part of the team. We have regular catch ups, both the Department as a whole and the UK branch and the department is very friendly and a really great place to work.

How do you collaborate with other departments within Aries?

I collaborate with all other departments, but especially our Database Administrators for script work and user, submission, or journal changes and also our Product Management team to discuss how a feature works or client development initiatives. We communicate in a variety of ways – be it over Slack, email or Zoom, and in-person on the rare occasions (which is awesome!).

In addition to this work, I am currently collaborating on a project with a couple of Product Managers and Engineers to look at the Author submission experience as there is a real focus in improving and standardizing this part of the process. I also enjoy taking part in the Aries Thrive employee resource group (ERG) and several of our social Slack channels dedicated to cooking, photography, and pets – it’s a nice break and way to connect with colleagues on a tea break!

Describe your typical workday.

One thing I love about the job is that no two days are the same! I usually start my morning in my Inbox going through emails from the day before, especially those from US colleagues that came in after my day has finished, and completing urgent and priority tasks. There may be one or two European based meetings in the morning, or, if not, I will move on to more in-depth queries related to an account or EM/PM functionality etc. I am also on-hand to assist with queries over Slack or Email, or to jump on a call with a team member to look at something.

My afternoons tend to be more meeting heavy once the US teams and clients come online. There will be client meetings (many of which are regular meeting slots) and internal calls throughout the afternoon, always keeping my eye on my inbox in case anything urgent comes in. Meetings don’t usually go beyond 5pm, so I take the last part of my day to complete anything outstanding, follow up on queries, and take some time looking at my calendar for the next day and planning ahead.

What do you most enjoy about your job? What do you enjoy most about working for Aries?

I really enjoy the collaboration in my role, be that with my team, clients, or other departments (and often for all together!) and working to provide workflow solutions. I also enjoy problem solving – digging into a query or issue raised by a client or colleague and providing an answer. What makes my job so special are the people I work with – both internally in Client Services and the wider Aries teams, and my clients.

What are you currently reading, listening to, or watching?

I am a mood reader, so what I read depends very much on what mood I am in! I love sci-fi and fantasy, mystery and thriller, detective and historical novels, and also really enjoy listening to audio books. At the moment, I am reading A Life in Secrets (about Vera Atkins and the SOE) by Sarah Helm and Mind Walker by Kate Dylan. I am also listening to Nefertiti by Michelle Moran.

Music-wise I like most things – rock, metal, classical, you name it. I sing also and often listen to musicals so I can keep in practice. Currently, in my car I have some Johnny Cash, Billy Joel, and Heart. For watching – I really enjoyed the Lie to Me series and just yesterday watched the film Now You See Me which was great! I like working things out, so something with a mystery to solve is right up my street!

Tell me about some of your hobbies/interests outside of work.

Outside of work, a lot of my time is spent with my ten-year-old daughter and family (including my 2 cats). We play board games, do arts and crafts, and explore places around and about. I also like reading, writing, and have recently found some mystery-solving case file clue games that can be played solo or with others together or solo. You can find them online and they are great fun!