Meet the Aries Team: Christine Donovan, Account Coordinator

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?

I have been an Account Coordinator with the Aries Client Services team for three and a half years, starting in September 2019. Before joining Aries, I worked at a large publishing and education company, where I coordinated the editorial and production workflows for higher education business textbooks. Before that, I also worked as a customer support representative at a nonprofit technology organization.

Describe your role at Aries?

As an Account Coordinator, I directly support customers using the Editorial Manager (EM) and ProduXion Manager (PM) systems, answering questions they might have and addressing any problems they encounter. We are also responsible for helping launch new journals and setting the journal staff up for success in our systems. Consequently, we have a high level of knowledge of EM/PM functionality and the configuration options available, allowing us to support a wide variety of customer workflows.

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

Having prior experience with editorial and production publishing workflows has helped me better understand, and sometimes even anticipate, customer needs. One of my responsibilities in my previous role was also assisting Authors, vendors, Reviewers, and other users get set up in (and feel comfortable with) the publishing systems we relied on. I had a great deal of experience learning new systems and documenting processes for other users with varying levels of technical knowledge and identifying and escalating technical issues that made it easier to hit the ground running when I joined Aries.

How do you stay up-to-date with customer needs?

My role as an Account Coordinator focuses on hearing about and responding to customer needs, which makes it easier to stay informed of common requests and industry trends. I often receive questions about potential new workflows, and it’s part of my job to explore and evaluate how our systems can best accommodate them.

When I first started at Aries, I dedicated a lot of time to reviewing our existing feature specifications closely, so that I could address customer needs effectively. With each monthly release, I continue to spend time reviewing the release notes so that I’m aware of any updates to the system and can answer related customer questions and advise on how new features might benefit their workflows.

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

Working with the Client Services team has been a great experience. We’re a very collaborative group, and everyone on the team is always happy to share their knowledge and perspective. Frequent collaboration helps us answer questions and solve problems faster for our customers. Instead of getting stuck on a difficult question or trying to create a complex report, I know I can reach out to my team in our weekly meeting or in our department’s Slack channel, and someone will almost always have advice or a similar case they can point me to for reference.

How do you collaborate with other departments within Aries?

Outside of the Client Services team, I collaborate most often with the Database Administrators (DBAs). We work with the DBA team on script requests, data loads, standard “undo” support requests, and investigating issues. We often work closely with the Aries Product Management team as well. If I need clarification on how a particular feature should work or have questions about new or upcoming features, they are always incredibly helpful. 

I’m also part of a cross-departmental team working on the LiXuid Manuscript feature. It’s been exciting to work on and support the development of this new feature and collaborate more closely with colleagues from other departments like Product Management, Engineering, Sales, and Marketing.

Describe your typical workday.

My typical workday is mainly focused on reading and responding to emails from the customers I support. These support requests vary from workflow/configuration queries to discussions of new features to issues that need to be investigated and more. Editorial Manager is a robust and highly configurable system, so I spend a lot of time closely reading our feature specifications and testing out workflows on my own demo site to ensure I’m providing customers with the best advice. 

Most days, I’m also attending meetings and working on other projects, such as preparing for and leading customer training sessions and feature demos, escalating and reviewing script requests, updating customer tutorials to cover new functionality, or working on a task for the LiXuid Manuscript team.

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

I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my job the most. Whether exploring ways to accommodate a unique workflow or trying to reproduce an elusive bug, it’s both challenging and rewarding to test out theories, collect evidence, and be able to help provide a solution.

What I most enjoy about working for Aries is how supportive my colleagues are. When I first started, I was a bit intimidated by how much there was to learn, but I quickly found that there would always be someone willing to share their knowledge and offer guidance.

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

One of my absolute favorite shows, Succession, is currently airing its final season, so I’ve been excited to watch that each Sunday night. I’m also watching the current season of Survivor, a show I’ve watched all 44 (!) seasons of since it first started airing in 2000.

I’ve been mostly reading mysteries and thrillers lately. Right now, I’m about halfway through The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

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

I’m a big sports fan, particularly basketball and tennis. Before the pandemic, I loved going to the first week of the US Open tennis tournament in New York and hope to be able to attend again soon. Some of my other favorite things to do include hiking, creative writing, reading, board games, and video games.