Meet the Aries Team: Elysia Williams, 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 joined Aries as an Account Manager on the Client Services team in February 2019. Prior to that, I served as a Client Engagement Manager at Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) where I supported RightsLink, which connects with both Editorial Manager and ProduXion Manager through an API integration.

My academic background is in German language and literature, which has added a unique dimension to my professional journey. All the publishing roles I’ve held have afforded me the opportunity to work closely with customers based in Germany. This cultural and linguistic connection has enriched my work, allowing me to leverage my education in a meaningful and practical way.

What have your roles at Aries been?

At a high level, my role involves managing a global team of Account Coordinators (ACs) and ensuring our customers have the best possible experience with Aries. I applied for this position because I was drawn to the intellectual challenge of working with software and felt a strong pull to remain in the publishing industry. Additionally, I was eager to advance my career and step into a people management role. It turned out to be the perfect decision, as I find it so fulfilling to help my direct reports achieve their career goals and overcome professional challenges.

After two years, I was given the opportunity to lead a project to migrate billing, invoicing, and contract management to Client Services. I now manage a small but mighty team of two Billing and Contract Administrators on Team Genesis. Thanks in part to these expanded responsibilities, I was promoted to Senior Account Manager in 2022.

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

In my previous roles, I gained valuable experience in account management. Each manager had a unique approach, which helped shape my own methods. A particularly beneficial experience was attending a workshop on improving PowerPoint presentations. This training has significantly enhanced my skills for webinars and our annual Editorial Manager User Group (EMUG) meeting, improving my ability to communicate effectively.

How do you stay up to date with customer needs and industry trends?

In addition to speaking with our clients directly or consulting with my colleagues internally, I stay up to date with customer needs and industry trends by also participating in industry working groups and volunteering for the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). These activities allow me to engage with a diverse array of publishers, gaining insights into their priorities and perspectives on the future of the industry. This past year, I had the opportunity to serve for the first time on the SSP Annual Meeting Program Committee. It was fascinating to be at the forefront of discussions on some of the most cutting-edge topics in publishing and curate a well-rounded program. Additionally, I had my first experience as a peer reviewer, which was a cool and enriching experience!

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

I work in the Client Services (CS) department at Aries and collaborate most closely with my fellow Account Managers and my direct reports. Our team is made up of about 20 people spread across three countries, and I specifically manage our Account Coordinators in Germany. Additionally, I work with our billing team, a small but mighty duo based in the US, local to the Aries office in North Andover. Being co-located with the billing team is a real advantage, as it allows us to meet in person to discuss ideas and plan for longer-term initiatives throughout the year. I also meet regularly with the Senior Director of Client Services to ensure he is well-informed of the status of any ongoing projects or open requests from my customers. 

How do you collaborate with other departments within Aries?

I most frequently collaborate with our Product and DBA teams, although Client Services maintains close ties with every department at Aries. A new project I’m working on with the Product team involves rethinking how we obtain customer feedback on potential enhancements. Since Client Services regularly engages with customers, we’re in a prime position to lead these discussions. However, we need input from the Product team to understand where they are focusing their discovery efforts and seeking input.

Describe your typical workday.

I don’t have a typical workday, though I do have a roster of regular meetings. Weekly, I connect with the German Account Coordinators, Team Genesis, and the wider CS team. I also hold one-on-one meetings with each of my direct reports. Frequent check-ins with key accounts allow us to address outstanding issues, discuss new features, and brainstorm solutions to specific pain points by updating their workflows. Given the time difference between Europe and the US, though, the vast majority of my communication happens asynchronously via email.

When it comes to my billing responsibilities, you might find me auditing monthly invoice details before submission, reviewing credit requests, or providing feedback to my Sales colleagues on contract proposals for new customers.   

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

What I enjoy most about my job is managing an incredible team. I especially love working with those who are eager to broaden their skillsets. At Aries, we’re encouraged to pursue our own development goals, and I take pride in coaching my team to think strategically about how to achieve them. I’m particularly proud that three of my former direct reports have been promoted to higher positions within the company. It’s rewarding to see their hard work and dedication pay off.

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

During Covid, I got hooked on the podcast Well There’s Your Problem, which delves into engineering disasters. The episodes cover everything from classic catastrophes like runaway trains, tunnel fires, and chemical explosions to more abstract fiascos like the Ford Edsel, the eternally delayed Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, and tainted Austrian wine. 

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

These days, my hands are full with my energetic three-year-old, August. He’s learning to ride a balance bike and has a unique take on basketball, preferring to squirrel away the balls in his toy truck rather than score points by getting them through the hoop. We love our walks along the Merrimack River and frequent the local farmer’s market for some fresh air and community vibes.

Once August is asleep, I unwind by quilting—a hobby I picked up just two years ago but dove into headfirst. Armed with library books, YouTube tutorials, and online quilt-alongs, I’ve crafted some memorable pieces, including a purple cow quilt top inspired by my alma mater, Williams College. I recently joined the local Modern Quilt Guild chapter to refine my skills and connect with fellow quilting enthusiasts.