Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?
I joined Aries in July of 2022 as an Operations Improvement Manager (OIM). Before Aries, I ran Infrastructure Professional Services for a consulting company. Going further back, I managed the global database team at a biopharmaceutical company. Fun fact, the biopharma is an Elsevier customer!
What have your roles at Aries been?
Aries’ parent company, Elsevier, has a lot of different departments, groups, and applications, each with its own best practices, policies, and procedures. I and the other OIMs at Elsevier have the unique position of being in two different worlds; one is embedded with our specific units, i.e., Aries, but the other is a part of the TechX group. TechX is the umbrella that covers all of Elsevier’s different departments, providing functions like software asset management, tech resilience, project management/delivery, and operations improvement. From there, my fellow OIMs and I can help to expand on our Customer-First value, taking the best practices from other areas and implementing them into our specific focus areas. Helping to make our particular groups as robust and high performing as possible.
How have your previous roles helped you in your current position?
Working at a global biopharma and a tech consulting company offers you many opportunities to see and experience a wide range of projects, situations, achievements, and disasters. From projects that would impact 30,000+ employees to a company with only one IT employee whose other duties also included janitorial items and a lot in-between. I like to think that I have seen quite a bit in my career and have survived all to tell the tale afterward, preparing me for anything.
How do you stay up-to-date with customer needs and industry trends?
Collaborate and listen. Talking to current and previous colleagues about what they are currently working on, their trials and tribulations, and things they would change or repeat. I have found those are the best ways to know what is new and up-in-coming in an industry as ever-changing as technology. From there, nothing like practice to make perfect, whether through informal research, study, or something more structured like a training class.
Tell me about your department and the people you work most closely with.
I previously mentioned the TechX group from Elsevier, but specifically within the Aries world, I work primarily with the TIO Platform and Rhizome squads. Platform (among other squads) is working on migrating our systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Rhizome is keeping the lights running with our existing server and end-user infrastructure.
How do you collaborate with other departments within Aries?
Outside of TIO, I primarily work with the Aries Engineering department, usually on incidents and root cause analyses (RCAs). Sometimes the issue is beyond the scope of Operations, and escalation to Engineering is required. Working with groups outside of TIO gives me more of an opportunity to experience the larger Aries organization and all the other very talented people that work here.
Describe your typical workday.
It depends on if there is an ongoing incident or not. If there is an incident, that will take up a large part of my day as I’m responsible for coordinating all actions and communications for the incident internally. Usually, it involves working with the Aries response team, ensuring that they have everything they need to work on the issue effectively. If they do not, get them whatever they need, i.e., additional resources or expertise. After the incident concludes, I lead the root cause analysis process to review what happened and take corrective actions to prevent it from happening again. When there is no active incident, I can focus on longer initiatives like our performance monitoring initiative or cost optimization.
What do you most enjoy about your job? What do you enjoy most about working for Aries?
The people are first and foremost; everyone has been very welcoming and great to work with in my short tenure. But specifically from the work standpoint, I can do interesting work on items I will develop and maintain over the long term, without much of the stress or conflict I have seen in previous organizations. In my most recent role, everything was short-term, and taking a long-view of tasks/issues is a very nice breath of fresh air.
What are you currently reading, listening to, or watching?
I am currently watching F1: Drive to Survive, Poker Face, and The Last of Us. The latter prompted me to watch Station Eleven, which I highly recommend. Also, I’m eagerly awaiting the next season of Ted Lasso. Given the time of the year, with the various award shows, I’ve been listening to The Big Picture podcast a lot and trying to watch as many nominated films as possible.
Tell me about some of your hobbies/interests outside of work.
When I’m not working I’m usually watching a movie or baking/cooking…or watching something about baking/cooking! For 2023, a friend and I have decided to journey through PhillyMag’s best burger list. It’s more of an excuse to get together, but a delicious one nonetheless. As of writing this, we are one down with 20-ish more to do, but we’ll get there!