Meet the Aries Team: Kate Horgan, Director of Client Services

Want to get to know some of the Aries team? Us too! In an effort to learn more about our colleagues and the important work they do, we’ve decided to sit down with some of our staff members to interview them about their roles at Aries, what led them to scholarly publishing, and what they like to do in their free time. Read our first interview below with Kate Horgan, who was appointed Director of Client Services in June 2018. Check back next month to see which Aries staff member we speak to next.

 

Tell us about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?
I’ve been with Aries since April of 2012. Before that, I was an Editorial Assistant at the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, where I used Editorial Manager daily. My job there was working with Authors, Reviewers, and Editors to process manuscripts – making sure necessary files were received and keeping manuscripts on track from an editorial standpoint.

What have your roles at Aries been?
I started as an Account Coordinator working with mostly commercial publishers. Wolters Kluwer was one of my first accounts, and about 9 months after I started in that role, they began using ProduXion Manager. This really jump-started my learning process and exposed me to new departments and opportunities at Aries. After about two years, I was promoted to Senior Account Coordinator. From there, I was promoted to Account Manager and then Senior Account Manager. Then last June, when Jennifer (who had been the Director of Client Services) was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, I was appointed Director of Client Services.

Tell us about transitioning to your new position.
I think one of the benefits of the leadership of Aries is that many of the Director-level staff have been in place for ten-plus years. While this provides excellent consistency to Aries, it was somewhat intimidating for me to join such a well-established group. But I had nothing to worry about; everyone has been extremely welcoming, collaborative, and helpful and it’s been wonderful working with them.

I’m also really enjoying managing the Client Services team at the Director level. While there has been a lot of change recently, I think the ACs have all done a wonderful job of providing consistent support to our customers and ensuring as smooth of a transition as possible.

How many people do you have on your team?
In the U.S., we have 8 Account Coordinators and 2 Account Specialists. We also have 3 Account Managers in the U.S. In the U.K. there are 5 Account Coordinators and 1 Account Manager. In our Aries office in Germany, we have 2 team members who report up through the Client Services structure. We are also hiring for a number of positions right now–we will be growing by 5 staff once we fill all open positions.

How are ACs assigned to customers?
It’s in no way an arbitrary process, that’s for sure! I start thinking about Account Coordinator assignment as early as the sales process. Often, I am involved in some early conversations with customers, and at that point I try to get a sense of personality types and account needs. In addition, the Sales team has spent a great deal of time working with the customer at this stage, and knows our Client Services team very well also, so they may be able to make a recommendation such as “this account would work best with someone who has a lot of open peer review experience.” What I love about our team is that there really is a broad skillset and wide range of personalities, which can be matched with accounts that fit that type. For example, there may be a customer who wants more hands-on help from an AC, while another is more interested in learning from our ACs and then making configuration changes themselves. Since our team is so flexible and diverse, we can match our AC with the account needs. We are constantly evaluating workloads and best fits.

Speaking of backgrounds and personalities–what kinds of backgrounds and experience do your team members have? What do you look for when hiring a new Account Coordinator?
I think it’s really important to have a great mix of staff with diverse experience. We have people that came to us from publishing sales, software sales, finance, customer support, and of course scholarly publishing and production. When we’re hiring a new person I look for a general knowledge of software, customer support, or scholarly publishing, but I also look for someone who is just going to be a good fit with the team and is willing to learn not only how to use Editorial Manager, but the many unique workflows of our customers.

What do you most enjoy about working in Client Services?
I enjoy the fact that we get to communicate with the customers so frequently. I value meeting with customers in person at their offices, at conferences, etc. Myself and my staff attend meetings every day where we are the Client Services representative–and what that means is that we are listening to the conversation to ensure that what the company interprets as being what the customer needs is in line with what we are hearing direct from our customers. It’s been a great chance to talk about how we advocate for our users.

What do you like most about working for Aries?
I’ve had such a wonderful experience at Aries, especially working closely with Jennifer Fleet as my manager for a number of years. Jennifer has always been super supportive of my career and given me opportunities to succeed. I think Aries has an excellent system of recognizing and rewarding hard work, whether through more access to the company or through promotions.

How do you stay involved in the industry and in touch with customer needs?
I travel often and attend a lot of conferences. Really, I find that talking with customers has been the best way for me to learn what our focus should be. I think speaking with many different customers, gathering all their anecdotes and stories together, and then trying to identify the overall themes and trends is really the best approach for me. I want to know what the up-and-coming industry topics and conversations are, but I also want to stay focused on the true needs of the customer.

Describe your typical work day.
A lot of travel–at least a week or more a month. When I am in the office, I have a lot of meetings with other departments and my own staff.

What are you currently reading?
I read a lot of blogs! A few of my favorites are How Sweet Eats and Ask a Manager. I also have a young daughter at home, so lots of picture books! Last night we read The Monster at the End of this Book. I read a lot of emails each day so my own leisure reading tends to happen when I am on vacation and away from the office for a good amount of time.