Alyne Head of North America
Syracuse University Bachelors Degree, Psychology
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
first off. Thank you. My pleasure to be speaking with everyone virtually. How did I get to where I am today? It's a combination of hard work. Lock some disappointment and, uh, opportunity. Um, after college, I actually wound up in Los Angeles and was in a different career. And then I wound up working in the asset management field, and the hours were New York based. And so I was in my twenties. I was getting up very early in the morning and I didn't really enjoy it. So I wound up moving to New York, and from there I wound up in a sales role, but still within the financial services industry. And my career took a turn when the financial crisis in 2000 and 2009 turned or happened, and I had to reinvent myself and became Mawr involved in software and enterprise software. And consistently since 2008 I have had various roles with various levels of management responsibility, Um, that have led me to where I am today. So there's a combination of just the world dynamic market dynamic, forcing change, wanting to be back where I am. I wanted to be on the East Coast from originally after college going to the West Coast And, um, okay, just I hope that answered the question. Then, in terms of incidents or experience that have shaped my career path, those really were. I was working for an asset management company, as I mentioned in California in the late two thousands 2001 When, uh, September 9 11 happened a swell as the Internet, the bubble had crashed and that forced the company that I was working for to drastically downsized and made me question the long term viability of my role at that company. And that forced my moving to New York on my own free will. And, um then I wound up, you know, without a job trying to find something. And then I also took a deviation again when the financial crisis hit in 8 4009. So, uh, I always tried to Yep, position myself and be ready for change. But a few of those incidents, you know, have led, actually, ultimately, in a positive way to where I am today. I'm

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? Tell us about weekly work hours, including the time spent on work travel and working from home.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
so there is no work travel as of right now because of Cove, it think it was pretty much globally. Everyone is remote. Uh, there, uh, the work our the company aligned is headquartered in Munich, Germany, there at six hours ahead of us. So I'm up at five. In the morning checking my phone, checking my messages. We have offices in the U. K as well as Melbourne, Australia. So often times I'm on the phone with my colleagues in Australia at 678 o'clock at night when it's the morning for them. So we are. We are not a startup where a growth company, we have global offices. And, uh, as a result, we're at the inflection point where we need to make sure we're working in unison. Eso that that that takes up a good consideration are a good amount of my time making sure that what we're doing operationally so a swell as from a sales perspective, a marketing perspective is tied in. The messaging is consistent with what we're doing globally and in my role as head of North America. I do oversee operations, do oversee marketing our marketing budget du oversea sales andan responsible and play a key role, not a soul role, but a key role in the hiring on DTA, training of people and making sure that we're in lockstep with our global counterparts.

What are the challenges in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in dealing with these challenges? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
Yeah, challenges can change daily. For instance, just as of this week, there was a U S. Employees who, uh, Visa had Visa expired and her visas depended upon her husband's. With his expiring, I should say eso that's forced, uh, forced her to be unable to work for us for a certain amount of time, forcing us to determine should she go perhaps to the U to the UK or somewhere else where she can effectively work for us. Um, the challenge also in the size of the firm, is that I run North America. I have my hands in a lot of as I said, marketing operations and sales and time zones were not headquarters. Right? So we're certain amount of hours that are overlapping with other regions of the world, which creates, uh, the need for clear communication when we are all available. Um, training. Also, I'm not a I wasn't historically a risk expert. I've always had a written exposure and my prior roles, but we are in governance with compliance, offers a service, and I had to learn that very, very quickly, and I had to learn the industry and just jump right in with you know, eat forward. Um, and at the same time, we're on boarding people and on boarding people. Virtually I've had to play multiple role in the sale process. And, uh, I've never been in a position where I necessarily on boarded someone 100% virtually which we have and we are doing right now, which forces you to make sure that you are speaking consistently daily. And if there's any questions, you're on the phone. You're on the zoom call or something like this to make sure that you're still able to build that relationship. And so that's what we try. And Dio we at least have one group call within the country here, uh, daily. And then I tried to speak at least once to each U. S employees. Relatively small team all New York base. We are growing, but there's no substitute for that face to face interaction

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
uh, as the head of North America, driving revenue and responsible for operations and marketing. There's a number of different tools. Many of them are predominantly run license out of our headquarters in Germany that I still use course from a sales perspective. We are we have a a CRM tool for monitoring sales and pipeline things of that nature we have out forced. Also, our technologies here in the US as the U. S. Entity, our the management of our 401 K plan the manage of our banking, the manage of our benefits program to an outsource provider. So that is a technology that we that we rely on, uh, you know, also, there are other technologies like linked in that anybody would use from probably a day to day operational standpoint. Now we as a we as a tool or as a software, are cloud based. So I could say, as a technology, we leverage the cloud AWS and other other cloud providing platforms. Um, we on our platform itself, um, it is built on JavaScript, and we do have machine learning capabilities that involved natural language processing. Um, from a coding perspective, that is done in public on another languages. But, you know, it's kind of Ah, it's a blend, right? We're not at the point where we have one big, you know, perhaps prp technology that eyes serving multiple, you know, areas of our business. We also use Trela from a customer from a customer success standpoint to help manage the day to day interactions with our clients and the the ticketing and support.

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
we in the a line on what we do. We do focus on from team personnel or keep providing the phone is and titles of people they typically are in the risk and compliance, faith or often working, which responses each information, security officers or directors of information security. Chief compliance officers. Uh, now we can work with people operational risk another line, but it's perfectly rip and compliance, and those could be very, very broad. Andan terms of, you know, kind of what approaches are effective and working with them, I e. Would say There's not one approach. Everyone's different. Every person has their own unique personality, and what I think is a proper way of communicating with one in one role. Very different from that in another, when I try to do personally in the light of co vid is understand what they're personally going through, what their current situation is, tailing my approach and the communications to make it easy for them, and however they want to communicate

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
um, how is my management style change? I've been in a number of roles where I've been in individual contributor, let's say, in a sales role or is part of a team and also in various roles where I have managed, uh, you know, manage groups of people. I in my role here, you know, at a line I broadly would classify, classify myself as hands off. I don't believe in the micro management. I believe that you hire people and you bring them on to do a roll. And if you didn't hire them and trust them, then why did you hire them in the first place? Um, but I do believe in communication and clear communication and constant communication, And I always have. I tell everyone on my team that they can call me whenever they need me with any question. I'm always here to help. I don't like being a position where I have to provide answers for them. I encouraged them in my management style is to encourage people to think for themselves. Come to me with an answer yourself, and I'm happy to review that answer, provide my feedback and contribute that way to elevate their learning curb in the same way as I report to the CEO of our company. I always tried to avoid going and, you know, asking for the answer what I should dio. I'll always come up with an analysis saying This is a situation. This is what I'm thinking Can I have your thoughts? Eso That's the broadly my management style, Uh, in terms of books. I mean, I've read every classic literature books that you know from from Steve Jobs. I can't say, you know, there There's one quote from one book that I recall that has, you know, model me or model my personality from a management perspective. But I just you know, I I believe in treating people kindly and treating people fairly, but being very clear with communication as well as expectations and putting people in family first. At the end of the day,

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
I've been very fortunate so far in the role here that we haven't had too many. We haven't really had conflicts. And that does start with the top down and ensuring that everyone is on the same page globally. Um, it is important to and it starts. So to avoid that, I do try to set out clear guidelines and expectations and what those roles and responsibilities are, and but ensuring that everyone is aware that there are going to be situations in which there will be some deviation from that model. As an example from a sales perspective, the sales team has defined territories and or accounts based on anathema medical, uh, separation. However, I believe that if someone has a thesis and they want to approach and take, that piece s to a specific person that a specific company outside of their territory, great, right that fosters outside thinking, fosters growth, could be a driver for others to start thinking as well. Um, the you know, if I sense conflict, I do try and get to the root cause, and I will try and break it down into a simple form, right? Really? You know, is it affecting more than one person is affecting two people. Is it going to a broader group? Is this an issue that's going to affect us globally and trying to start at that route and ensuring that, you know, I understand what it is, who is impacted or why it's all they get that way before you take into to a broader car protect, um, and the react. I'm sorry. Continue. No, I was just going to say it's, uh I don't think there's any magic formula to creating a culture of trucks and openness. You live your life and you try to to try and you try to do the right thing and people I have personally felt we'll get. We'll grab paid towards that. And I don't believe never putting something down, always being encouraging and trying to foster everyone's educational and career growth. That is the best way to foster trust, cooperation and that team culture

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
of course, by doing the job that you have been asked with simply if you have your key metrics, your performance metrics meeting those metrics is certainly a great way. I do believe then with the initiative is a great way to, I mean, get extra recognition. But I also believe that taking the initiative smartly not just for the sake of trying to get recognition but having a well thought out approach idea, subject or ah, a way that we could be doing business differently. Um, that makes sense a zwelling as doing it in a contextual way that is right for the business and or yourself and not chopping off for not taking on more than you are personally prepared to handle and or your talents and your skills don't or will not allow you to, um and e think that it z taking initiative. I do like it when people that I work with are I'm guiding, you know? Ask me, you know, can I help you with this? Can I take this off right? Knowing that they can, um, sometimes it's those little things. Sometimes they're a project or something. Say I could get this or I got this. Let me take this off your plate. I'll come back to you once I'm done with a version or a draft. Um, that is I believe that that's probably the best way. Yes, uh, proposing something just for the stake of getting your voice heard. And we have had instances where someone has proposed that we should do something or we should present something. Or we should create collateral or some type of evidence for whatever it may be and then turning around and saying, Okay, so why don't you do it then and then the person not following through with that or not wanting to do that right? Well, pushing back, that's a perfect example of case. So then, then why are you not contributing areas it because you're fearful? Difficult You're not. You know, you don't have the skills that and then it kind of comes back the communication. So it z some of those instances, right? I hope. I hope I'm you know, I'm going through my mind and thinking a mile a minute, but I hope that helps. Uh, not not not not taking on something just for the sake of kind to get recognized, really being strategic and having a function, a piece of the wanted Mr Benefit, the company or why we need something. But why you should presenting to the company on a topic as opposed to doing it and then throwing it on my plate or someone else's plate for them to dio, that's a sure way in my eyes of, uh, being scheme for perhaps the wrong reason.

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
uh, eso way. We We have a standard yet evolving set of KP ice and, of course, holistically. We are judged on revenue profitability by our investors. Uh, regionally. I have We have revenue targets. We have operating targets. We have targets pipeline targets, lead generation targets to track activity that ultimately will funnel back up to CEO of our company as well as management. And, um, there's there. We have marketing targets. Way have a budget. And we Yep. We need sometimes some of those things that could be more difficult to quantify, but we need to quantify as a zone indicator, right way, type of lead. What are we generating from our marketing efforts? What type of website? Traffic. What type of inbound leads? Those things are tractable and way have KPs uh, for those type of efforts. Aziz Well, as informal client satisfaction, client satisfaction surveys where we need to ensure that the responses from our clients very, very favorable and waken ensure that their long term clients, but ultimately as a company in a region. Right? The key k p I read

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
The question is certainly will vary depending on the role. Uh, the I personally want people who are going to work well in a team environment. I want to get the sense that they're going toe work, a collaborative team environment. Certainly, that is crucial for us. The stage that we are at as the company I need to understand. Someone's going to communicate well, uh, and that may be for let someone in a sales role. Someone in a customer success role is going to be working David, with our time, we need to ensure that they are not going to allow themselves to be, Let's say around unnecessarily they can stand up for themselves when there may be a A demand from a client that is unacceptable. Uh, so you're trying to gauge personality creates and for for for various types of roles, you know, and some of the questions I would not say it's rocket science. I really want to know who the person is, what they want, why they want it. Um, kind of what brought them to where they are, where they see themselves over the next few years, and I want to, More importantly, than anything. Make sure that at least they've come with smart questions. And I don't care if they ask me 100 questions about the community saying, I don't understand this. I don't understand what you're doing. I was on your website. I don't understand this. I don't get that. But I want someone having done due diligence and showing the thirst for knowledge and the wanting to understand that's one of the first try and pick up.

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
accomplishment is is, I don't know if there's just it's just one. But it's growing here at a line, for instance, the North American business to where we are today in a short amount of time over a year and a half very mature market with key players where we had to make them assumptions pivot very quickly when we on our initial uses in target market was going to be a and it wound up not being that so working, I would say, working with the management group at a line to be very nimble, to allow us to get those winds and those quick first winds who observed as our anchors when we didn't have referrals, but we didn't have anyone else in the US or North America in their in their vertical. Uh, that was That was a challenge at first, but it made us pivot the conversation and pivoted toward that the messaging of working with the French upstart hungry, a company that's going to take over the area. I hope that answers the questions if, uh but you know, and the reality is nothing more than being able to face challenges personally. The first part you know my my career accomplishments. I've had my ups and downs as everybody has and everybody is going to and there are people who are multibillionaires, and they're people who I personally feel at the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, and you know, I've I've reinvented myself on a few occasions. That's probably the biggest accomplishment, is really from where I started when I was in California than coming to New York, winding up into control, having toe learn kind of a whole new skill set and having that evolve and the external market or world impacting me to to make those changes in certain roles I was in became less prevalent as a result of those external factors. But just not, You know, I've had periods where I have been out of work on, but it's just the day to day grind of not getting down, putting your head down. You're not always going to get what you want plowing forward one way or another. There's really no substitute for that. So that was quite E would say

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle at work? What were the challenges? What strategies were effective in dealing with these challenges?

Based on experience at: Senior Account Executive, SAS
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
that sass. Um, it's a completely different companies that is a leading analytic company in the world. Been around for 40 some odd years. I waas in a role where I had a set defined territory and I waas charged with growing that territory that was defined as a key territory for force. Asked within the financial services and with the financial services vertical, um, some things were certainly easier because there was marketing. There was a non army of people behind us. If I needed to have the meeting, I could have been people from staff on site at a client in 24 hours. It's certainly a you know, it was certainly different. Um, but also, just like any company, there's always new incumbent and some of the accounts that we were covering we were losing our Uh huh, recurring revenue in. So that was a challenge, right? Trying to stabilize our revenue a swell as grow our revenue in some accounts that we had no footprint or little footprint, and we had to get very, very creative. Um, it accounts that we were losing our footprint to resell the value proposition of a line. We had to do it from an education standpoint. We had to do it from a technology offering standpoint. We also had to get legal buy in to restructure. Certain contracts that may not see have seemed advantageous to status at the moment. But we're going to lock in on a recurring revenue and ultimate, allow us to, uh, secure that base and and focus on the growth as opposed to the fire of trying to save the client. Um, so it you know, So it's certainly different, you know, different challenges. Uh, but I hope that answers the question to get, at least to a degree.

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: Bachelors Degree, Psychology, Syracuse University
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
I was a psychology major. In some ways, I do believe that that's helped me in my career in having a baseline general understanding, perhaps, of how people think and how people are thinking differently of what may be driving that thought, process and or behavior Going to college opened up my eyes to the world of people from different nationalities, different races. And it was just, you know, getting into that melting pot of ideas that helped mold me. And I cannot under estimate for me the value of networking and how valuable it was for me, and I didn't realize it at the time. But it just so happened that one of my very good friend from college, I was out in Los Angeles. I was doing a few things for a couple of years, and then it was one of my friends, good friends, Father who was in the financial services industry and helped get me actually my first role. I did not have a financial services background, but when I started realizing I may want to get into that industry, I jumped. You know, I read every book I could started taking some classes outside that different university classes, another type schools that had financial services classes to further educate myself. But, you know, the it was just the networking and being it both people, um, that that was just the, you know, the the valuable driver. And as they started realizing the value of networking, maintaining and making sure consistently throughout my career and even through my education, where I went to school, that I'm to some degree always having some contact with someone always accepting. I get frequently except invites from kids who are now in college where I went to school, and I'll always accept those invites and always happy to have conversations if they ever wanna ask questions. I'm always open to those conversations because 10 years from now I could be working for one of them. That's your right is the way it works.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? Please discuss the stories behind these lessons, if possible. Stories could be yours or observed.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
you know, the first one is that you are never tied to any company or any person, or you should never feel so beholden to someone. Um, that you should not progress your career in the way that you want you. As a result of that, I I have a role number of years ago, and I was nervous at those younger, uh, you know, putting in my resignation and the CEO at the time said Very nice and just wish we wish me all the best and said, This is for your career. You're making the right The right movie should never feel feel beholden to anybody. I've tried to take that, you know, Take that forward. Yeah, at the same time, another lesson is I am a very loyal person and I've been in a role before where my heart and my mind told me that I It, for whatever reason, wasn't going to be long term sustainable, or I wasn't going to get where I needed to get. And I would have loyalty held on longer than perhaps I should have. And it kind of ties into the first question. I really think you need to do what's right for you, but in a professional manner, right? And you live up to your commitments, but at a certain time, you need to, you know, follow your heart and follow your your instincts that your life, Um and, you know, that was to, um you know, the other 3rd 3rd life lesson that I've learned is, um there be just be kind to people and especially in a management role, you can see when someone feels nerd with her feels being attacked and gets defensive. And I've seen people you know in prior roles. Feast on that and I do not believe in that. And I believe you just have to treat people well and treat people the way that you would want to be treated and, you know, try to get creative and allow that person to not feel you know that that hardship for that pressure and not to attack someone because you smell blood in the water for lack of a group or lack of a better analogy, Right? And I've been on the receiving end of both eso

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Tue Sep 15 2020
I don't know. Honestly, if I could recommend a, like, a starting job or internship, because in college I didn't have an intern. I didn't do an internship. I I should have. I just didn't I, uh, 20 some odd years ago, I don't know. Necessary. Why? Or I just didn't pursue it. Uh, you know, of course. If you know what type of industry you want to be in, go for it. I also recommend if you could get a role of first job and internship even in something that you may know little about, that that might interest you but also might scare you a little bit. Just to take you out of your comfort zone is always a good always a good idea. I think there's nothing wrong with that. If you feel that your someone who would never want to be in a client facing role, maybe a perfect time from an internship perspective to see if you can find something where you would be engaged with people and you may wind up loving it may validate, right? Some assumptions that you had before, so use it as a you know, as a test. Uh, I don't you know? Although, of course where the world is going to an automated technology, Alright, heavy world. Anything that you can find that will allow you to leverage things like Excel and Power Point and other types of technologies is exceptional and they're always going to be needed. And you're gonna need to have those skills. Um, so I would, you know, that's always something that, you know, I would I would recommend And I really don't think it's necessarily industry of vertical specific. But if you just find something that challenge you that you can learn from and at the tape So and that's kind of like my take away, um, you know, as they do, you know, I gut into the financial services industry, not because I had a degree in finance or economics to a degree in my interviewing, because I was able to translate what I learned in psychology and how it might help me in that role. So even if there's no clear, like direct one toe one, uh like path as an example, I've aged in data sign because I want to go into a voting role or some type of machine learning type role of the company. Another certain roles that require a certain amount of feels that course. But being able to always try to think about how you can translate your personal experiences, your background and your challenges and create that or turn it around so that you can contextualized it and be able to articulate it into any role that you may be, you know that you may be going into and I think it's you nine out of 10 times. Anybody can do it. It's just really thinking about that. And, uh, so don't worry about you know, the why you may not be a fit for the role. Think about why you should be. That's what I tried to dio. Sometimes it's worked for me. Sometimes it hasn't but that that would be Yeah, that would be a parting advice. Keep learning. I'm trying. Yeah,