March 6, 2019

Lead(H)er: Alison Aldrich, Vice President of Partnerships at Privy

Alison Aldrich was going to be a teacher. Instead, she’s the Vice President of Partnerships at Privy, a Boston startup that helps online stores and publishers convert more customers.

Alison (center) at a trade show with fellow Privy employees.

Aldrich’s journey began at the Happiest Place on Earth: Disney. She worked in public relations for the company’s Parks & Resorts and Cruise Line divisions before moving back to Boston to get her master’s in education. After choosing to defer her acceptance for a year, she took a job at Carbonite, then in its startup phase, instead.

“I thought I would just try it out for a little bit,” Aldrich said. “But in a startup, you’re so close to the work that when you change a button on a website or send out an additional email you can actually see how that was impacting the business. I just got hooked.”

Though she had been hired to write blogs, customer emails, and advertisements, Aldrich found herself taking on any job that needed to be done at Carbonite. She built and oversaw an in-house creative team, worked as the company’s Director of Brand Marketing and Director of Creative Services, and moved over to channel marketing when she was asked to build out the new function. It was the perfect challenge for Aldrich, who was accustomed to growing new teams and operations already and led to a new career focus in channel and partnerships. After eight years at Carbonite, Aldrich joined Klaviyo, an eCommerce email marketing company that creates highly-targeted marketing campaigns for its clients.

Aldrich built an agency partner program at Klaviyo, opening up a new source of revenue for the company. She also worked with Klaviyo’s technology and integration partners, which is how she came to meet the team at Privy. Aldrich saw an opportunity to make an even bigger impact with her work at the early-stage company and joined to help it build out a channel program.

“Going back to that smaller, earlier stage startup is what really got me excited,” she said. “I love to build something from nothing.”

Privy gave Aldrich the chance to build and manage more facets of a company than ever before. She’s responsible for overseeing all partnerships within the company, which include affiliate partners, strategic agencies, technology and integration partners.

Aldrich recently launched the Privy Partner Program to support strategic agencies that are looking to help their clients grow their email lists and reduce abandoned carts. Understanding how to support drastically different types of businesses, which range from independent consultants to multi-office agencies, is a key part of building a successful program. It’s also what drives Aldrich and pushes her to continue to learn from the partners she works with.

“I never view it as a job,” she said. “It’s something that I’m a part of and something that I really want to create and build and help be successful.”

Aldrich is committed to helping Privy thrive and doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. She’s excited to help Privy grow through the channels she’s building. Though when it’s time to move on, she’ll likely find herself in a similar role where cutting-edge technology and strong teammates combine to impact a small company. As for her own role, she’s happy to do whatever needs to be done to ensure success.

“I’ve run creative teams and done a lot in marketing, and now I’m working on partnerships, which is more on the business development side of things,” she said. “ I feel like I have a lot of different skills to offer a startup, so I see myself just playing the role that they need me to play at that point.”

Rapid Fire Questions

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to travel, and I still love Disney. We probably go three or four times a year, and I still have a lot of friends down there. It’s like my happy place. My parents are also in Florida, so it's nice to visit down there.

I also have two young kids at home, so there isn't much free time to speak of. We have tons of family in the area and that's what you can find us doing most weekends -- being with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and just making sure that our kids are around all their loved ones. We want them to take advantage of being close to family.

How do you typically manage stress?

I think that fortunately, I don't get too stressed out. I try to keep everything in perspective. I think having kids helped me realize that things like jobs are important and they're stressful, but there's more to life than just your job, which I don't think I realized really before having children. I like to get massages, and because I like to travel, I look forward to that as a reward that also helps put things in perspective.

How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?

I’m trying to wean myself off of coffee, so I try to limit it to one. It may be a very large coffee, and it has to be iced, but just one. I’m trying to get down to one small cup a day and then drink water with lemon the rest of the day.

What’s one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

My favorite place is the Boston area is most definitely Fenway Park. I'm a big baseball fan, and you can't beat the history or the energy of the ballpark.

I also really like this little park in our town called Ipswich River Park. It’s a great balance of walking trails and playgrounds and places for kids to enjoy, so I really enjoy that. Going to the North End and having a good meal is also something I love.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I’m really proud of the program that I was able to build over at Klaviyo. We were vastly outpacing the benchmarks of other partner programs that we had set for ourselves, and that helped us make a really big impact on the business. I look at that and everything that the team was able to do there, and I'm certainly very proud of it.

Is this where you saw yourself 10 years ago?

Not at all. When I was in college, I wanted to go to ad school and be an advertising copywriter. Even when I started at Carbonite, I thought I was going to be a creative director someday. I never for the life of me envisioned being in channel marketing and being in a VP role where I’m heading up partnerships. This is not at all where I thought I was going to be, but I guess that just goes to show that being open-minded, tackling opportunities, and trusting in mentors and people that can help you learn the skills that you haven't learned before pays off.

What’s your advice for recent college graduates?

I think some people come out of college and have always been set on what they want to do, but there are a lot of other jobs and titles out there that are great gateways. I knew coming out of college that I wanted to work for Disney, and so that really worked out for me, but it might not have. To be so dead set on one company or one job title really blocks you up, so think about the different skills that you have and be willing to apply for things that you don't necessarily feel you're qualified for. Even in the position that I have now, I see different jobs and think, I can’t do that. I’m not qualified for that. But when you see that, start thinking about the relevant skills and really trying to believe in yourself. Be open to new opportunity, and be open to things that you didn't necessarily think you wanted, but never take a job just for a title or just for a salary. Really make sure that it's something you're passionate about because if you’re passionate about it, you're going to give more to that job.

Samantha Costanzo Carleton is a Contributor to VentureFizz. You can follow her on Twitter @smcstnz.
Images courtesy of Alison Aldrich and Privy

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