SageRiver Welcomes Research Consultant
Alexandra (Ally) Williams joined SageRiver this summer as a research consultant. Her passion for mining data, evaluating industry trends and best practices and synthesizing findings into actionable insights make her a great fit for SageRiver’s clients. We sat down with Ally this month to talk about her professional journey and what a great day looks like, both on and off the job.
SageRiver (SR): Why did you decide to join the SageRiver team?
Ally Williams (AW): I met with Susan this summer to learn more about SageRiver. I majored in psychology in college with an emphasis in research, and I’ve been looking for a way to apply those skills in a business setting. When Susan and I talked, it just clicked. The opportunity to do strategic work for different companies and clients appealed to me. It’s right up my alley. I love doing background research, sifting through data and digging into companies and finding out what’s working and what isn’t. I was inspired to jump into the opportunity and get more into the business world.
SR: What is your role at SageRiver?
AW: My title is research consultant, and I help Susan in all facets of our client work. She’s been a great mentor who shares the overall strategy so I understand how my work connects to the bigger picture. I focus primarily on research, which includes conducting background research for proposals and environmental scans and assessing business strategies, trends and best practices. For example, I’ve been researching different aspects of e-commerce strategies and reviewing studies and statistics to determine what companies are doing well and what isn’t working. That assessment will be used to help a SageRiver client develop an effective e-commerce approach. I also manage the new SageRiver Facebook page.
SR: Describe your work experiences prior to joining SageRiver.
AW: As I mentioned, I have a degree in psychology with an emphasis in research. I didn’t intend to build a career in clinical psychology, but I worked for the Mental Health Center of Denver in an administrative role. I took phone calls, set appointments and interacted with clients at the front desk. It was a good experience because it gave me insight into the actual practice of psychology.
My other work experience has been in fashion retail, at a retail boutique in the Denver Pavilions called Francesca’s and at a designer resale boutique in Denver named Styletribe Underground. That second experience was especially fun because we started a mobile fashion bus during my time there. The bus included clothing racks as well as a dressing room in the back. We had very high-end customers who expected quality customer service. I had primary responsibility for that part of the business, and I enjoyed it.
Working in retail is an experience everyone should have. It teaches you how to talk to anyone, listen well and adapt to each person you serve. I’ve learned to be patient, get outside my comfort zone and go with the flow. Each customer is unique.
SR: What does a great day at work look like to you?
AW: An exciting day involves qualitative or quantitative research, meeting with clients and interacting with Susan’s graduate students. I attend her Business Strategy class at the University of Colorado at Denver Business School to support a project they’re completing for Similasan Corp. We’re doing a deep dive into mobile commerce, e-commerce, spending via those channels and overall trends in consumer behavior. I’m learning so much, and I love it.
SR: Why does research interest you so much?
AW: I do both quantitative and qualitative research, but quantitative research appeals to me most. It’s always come naturally to me. I understand statistical language and methodologies, and find it exciting to dive into the data and determine what they mean. I love finding new insights and avenues to explore.
SR: You studied art history in Florence as well. How has that shaped the way you view work and the world in general?
AW: That was a terrific experience. Florence is beautiful. I studied art history and Florentine architecture. I think that experience broadened my view of the world. Seeing different countries and cultures and traveling on my own also taught me to be more independent and confident in my ability to adapt, learn new systems and solve problems.
SR: What’s a favorite way to spend free time?
AW: I’m a very outgoing person, and I love playing tennis and hanging out with friends and family. I just enjoy being in the company of others.
I’ve also been very involved with my sorority, Delta Delta Delta, in hosting events to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Collectively, we’ve raised so much money that we’ve had a wing of the hospital named after our sorority.
And I also enjoy reading. I’ve enjoyed all the works of Gillian Flynn, which are dark but have intricate plots that pull you quickly from beginning to end.