by Alton Zenon III
October 31, 2018

Account management teams are uniquely positioned within a company. They act as liaisons between clients and other departments, who all work together to further the customer’s goals. To succeed, account managers must often rely on one another and use their combined strengths and diversity of backgrounds to work toward keeping clients happy and driving growth.

This is something account managers at Braintree know well, which is why they strive to create a collaborative culture.

 

Braintree's open seating area beneath glass ceiling

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS MURPHY
Braintree's common seating in lunch area

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS MURPHY
Braintree conference room with glass walls

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS MURPHY

 

FOUNDED: 2007

EMPLOYEES: 850 (500 local)

WHAT THEY DO: With the backing of PayPal, Braintree offers companies around the world more efficient methods for facilitating payments across any device. 

WHERE THEY DO IT: While headquartered in Chicago, the company also has offices in New York, San Francisco, Austin, London, Sydney and Singapore.

NOTABLE PERKS: Braintree offers employees catered lunch, commuter reimbursements and a flexible work from home policy.

 

Braintree's Chelsea Hood smiling

Braintree's Chelsea Hood

 

Chelsea Hood, Accounts Team Lead

Chelsea oversees the strategy and direction of the company’s mega mid-market, mid-market and account specialists — areas that drive retention and growth within high-value customer segments.

BEYOND WORK: Chelsea loves spending time with her bull terrier pup, Tank. She also enjoys jogging, skiing, yoga and online shopping.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a leader, and how do you overcome it?

The biggest challenges I face are around change. Knowing how to mitigate consequences, overcome resistance and deal with team member reactions can be difficult. I’ve found being as transparent as possible and taking extra time to explain the ‘why’ helps tremendously. Understanding my team members’ styles and drivers, then flexing to those, can help people feel more secure and confident during uncertain times.

 

Prioritizing building trust and credibility with the team definitely helped set me up for long-term success.”

 

How did you manage the transition from a lengthy career as a leader at one company before moving to Braintree?

Moving from a workplace I had been at for more than seven years to a brand new company and industry was definitely challenging. The most difficult part was moving to a role where I did not have a deep network or expertise about products or processes. 

It was extremely important to me to take time to learn the ins and outs of our team and business before making changes. Prioritizing building trust and credibility with the team definitely helped set me up for long-term success.

 

This engineering team helps Braintree process billions of transactions every yearMore on Braintree:

 

What are some activities you’ve done with your colleagues that built camaraderie?

We are constantly coming up with new ways to bring our team together. Most recently, we had an accounts summit to connect the Chicago and San Francisco offices for a few days of meetings and fun. We planned a scavenger hunt, which was a big hit and helped drive camaraderie. We also plan several activities each month including team lunches, potlucks and other activities — we’ve gone axe throwing, kickboxing and paddle boating, to name a few.

 

Braintree's Anna Forsberg

Braintree's Anna Forsberg potrait

 

Anna Forsberg, Accounts Team Manager

Anna manages Braintree’s mid-market account team, ensuring her team’s success by providing them with the information, tools, processes and professional development opportunities they need to succeed. 

BEYOND WORK: Outside of work, Anna likes to stay involved politically. She spends time canvassing across Chicago, meeting new people and encouraging them to vote. 

 

You have a background with a very diverse set of professional experiences. How has that helped you as an AM? ​

Over the past decade I’ve worked in several different industries, in various job capacities and across a few continents. Whenever you move around, you’re forced to stretch yourself and grow comfortable with contextually starting anew. These circumstances often force you to listen a lot, be open-minded, take risks, be willing to fail and get back up again, and exert constant curiosity in order to solve problems and learn quickly. These are some of the core pillars we focus on in account management when working with our merchants.

 

This engineering team helps Braintree process billions of transactions every yearMore on Braintree:

 

How important would you say collaboration is to an AM’s success? 

Hugely important, as we’re often the face of Braintree to our merchants. In order to collaborate with our merchants to help them achieve their company goals, we are in turn constantly collaborating internally with departments across Braintree.

 

Whenever you move around, you’re forced to stretch yourself and grow comfortable with contextually starting anew.”

 

What led you to Braintree? ​

Ultimately, the mission is what attracted me. In a world where there are approximately two billion people living outside of traditional financial services, I’m a fervent believer and passionate advocate for the power of access to financial services as a way to alleviate poverty.

 

Braintree's Alma Elkaz and account management team

Portrait of Braintree's Alma Elkaz

 

Alma Elkaz, Account Management Team Lead

Alma leads the mega mid-market account team. She helps her staff reach their potential by providing them with all the resources they need to best serve clients and grow professionally. 

BEYOND WORK: Alma likes to stay active, and participates in running and yoga classes to recharge after office hours.

 

What about your company or your work inspires you?

The collaboration is truly awe-inspiring. No one is an island, and it’s an all hands on deck approach when there’s an issue that needs solving.

 

This engineering team helps Braintree process billions of transactions every yearMore on Braintree:

 

How do you turn a client “no” into a “yes”?

With transparency. We never recommend a product or process change unless it is truly in the best interest of the client. Sometimes it takes persistence to help them understand the ‘why,’ especially in an industry as complex as payments. But it always pays off.

 

Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know or understand something, even after you’re no longer new to the role.”

 

What is some advice you would give someone starting out as an AM that you wish you knew early on?

It’s OK not to know everything right away! We have an extremely talented, high-achieving group of AMs, and when you’re client-facing, the tendency is to want to have all the answers. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know or understand something, even after you’re no longer new to the role.

 

What do you love most about your job?

I never stop learning. The world of payments is complex and always evolving. At Braintree, we evolve with it. I learn and do something new nearly every day.

 

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