Employee Spotlight: Tess Waresmith
How long have you been with Acceleration Partners? What was your first role and what is your current role?
I have been with Acceleration Partners for almost 6.5 years now. It’s a little-known fact that I actually started as a Temp Associate but I’m still here and so grateful to still be here! Now I’m the VP of Operations.
You moved to Singapore for a year to help an Acceleration Partners’ client launch their affiliate program in that area—what was that like and what was your biggest professional takeaway from the experience?
I could write chapters on chapters about this experience…it’s a lot to unpack.
Working in another region of the world requires the ability to deal with ambiguity and to keep a constantly open mind. I had to learn a lot about the APAC (Asian Pacific) region in a relatively short amount of time and had to figure out how to prioritize an affiliate program running in sometimes up to 12 different countries. I also had to throw assumptions out the window regarding which affiliate strategies would be successful or not. I quickly adopted what our global team now refers to as a test-and-learn approach that involves careful testing of an any affiliate campaign in a controlled manner that minimizes risk.
I also had an additional obstacle when I arrived in Singapore due to the fact that I was the only person from Acceleration Partners in the region. Suddenly, I had to make impactful business decisions on my own. Eventually, I was able to create a network of people that could help me in the region and strategically organized my weeks in such a way that I could get the support I needed from my manager in the U.S., while managing a 12-hour time difference.
This was years ago though, and we now have many people in APAC with years of valuable experience in a variety of industries, so you could say things have changed.
And your personal takeaway?
Moving abroad by yourself can be scary and lonely, but only if you keep your awareness pinned to those places in your mind. Once I turned my attention to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in front of me, my entire experience changed.
I made lifelong friends, traveled to 10 countries and some of the most beautiful places in the world, and solidified in myself the confidence to take big risks in life, knowing that the rewards can be amazing. And if they aren’t amazing… well at least you learn something along the way.
What advice would you give to a brand thinking about expanding their affiliate program globally?
Similar to what I mentioned earlier – don’t make assumptions. Finding an agency partner or someone that knows the nuances of the region or country you are expanding into will be invaluable and will dramatically increase your likelihood of launching a successful global affiliate program.
Every region and/or country may have a different level of affiliate adoption, meaning that in some countries you may need to take extra time to educate potential affiliate partners. In some places, there may be key affiliate partners that are strong for specific industries and can be quick wins if you can tap into them. In some countries, if you don’t have boots on the ground, you’ll be hard-pressed to get potential partners to work closely with you without an in-person meeting first.
Understanding local context is critical to the success of any global affiliate program.
You’ve moved to a new department at AP since leaving Singapore. What does your current role entail?
As the VP of Operations, I lead a team that acts as centralized support for day-to-day business operations. We are focused on improving tools and streamlining processes. We support everything from technical requests regarding affiliate tracking, to creating and managing processes that create efficiencies for our account teams.
Our goal is to make lives easier so that our account teams can focus on valuable strategic work for our clients and doing what they do best, better partner marketing.
What advice would you give someone looking to begin their career in affiliate marketing?
This advice applies to anyone beginning their career, but I would prioritize working for a company with a strong culture, clear values, and the opportunity to grow.
I’ve grown tremendously as a professional and a person by being at a company that wants to help people grow and succeed, in and outside of work.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do that you haven’t done in a while once COVID is over?
T R A V E L. I’m Puerto Rican but am still learning Spanish, so my goal this year was to go to a country in Central or South America to take some immersion classes. It’ll just have to wait until next year!
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Teleportation. I love traveling, particularly to go hiking or climbing in remote mountainous regions of the world or going to music festivals in cool locations. Getting to these places is often a journey in its own, so if I could just teleport to my starting point, that would be great.
I’ve also moved a lot in my life and have friends all over the world that I miss terribly, so I would love to teleport in for lunch. Also, let’s be honest, errands would be way easier.