Employee Airtime: Mystery Novelist (in the making), Mother and Enterprise Sales Extraordinaire Nicole Ashong
Get to know Account Executive Nicole Ashong, from the Enterprise team in the U.S.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in San Diego with my husband and son, who is a year and a half old. Thanks to Airwallex’s remote-first approach in the U.S., and my husband’s flexibility as an entrepreneur, we had our choice of locations to live, and are so glad we picked San Diego! In my free time, I enjoy going on some of the gorgeous hikes the city has to offer, trying out new restaurants and breweries, and taking my son to the zoo.
What were you doing prior to joining Airwallex?
Prior to my move to Airwallex and San Diego in August 2021, I worked at Citi for ten years, starting in New York and then relocating to Singapore for the last four years. Most of my time there was spent in commercial card issuing, and I learned a ton, not only about issuing, but also about enterprise sales and navigating internal stakeholders.
Before Citi, I got my Bachelors and Masters from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. I am a big Georgetown basketball fan–even though we had a historically awful season this year. Nowhere to go but up!
Tell us about your work here at Airwallex.
I am an Enterprise Account Executive in our Platform side of the business. This means that I work with large companies who are interested in leveraging our capabilities via API. Many of my customers want to embed or white-label our services on their own platforms, using our Scale solution. One of the most interesting parts of the role is being able to sell across our entire suite of products–from payouts to issuing to FX–and figure out how to bring these capabilities together to create a holistic solution for our clients. The breadth of products and geographies that Airwallex covers means I’m always learning new things and constantly being challenged, in a (mostly!) good way. These are big, complex deals with long sales cycles, but the satisfaction of seeing a marquee customer go live after putting in is so worth it.
You’re working on a novel in your spare time, right?
Yes, I am working on a murder mystery novel! After I came back to work from maternity leave in February 2021, I felt like all I thought about was my work and my baby. I needed a creative outlet and something for me to focus on that was just for me. I sat down and brainstormed all of my favorite things, and how to incorporate them into one story. The two top items on the list were murder mysteries and my ultimate guilty pleasure, The Bachelor franchise. Thus the concept for my novel was born! Here’s the working description I have for the book:
At a luxury resort in sunny Mexico, cast and crew come together to film the popular reality dating show, Love’s a Beach. Presumably, the contestants are hoping to fall in love, and the producers are hoping to create a blockbuster season. However, when one cast member is found dead, those plans are dashed, and everyone’s motives come into question. Secrets begin to unravel, revealing backstories and motivations through the eyes of the showrunner, a producer, and a fellow contestant. Love, revenge, jealousy, and self-preservation intertwine in the race to discover who wanted him dead, and who had the means to kill him.
I finished my first draft in March, a year after I started. I’m currently working through my first round of edits, and plan to start seeking out an agent soon. I’d love to find a publisher, but will also be happy to self-publish and just get my writing out into the world.
How would you describe Airwallex in a few words to potential candidates?
Collaborative - I really enjoy the partnership between sales and the other functional groups - product, ops, legal, etc. The teams listen to each other and take feedback, then work together to secure new customers and make them successful once on board. For example, I had a customer who, in order to move forward with us, wanted a new feature committed to be launched by a specific timeline. Given potential revenue and the importance of the account, our product team reshuffled priorities to meet the client’s ask. We won the deal and they’re currently integrating with us.
Challenging - A lot of what we’re working on is very cutting edge–the first time we’re trying a new global model, launching products in new markets, etc. As mentioned above, my internal partners are very collaborative and supportive, but there is still a ton to figure out. For me, this is the fun part of the role, and what I know will keep things interesting for me, even as I develop more and more expertise in the products themselves. This type of ongoing challenge and ability to come up with creative solutions is an important quality in a role for me.
Exciting - There are lots of exciting things happening all the time at this company! There was a fundraising round announced a month after I joined, then again two months later. There are constantly new products and geographies launching. It feels like every month a new marquee prospect wants to engage with us. I think that positive momentum and camaraderie amongst AirBuddies is a huge part of what has made this such an enjoyable ride so far.
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