Reflections on Growth, Teamwork and Leadership

by Amy Kohl

A little less than a year ago, our founder and CEO, Amy Kohl, sat down with TechSTL to reflect on her journey from the inception of the company to its present day. With a little over 5 years now under our belt, the learning experiences filled with challenges, growth, and, most importantly, teamwork continue to be relevant today!

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Watch the full video here or read the recap from Amy below:

Starting AK Operations was about creating a solution for lean sales teams and founder-led sales operations to remain efficient and effective without expanding prematurely. Our mission has focused on automation, rep enablement, and data-driven market strategies to build strong pipelines for the teams we support. 

The rapid growth of AK Operations is not solely my achievement but the result of an incredible team working behind the scenes. This acknowledgment has been a humbling experience, emphasizing that leadership is not about individual success but about lifting others and achieving goals collectively. 

Our business model, centered on referrals, has been a testament to the quality of work and the trust we've built with our clients. This approach has not only fueled our growth but also maintained the quality of our services. The support from fellow entrepreneurs, especially in the early days, underscored the importance of doing good work and fostering strong relationships.

Diversity and inclusion took on a new meaning as AK Operations grew. Initially, the team organically formed around women, which was not a deliberate choice but a reflection of finding the right fit for the company's culture and values. This has evolved into a powerful dynamic, where our all-women team has become a cornerstone of our identity and success. The environment we've created allows team members to excel professionally while maintaining balance with their personal lives, a value I hold dear from my own experiences as a working mother.

Our approach to sales is distinct from the conventional volume-driven tactics. We emphasize quality over quantity, focusing on meaningful strategies that lead to high conversion rates and sustainable growth for our clients. This philosophy extends to our internal operations, where automation and efficiency allow our sales reps to focus on what they do best, supported by a system that values accuracy and effectiveness over sheer numbers.

At AK Operations, leadership is an evolving journey. My initial hands-on approach has shifted towards empowering my team, understanding their unique needs, and adapting my leadership style to support their growth and success. This has not only strengthened our internal dynamics but has also reflected positively on our client relationships and business outcomes.

Mallory Vonder Haar, Director of Client Success, emphasizes Amy's POV on leadership and adaptability, "What I love about AK Operations is our ability to stay ahead of the trends and to adapt, both internally and for our clients. Internally, our team has pivoted from everyone being boots on the ground to having a structured  leadership team who is able to stay ahead of the vision of AK Operations to ensure our program adapts with the economic climate.  For our clients, our program has grown from founder only teams to large growth teams, ensuring we've built a customized, repeatable process for ROI."

We serve a diverse range of clients, from founder-led startups seeking their first significant sales milestones to established teams looking to streamline their sales processes. Our methods have proven effective across various industries, particularly in SaaS and technology sectors, thanks to our adaptable and client-focused approach.

As I reflect on our journey, I'm filled with gratitude for the team, our clients, and the community that has supported us. AK Operations is more than a business; it's a mission to redefine sales support and leadership while fostering an environment where women in tech can thrive and lead.

Interested in learning more about AK Operations or exploring a potential partnership, we invite you to click here or follow us on LinkedIn