SharpChicks: The Growth Team

by Amy Kohl
SharpChicks: The Growth Team

Although growing wickedly fast, AK Ops is a relatively young company. It’s crucial to make smart hiring decisions at key moments to support the business trajectory our OG team started. In our second SharpChicks blog, we hear from the three women who make up what I call our “Growth Team” – Krista, Danielle, and Anna.

These ladies joined AK Operations at a pivotal moment after the OG team laid the foundations of our sticky-scope and expectations for our program. The program wasn’t trapped inside my brain or on pictures of my whiteboard on my phone – it was documented, taught, enforced and monitor-able. So this second wave of hires needed to come up to speed quickly with what we knew already worked – and they did. And then some!


Krista Branham

“I started my career in finance and accounting, so after interviewing with Amy in 2020, I was nervous to make the switch into marketing and sales, let alone the intense impact-driven work of AK Ops! I feared that my lack of direct experience would be evident but I didn’t let that define me. Amy knew my work ethic and was confident that my “math and logic brain” would pick things up quickly, so I took the leap and joined as the fifth hire.

With the help of some of the sharpest chicks I know, I hit the ground running. My own passion for competing and winning drove my growth and in 2021, I saw my hard work pay off when I was promoted to Senior Success Manager. Besides that, one of the most rewarding experiences has been seeing how the company has changed tremendously. Guided by the principle of working smarter and not harder, our entire team has been able to innovate and scale our internal processes so we can continue to deliver for our customers even during uncertain times. This makes our work so rewarding!”

Krista Branham, Senior Success Manager

Danielle Matthews

“After graduating college, I took a position for a small business in St. Louis where I had no freedom. I had no paid time off, was micromanaged in my day-to-day work, and had to punch in and out the moment I stepped into or left the building! I also didn’t have the freedom to explore different areas of the company or make any decisions without approval. I knew that this environment was limiting my growth and fortunately, Mallory reached out to me when Amy was ready for hire #6.

Now, I’ve been with AK Operations ever since and I couldn’t be happier doing good work with AND for these good people. I have a freedom in the workplace and my personal life that I never had before and I work with people who truly care about our team and clients.

Since I’ve started, our team has only gotten stronger, especially with the new development of our leadership team. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed and we never hesitate to jump in and help one another. We are so much more than people who simply work together!”

Danielle Matthews, Success Manager

Anna Mellas

“I joined AK Ops in 2021 after working for another lead gen company as a Client Success Manager. Before joining AK Operations, I served many clients but had little influence on their campaign pivots, so one of the things I anticipated the most was the opportunity to serve fewer clients at a time but bring more value to each of their campaign strategies.

I was introduced to Amy through Mallory, who thought I would do well with the team and AK Ops program. Since joining AK Ops as hire #7, I’ve served dozens of AK Ops accounts and currently run 5 clients of my own while managing the most monthly recurring revenue! 

In 2022, I was promoted to a Senior Success Manager where one of my main focuses is onboarding new clients and specializing GTM strategies to them. Through my time at AK Ops, I have grown as a Client Success Manager because of the depth in which we work with our clients — not just as a vendor but as a fractional part of their team, which I really enjoy!”

Anna Mellas, Senior Success Manager