I am so excited to welcome Alyson Welch, Neo4j’s new Chief Revenue Officer, to our company and community! Alyson will lead our global field and partner operations, services, and customer success organizations.
Alyson’s track record for leading revenue organizations for success from $100MM to more than $1 billion in revenue comes to us at a valuable time. Graphs are starting to reshape the database market, drive advanced analytics power AI/ML models and more efficient pipelines for better business outcomes. Her expertise is a huge step forward for all of us as we accelerate our customer success and market leadership.
You’ve built an amazing career ~over the past 30 years in the tech sector, both in consulting and building sales and revenue teams for large enterprise customers. What lessons have you learned that you continue to take with you now?
Alyson: There are so many lessons! I began my career in consulting and learned a ton, but Akamai was foundational for me when I transitioned into Sales. When I began, we were at $50MM, and 14 years later, we were at $1.2 billion. We learned how to scale and transform in periods of growth, as well as through the 2008 credit crisis and the dot-com bust. It was about how to optimize for the long term, as well as adapt.
Twilio was another defining experience. We were at $300MM and had 12 direct salespeople worldwide when I started. I spent six years building the enterprise function for the company and extending it across a breadth of services. In five years, we were $3 billion in revenue. I learned how important it was to exceed the market’s expected growth rate by identifying opportunities and accelerating efficiency in smart ways. Growing at the market rate isn’t enough if you want to lead the market and outpace competitors. You have to exceed that growth rate while doing it meaningfully. There are other lessons, but these are a couple of big ones.
Emil: Your longevity and loyalty to those companies really resonated with me. What made you stay?
Alyson: All great companies go through a transformation, and there are lessons to be learned about how to endure, as well as grow. At Akamai, we lost our founder in 9/11 as a very young company, and we had to quickly forge a culture that would honor what he had built while sustaining and growing it. The leadership team really pulled together through that time, and we created something that will always be irreplaceable for me. With Twilio, the level of enterprise demand just blew my mind, given the origins of the company with product-led growth. The opportunity to accelerate that opportunity was incredible. And with both companies, we always celebrated high performance.
So what drew you to Neo4j?
Alyson: I’m inspired by the disruption that Neo4j is driving in the database market. This is a space that’s ripe for a new phase of innovation and optimization, and I’m excited to amplify that. The nature of data has changed so much, with so much more data connections, more metadata, and a lot more complexity. It’s a pain point for the enterprise and a huge opportunity, as businesses demand greater value that comes from leveraging the connections and context in data at scale. That’s the value that graph delivers.
I’m also impressed with the quality and volume of Neo4j customers, and the opportunity to scale on top of that. And I love the size of Neo4j right now. It’s similar to Twilio when I first started. My sweet spot for much of my career is about growth and transformation for companies near the revenue size Neo4j is now, and scaling it to more than a billion. I’m still learning the technology side of Neo4j, and I’m really loving it. It’s a great time for customers, the company, the community, and the market.
On an entirely separate note, the name Neo4j intrigued me! I’m naturally drawn to unlocking the business value of highly complex yet powerful technology. Perhaps there’s a pattern to it, given names like Akamai, Twilio, and Neo4j!
It’s a new year, and you’ve just arrived. What are you most excited about for 2023?
Alyson: I’m most excited about optimizing our execution and communicating our value proposition to the market. Customers need to better understand what graph can deliver and the business value that comes from our solutions. Neo4j continues to achieve huge momentum in all these areas, especially as the category inventor and driver, and there is still so much more work to be done.
What should people know about you outside the office?
Alyson: Early in my life, my dad worked as a physician on a U.S. Navy base. My mom was a nurse. They both had successful careers in medicine and incredibly strong work ethic. I have a brother and a bunch of family stories, which I’ll share in our next conversation. San Francisco has been my family’s home for almost 30 years, and while I think about moving all the time, I’m still here! I love to ski with my husband, and my biggest hobby seems to be chasing our two children. I love mentoring women in tech and have done a lot of work in that area. It’s a passion of mine.
Emil: We are definitely having that next conversation.
Alyson: You bet. And I couldn’t be more thankful to be part of this journey with you Emil, and the entire team.
Emil: And I am thankful for you too, Alyson. This is going to be fun! Welcome!