For this installment of our People of Atypon series, we sat down with Polivios Roussis, one of our Program Managers.
What is a Program Manager, anyway?
Polivios Roussis is a professional translator. Not from English to Greek—though he can do that, too—but from the language of software engineers to the language of publishers.
He started his career as an engineer, and has also tried working in sales. But over the years he’s gravitated towards work that puts him at the intersection of engineering and people, which is exactly what’s so great about working as a Program Manager. While interviewing for his role at Atypon, Polivios asked what it involved.
“Imagine you’re the CEO of a spin-off company,” he was told. “You have just one customer, and a group of engineers. Your job is to make sure that your company is healthy and your customers are happy.”
The Program Manager, then, is “an advocate for both sides”—but, Polivios stresses, there really are no sides. He approaches the customer–Atypon relationship as a partnership, and is fully invested in every customer’s success.
A Program Manager’s work is all about relationships. On the day-to-day level, Polivios keeps in touch with customers through regular online meetings, occasional in-person visits, and impromptu calls; keeps track of what customers need, and makes sure that Atypon’s engineering team delivers it; and offers consulting and guidance in both directions. He also handles customer invoicing and reports on his accounts to Atypon’s executive team. It’s his job to know how customers are feeling and help them problem-solve, as well as to see the big picture.
The best part is getting positive feedback and appreciation from customers! Hearing from a customer that you’ve done a great job for them, Polivios says, “can not just make your day, but make your week or your month.”
Words to the wise
What’s the most helpful advice Polivios has ever received? In a professional context, he says, that advice was about what to do when a customer brings you a problem: First, fix the problem! You’ll have plenty of time later to figure out why it happened, and how to stop it from happening again; in the moment, you need to be on the same team with your customers, and focus on resolving the issue.
Another piece of advice has been globally helpful, though: “The good you do for people in your life always comes back to you,” Polivios told us, “but always in a very unexpected way.”
Wise words to be remembered!
What’s your superpower?
When he’s not at work, you’ll find Polivios on a sailboat—on his own, or with family or friends, including his two young kids. He’s always loved the sea, and has been sailing ever since he can remember. So it’s no surprise that when asked what superpower he would choose, he says he’d like the ability to fly. After all, what is sailing if not flying on water?
Self-propelled flight may not really be on the table, but Polivios will be doing more of the usual type of flying in the near future, as he gets more involved with new customers and partners, and gets back in the air for in-person customer visits.
“Of course, you have regular meetings with customers online, and they serve their purpose,” he says. “But meeting in person is a different thing.”
Atypon’s Program Managers are the vital connection between our engineering teams (located primarily in Athens and Amman) and our customers, who are located … well, pretty much everywhere! It’s a role that demands both strong technical knowledge and a good understanding of the intricacies of scholarly publishing—as well as the skill, enthusiasm, patience, and creativity required to make sure that everyone involved understands one another.
Thanks, Polivios, for sharing your insights with us!