In a bit over a year since joining Ontra as a business development associate (BDA), Ella Mandell-Lynn became business development manager for EMEA and APAC. When she’s not strategizing on how to best engage prospective customers, Ella is discovering new locales and cuisines – and getting centered in a yoga studio in London.
What attracted you to Ontra and convinced you to join the company?
When the pandemic hit, I was in my final year of undergrad study. Having always been interested in the legal field, I enrolled to earn a Master’s degree in law during lockdown.
Once I earned my law degree, I stumbled upon the legal technology sector and Ontra. From my first interview, I was struck by the open, genuine, two-way nature of my interactions with Ontra employees, and knew it was a culture I wanted to be part of. My colleagues and I always say we struck gold when we found Ontra.
Clearly, I made the right decision because just a year into my time at Ontra, the company gave me this great opportunity to move up in my career.
How has your role changed now that you’re a manager?
I’m new in the managerial role, so I have yet to fully immerse myself in this position. But as an individual contributor, I was given a goal of setting a certain number of meetings each month, I strategized with my sales director on who to target and how best to engage them with personalized emails and calls based on my research.
Now as I lead a team of BDAs, I will help them achieve their goals by calling upon what I learned when I was in their role. The BDA team meets every week to share what is working to secure meetings with prospects. While everyone is an individual contributor, there’s a real sense of working as a team.
I will also collaborate with other parts of the business – including business development managers in the U.S. and the sales enablement team – to share best practices for engaging prospects and expanding our team.
In what ways has Ontra supported you in your career aspirations?
It’s an exciting time at Ontra. It’s a rapidly growing company, so new roles are continually opening up. Ontra encourages you to build on your strengths and helps you pursue your aspirations.
More specifically, as part of my 6-month review, I set my professional development goals. Based on those, my manager gave me guidance and Ontra gave me the opportunity to sign up for one-to-one coaching. I met frequently with my manager and kept track of progress toward my goals using Lattice, our people success platform.
You’ve studied law, philosophy, psychology, and scientific thought. How does this background assist you in your role at Ontra?
While philosophy and scientific thought taught me to think critically, law is results-oriented and competitive, and requires the ability to meet deadlines under pressure. That background helps me thrive in a fast-moving environment.
Psychology gave me a solid understanding of human nature and how people behave and communicate differently. Those insights are key in a customer-facing BDA role, as you are figuring out how to best reach and engage prospects. In my new managerial role, concepts like emotional intelligence will help as I work closely with my team.
Ontra’s company values are accountability, results, continuous improvement, respect, and openness. Which of those resonate with you the most and why?
Continuous improvement resonates with me and the sales team as a whole. The team is intelligent, driven, and successful but every team member strives to better themselves every day in this high-growth environment.
Our sales team recently held an in-person gathering in New York, led by the VP of Sales, Brian Korchin, and our theme was “the champion mindset,” which resonates with our core value of continuous improvement. We discussed who we viewed as champions and their drive and determination to be better than they were yesterday.
What advice would you share with Ontra new hires and those looking to join the company?
Build relationships with your Ontra colleagues. Working remotely can be challenging, but everyone at Ontra makes an effort to push past that barrier. I live in London, and connecting with colleagues in the U.S. gives me insight into what their lives are like. Building relationships paves the way for an open, productive team, where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and empowered to better themselves. The Ontra culture supports this.
You name a number of entrepreneurs on LinkedIn as your influencers. How does Ontra satisfy your interest in entrepreneurship?
Ontra’s founders identified a problem and developed a tech/lawyer model to solve it. What started out as an idea, evolved into a successful business, serving some of the biggest players in asset management. It’s exhilarating to be part of this dynamic, high-growth environment, and inspiring to see how Ontra keeps evolving.
I was here when we received the $200 million investment from Blackstone and it’s been exciting to see the effects of that investment as we move through this blitzscaling period. I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to travel and explore new places and cultures. Living in London makes it easy to travel around Europe. I’ll be visiting France for a holiday in August, which will be my seventh country this year.
I love to discover new foods. I’m a massive sushi fan and I had the best sushi at Aqua Kyoto in London recently. I also had great sushi when I traveled to New York for the first time to meet with Ontra’s sales team. I enjoyed lots of tapas and sangria when I visited my best friend in Barcelona for a weekend in July.
I also enjoy going to the gym and am now trying hot yoga. It’s extremely sweaty and surprisingly hard but a great way to focus the mind.