Anne Forsyth English

Chief Strategy Officer, Allobee

I remember attending the Women in Business Conference and right away I just felt at home. Joining Tuck was the best decision I ever made.

By Adam Sylvain

After jumping at the opportunity to move to Hong Kong with her husband, Anne Forsyth English T’08 admits she felt uncertain about a career path that once seemed perfectly mapped out.

“I felt a bit lost on the career side of things,” says English. “Less than a year after our move, I had our first son and my husband was travelling a lot. I wanted flexible work but couldn’t find the right opportunities.”

Before moving to China, English began her post-MBA career at Booz & Co. and then joined Unilever as associate manager of CMI analytics. In this role, English helped build and implement a brand forecasting tool and provided strategic analysis on pricing and promotions across the company’s perishable food categories.

Drawing from this experience, English began freelancing in Hong Kong and eventually founded Bamboo Strategic Advisors—providing strategic advisory services to predominantly women CEOs and startup founders that lacked a deep analytical background.

English returned to freelancing when her family moved back to the U.S. and settled in North Carolina. She was speaking at an “Empowering Women Together” event in the Triangle when she first met Brooke Markevicius, founder and CEO of Allobee.

Allobee is a one-stop solution for solopreneurs, small business owners, and startups seeking business support services ranging from bookkeeping and web design to strategy and consulting. The platform’s algorithm connects business owners nationwide to a vetted, underutilized workforce of experienced, professional women who have left the traditional nine-to-five either by choice or because they were forced out of full-time work during the pandemic. By taking over the logistics of hiring, paying, and managing projects, Allobee gives business owners the time and expertise to help scale their business.

As she learned more about the company, English was impressed with the way Allobee’s mission and vision aligned with her own. She joined the company in March and Allobee went live in May, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fortunately, our business model was made for this moment,” says English. “For our expert freelancers, we provide flexible, virtual work within a community that is 100 percent women, many of whom are caregivers.”

On the client side, Allobee has enabled companies to effectively pivot and create new revenue streams. In one example, they helped a team of Atlanta restaurant owners develop an online membership program featuring live cooking demos with their chef.

For companies that have seen rapid growth during the pandemic, like in the case of T’08 classmate Kristyn Van Ostern’s no-contact wash and dry business, Wash Street, Allobee has provided solutions to effectively manage a sudden influx of new customers.

Potential clients can visit the Allobee website and choose from different tiers of services and pricing depending on the scope of their project needs and their budget. They can also book a call and negotiate a custom quote. In an uncertain environment that makes it difficult for business owners to predict sudden changes in demand, this tailored servicing makes it possible to flex up or down quickly.

“Many of our clients are short on time, particularly our female founders with kids at home,” explains English. “We take freelance sourcing, project management, and payment off their plate and provide that trusted solution.”

As chief strategy officer, English leads Allobee’s fundraising efforts, investor relations, and strategic partnerships. She also provides financial forecasting and analysis. In January, Allobee announced it had secured $500k in a funding round led by Stargazer Ventures. At the same time, the company also announced it was hiring a full-time engineer. English says these developments will allow Allobee to fine tune its algorithm, automate more processes, and speed up customer acquisition.

“We already have experts and clients across the U.S. but we want to go deeper and ensure every small business owner and early-stage founder knows the Allobee name within the next 18 months,” says English, adding that she hopes the company will also expand to Asia, her second home, at some point.  

Looking back on her career, English says a passion for analytics has always been in her DNA. By the time she applied to Tuck, English had created individual spreadsheets and cluttered binders full of information on the top 10 business schools. In the end, it was the smart, open-minded community and deep sense of belonging that drew her to Tuck.

“I remember attending the Women in Business Conference and right away I just felt at home,” recalls English. “Joining Tuck was the best decision I ever made.”

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