Ali Welch, Juliette Welch, Buddy Welch, James Welch

Alumni on the Rise – Ali Thompson Welch

Placing a face on the business of finance

Ali Thompson Welch (BSBA ‘13) is a problem solver. She believes in helping the consumer, discovering an issue and facing it head on. 

Welch grew up in Lakeland and earned her bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. After receiving her bachelor’s, Welch worked in finance for several years, then attended Duke for her MBA and afterwards set off on a path to aid others. 

“Businesses exist to solve problems for consumers and other businesses,” said Welch. “ I enjoy analyzing drivers of business demand and crafting solutions that meet customers’ needs, whether those customers are internal business partners or external consumers/businesses.”

In 2022, Welch became the Director of Pricing Strategy for KinderCare Learning Companies (KLC). KLC operates 1,500 early childhood education centers and 600 before and after school care centers across the U.S.. Welch designs and implements pricing strategies for brands across the KLC portfolio. 

“Pricing is a function of supply of a product or service and demand for that same product or service,” Welch said. “I use skills I learned in economics, finance, accounting, marketing, and other courses to understand the consumer’s willingness to pay for the various products and services our company offers. I have to understand competitive forces, macroeconomic factors, internal profitability drivers and other business topics covered by the courses I took at Warrington.”

Welch isn’t just able to apply this knowledge to the educational field. Before her time at KLC, she spent over nine years at the railroad company, CSX. The time at CSX helped cement her ability to think critically, anticipate questions and strive for excellence. With these strategies in mind, Welch went on to further her mission of helping others through business and finance. 

“Pricing conversations can be difficult,” Welch goes on, “but I work hard to develop relationships with my business partners so that those conversations can be had with empathy and understanding of the pain points they face.”

Addressing the personal side of business through an ethical standpoint is something that Welch continues to do on a daily basis. The Heavener Hall of Fame member was  a Project Manager during the first year of the Florida Ethics Case Competition. 

“Business and ethics cannot be separated,” she explained “We encounter ethical decision points daily in interactions with coworkers and in business decisions. Acting appropriately in the workplace and making ethical decisions requires not only an understanding of the difference between right and wrong, but also a strong sense of self that allows a person to stand his or her ground in the face of a difficult ethical decision point.”

To aspiring students and young alumni on a similar professional path, Welch offers the following advice.

Be curious. Ask thoughtful questions and use your early years to truly understand the business and industry in which you operate. Take time to dissect the financial statements of your company and ask thoughtful questions about cost and revenue drivers.”

Welch now lives just south of Jacksonville in St. John’s, Florida. She married her high school sweetheart Buddy, who is also a UF grad and they have two children; James who is 3 and Juliette who is nearly 1 year old.