Meet Tanya, an Area Manager in Amazon's Sydney fulfilment centre, who has a passion for beekeeping on the side.

“I live on acreage just outside Sydney and have recently taken up beekeeping. It was a huge fascination of mine for a long time, so I sought out a local mentor and started assisting them with managing their beehives. Not long after, I got three beehives of my own and my fascination has only grown."

“It's incredible to see how the bees work together as a colony and have their different roles, such as defending the hive, foraging for pollen, making honey and feeding the babies. The most important part for me is ensuring the Queen is doing well and there are no diseases. I’m only on my first season so I’m not at the stage that I get honey yet, but that will come soon."

Tanya likens her work at Amazon to what she sees in her bee colony; everyone has their own role and responsibilities, while working towards a shared result.

“As an Area Manager I’m responsible for managing a team that ensures orders are packed and ready to be picked up for delivery in time. Sometimes I get on the catwalk in the fulfilment centre and look down and think how similar it is to the colony – we’re all just like bees going about our individual tasks as one big team, so we can get customer orders out on time.

“I love that every day is different. I get a lot of flexibility about how I run my section and have a lot of autonomy. I’ve never been in a business before where workers are so engaged and involved in the decision-making processes. Team members legitimately get to be a driving factor of change here.

“The culture is very inclusive and collaborative. We have different religions, ethnic groups, and people from all career backgrounds. There is a lot of women in leadership positions at Amazon, which is incredibly refreshing, as many other warehouses are dominated by male workers.

“It really does feel like one big family. We’re always looking out for one another, particularly when it comes to safety. We’ve got numerous safety policies and training procedures that are reinforced every day. Safety is paramount as it means everyone goes home safe and well.”

What’s one of your favourite moments working at Amazon?

“Every year we do crazy sock day in the fulfilment centre and I’m renowned for having the most eccentric socks with feathers, sparkles and more. I love dressing up and setting the standard for the craziest socks!”

What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about working at Amazon?

“That it’s not a strict, regimented workplace. I was really surprised at how much freedom there is to experiment and trial new ways of doing things. It’s also a fun workplace that offers a lot of opportunities for development. It’s been a place of self-discovery for me. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and how much I’m capable of.”

What’s your advice for someone joining Amazon?

“Don’t limit yourself to what you know. Keep asking questions, talk to people, engage, and reach out. The team are there to support you so use them as a resource. You don’t know what you don’t know! Think beyond the normal ‘cookie cutter’ process.”

What’s next for you at Amazon?

“I’ve just been accepted to go to the robotics fulfilment centre when it opens in Sydney. I really want to step into that world and broaden my skills and knowledge in the learning and development space.”