At Amazon Australia, we’re proud of our strong female leadership—we have female leaders across our Operations,, AWS and Devices organisations. In an industry where women are the minority and where there are fewer females in leadership roles, their success is especially inspirational for anyone tackling the odds.

To mark International Women’s Day, we spoke to five of these leaders—HR operations director in Australia, Singapore and China Jacqui Marker; fulfilment centre site leads Jenny Candiano and Radhika Radhakrishnan; category leader for Australia consumables Laura Pardal; and head of HR operations Michelle Theophilou—to get their advice on achieving growth in the workplace, and in life.

Here’s what they say.

1. On the most important leadership skills

  • “For me, respecting and encouraging a diverse way of working, learning from each other, and growing our talent is a force multiplier, and is what ultimately helps us deliver bold results. Remember that being open to learning from one another is what allows us to invent our way to where we want to go.” —Laura Pardal
  • “Be comfortable with challenging norms and expectations. While everyone’s approach is different, what helped me was having mentors across gender identities, and attributing my goals to key attributes I wanted to learn from them." —Radhika Radhakrishnan
  • “I actively seek feedback. Not only does it disconfirm my own beliefs, it also helps me pinpoint any blind spots and receive targeted advice on areas where I can not only improve but be a better leader for my team.” —Jacqui Marker

2. On building and maintaining confidence

  • “Create your own ‘happy file’, a place where you keep stock of all your accomplishments and wins. When imposter syndrome strikes, go back and review all the cool things you’ve achieved or made progress on.” —Michelle Theophilou
  • “Remember that most people have doubts in their mind about themselves, and it’s ok to be human. Something one of my team said to me once when I told them I was nervous ahead of a meeting with our senior leadership team really stuck with me: “Think about how inspiring these senior leaders are to you—you are that inspiring person to so many, take confidence in that.” —Jenny Candiano

3. On being comfortable with being uncomfortable

  • “Opportunities may arise where you need to place yourself in uncomfortable positions that require active listening, adapt to unfamiliar situations, or address complex business problem statements that carry risks and rewards. Take control and pursue them to increase your chances of advancing your career.” —Jacqui Marker
  • “Throughout my career, I have consciously put myself in situations where I know it will feel uncomfortable. This has been new roles, new departments, and even new countries! I believe you have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. I also take the perspective that every challenging experience in my work life presents an opportunity not only to develop professionally, but gives me more tools and skills to use in life outside of work, too.” —Jenny Candiano 

4. On earning trust with others

  • “Building trust with others can look very different for different people. My approach is to understand motivations and purpose so that I can create fulfilment for each person. I set clear expectations and goals with my team, whilst giving them the autonomy to deliver on those goals in the best way that works for them. Because everyone is already aligned on intentions, we can react seamlessly and objectively when we deviate from our goals.” —Jenny Candiano

5. On approaching setbacks

  • “I try not to dwell on the failure for long. I usually set a time period for this before I accept that it happened and move into applying lessons learned.” —Michelle Theophilou
  • “As an avid gym-goer (CrossFit training with lots of weightlifting movements!), I find a good analogy between this and reacting to failure. If you want to try and increase your personal best on a particular lift, you can’t just keep lifting the heaviest weight you have already achieved, and expect to get a new PB. You have to add more weight to the bar, knowing you have never done it before. When you try to go for 10% more, you might only get 5% more in the end, but unless you are prepared to fail, you will never move the dial on understanding what you are capable of.” —Jenny Candiano
  • “Failure isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s the opportunity to learn something new and grow. But I know at times it doesn’t feel that way. I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments. Remind yourself whenever something doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, there is something to learn—if you can do that, that in and of itself is the win. The wisdom that you gain is exactly what you needed in order to take your next step.” —Laura Pardal

6. On taking pride in who you are

  • “It’s really important to be yourself and recognise your super powers. All of the qualities that make you who you are, are strengths to be leveraged. No one should ever force themselves to fit into a mould of how they think they should be. Taking pride in your strengths will not only enable you to be authentic in your leadership, but inspire others around you to do the same.” —Jenny Candiano
  • "It's okay to have some self-doubt. It allows you to be better prepared and chase for perfection." —Radhika Radhakrishnan

7. The one piece of advice you’d give an earlier version of yourself

  • “If I could give advice to my earlier self, it would be to care less. Not in a negligent way, but to care less about what others think or say. Embracing this mindset doesn't mean neglecting responsibilities or disregarding passions. It's about prioritising what truly matters, letting go of unnecessary stress, and allowing your expertise and dedication to shine through with clarity and purpose.” —Jacqui Marker
  • “Make sure the people who can help you get the job know that you want it. It’s incredible what can happen when we enable people to help us reach our potential.” —Laura Pardal
  • “Take some risks, say yes a lot more than what your brain tells you to. Some of those nods could open doors to a whole new experience.” —Radhika Radhakrishnan

Next, get more inspiration from 3 inspiring women-owned small businesses on their paths to success.