It’s easy to change career paths and upskill at Amazon
Senior program manager Keira Daley is one of the human brains behind Alexa, Amazon’s wildly successful voice AI option, and she loves that her role allows her to combine her background in journalism and musical theatre with her passion for tech and video games.
“I’ve written about 30 different songs or musical responses for Alexa, and they’ve gone all over the world, in all the different voices and languages of Alexa. Occasionally I’m Alexa’s back-up vocalist too,” explains Keira.
“One of the great things about working at Amazon is I learn how to do things I’ve never done before,” she says, explaining that she had never worked in product management before joining Amazon five years ago.
Keira works across a number of different areas, including managing the Amazon Kids and voice shopping products on Alexa, but creating content to build Alexa’s personality, especially for the Australian and New Zealand audience, is her favourite part of the job.
Amazon has taught Keira to look outside her comfort zone, and she urges anyone considering a career path to focus on the transferrable skills you can develop in a given role. “This whole field I work in didn’t even exist 10 years ago, and I love that there is a lot of variety to my role,” she says.
Amazon is a great place to build a valuable network of contacts!
Amazon Australia’s Production Lead, Marcel Varnel, credits his father who directed the 1960s TV series, Skippy, for sparking his love affair with the visual arts, and inspiring him to build a career in the entertainment and production industry.
“I grew up on the sets of Young Doctors, Secret Valley, Neighbours,” reveals Marcel, who says his dad urged him not to follow in his footsteps in the risky business of television. “But I just loved it. It was a wonderland for me.”
Marcel, 48, went on to work on feature films and various television productions before devoting 10 years plus to producing music television, music festival and concert performances. It was when his three children came along that he decided on another career change.
Marcel brings all that passion to his role at Amazon where he leads a small team of equally dedicated people tasked with producing live broadcasts to share key messaging to thousands of Amazon teams across Australia & New Zealand and the wider APJC region.
“You get exposed to things that people never get exposed to, and you meet people that you would never meet in any other world. I’ve met some amazing people and I’m always grateful that they let us into their world,” he says.
The sheer scale of Amazon means there are no limits on your career growth!
Gus Recaman, 40, grew up exploring the great outdoors in Colombia, and now he works to make the world a better place as Amazon Australia’s Snr. Sustainability Program Manager.
“I think it’s important to have a passion for what you do. I’m lucky that I’m working at something I like, and I know it’s not always possible. It’s a journey to get to that place where you want to be.
“Having a passion for your job makes it easier and more enjoyable. That passion for me is that I want to see positive change. I don’t want the status quo. I want to make the planet better and I want to make Amazon better, so that’s why I do it. I also really like what I do!”
Gus moved to Melbourne 14 years ago and worked in government, joining Amazon Australia two and a half years ago because he felt his role at Amazon would allow him to make a bigger impact on helping the planet.
“The scope and the opportunity for change at a company like Amazon interested me, and there is also a great variety to the role,” he says.
My best tip if you’re starting your career is to research the company to find your perfect match!
Emma Finizio, 33, earned a double degree in law and commerce and landing her dream job as Category Growth Manager at Amazon Australia.
“I always knew I wanted to do something where I got to learn every day and be around really clever people and learn even more,” explains Emma, who started at Amazon in 2021, and works in the soft lines fashion team in Sydney.
Emma was inspired to seek a career at Amazon after reading a book that detailed how the company was breaking new ground when it came to retail.
“I found it really, really intriguing because it was so different to every other retailer I had worked for,”
Emma says Amazon’s structure, recruitment processes and first-rate reputation for fostering talent create a dynamic and diverse working environment where people strive to be the best possible version of themselves.
“A great thing about the company is that you are not stuck in a career path and you are encouraged to move around to keep things interesting. There are roles you can move into to learn more and courses you can take to upskill. The business really supports us in that way.”
How embracing technology can improve your performance and make your job easier!
Physio David Harry is using artificial intelligence as a tool to improve the physical and mental health of Amazon associates as Amazon Australia’s first ever Senior Ergonomist.
“We are working on video AI software that can help us detect and analyse all postures with workers,” explains David, 37, who is determined to make a difference as Amazon Australia’s first ever senior ergonomist.
“There’s a lot of physical work involved in these workplaces so we are trying to innovate to bring in software that can help us figure out which jobs are potentially putting our people at risk. We’re trialling it in Australia right now.”
He believes tools like the AI program will help transform workplace health and safety practices, but says his most valuable resource is the associates who he consults in order to make a big impact with small but critical changes.
“There is a big focus in health and safety in preventing harm and avoiding risk. We want people to be able to go home from work and not be exhausted from their work. We want them to be able to enjoy their lives outside of work.”