Meet Amazon employees gearing up for this holiday season

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Since the start of 2020 we’ve created more than 400,000 permanent new jobs around the world. We work hard to innovate for, and meet the needs of, our customers every day—and as a result of unprecedented demand, we’ve been hiring and investing in communities around the globe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon has hired more than 49,000 people in California, 10,000 in Ohio, 9,000 in Illinois, 12,000 in North Carolina, and 8,000 in Michigan—to name few of the states where we are investing. These are full- and part-time permanent roles across our operations network, data centers, tech hubs, and corporate offices.

Our employees embrace customer obsession and passion for invention, and they see Amazon as a great place to develop their careers. This year alone, we’ve promoted more than 35,000 operations employees in the U.S. and more than 30,000 people have participated in our Career Choice program since we launched this initiative, which pre-pays up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in fields of study that help employees transition into higher-paying, in-demand jobs available in their communities.

No other U.S. company has created more jobs than Amazon over the last decade—and all our full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs in the U.S. come with a minimum starting wage of $15 per hour—more than double the federal minimum wage. We offer permanent employees healthcare from day one, 401(k) matching, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave, and access to company-funded upskilling programs. For these reasons and many others, Forbes ranked Amazon #2 on their World’s Best Employers list after surveying 160,000 employees from 750 companies around the world. Survey participants rated satisfaction with their employers’ COVID-19 response, economic footprint, talent development, gender equality, and social responsibility.

So many amazing people are making a difference for customers. From engineers turning their living spaces into labs while they work from home, to supply chain specialists building a lab in two weeks to offer free COVID-19 testing to our employees, to front-line employees in our stores and operations network, this year over one million Amazon employees will play a role in continuing to delight customers during the holiday season.

Meet a few of our employees:

Heather Mayberry, Regional Workplace Health & Safety Manager in Goodyear, Arizona

A woman wearing a safety vest and mask inspects a hand-washing station.

“My focus is doing everything I can to protect those who work at Amazon,” said Heather Mayberry, a Regional Workplace Health & Safety Manager for Amazon’s Sortation Centers in the West Region of the U.S.

As a member of one of the world’s largest Employee Health and Safety teams, Mayberry is at the forefront of Amazon’s response to COVID-19. That meant implementing 150 process improvements since the start of the pandemic.

“I want to help us all go home safely to our families each day,” she said.

Since starting at Amazon nearly 12 years ago, Mayberry has received several promotions, and earned her emergency medical technician certification in her spare time. She currently leads a team of 11 health and safety managers to ensure a safe work environment for thousands of employees.

“Amazon has allowed me to grow and build a solid career,” said Mayberry. “To this day, it still allows me to provide for my family.”

Read more of Mayberry’s story.

Mike Mackay, Specialist Solutions Architect in London, UK

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Mike Mackay spent most of his childhood and teen years in the hospital battling Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic condition that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.

“It’s like slowly drowning as your lungs lose their capacity,” he said. “I wasn’t living: I was merely existing.”

To keep busy during hospital stays, Mackay studied web development. Over time, his passion for coding grew, but his health condition worsened. His chances of receiving a life-saving lung transplant were slim, but he refused to give up hope for his future. “I used to tell myself: ‘When I am better…,’” he said. “I refused to become a statistic.”

In 2007, Mackay received a terminal diagnosis and underwent a double lung transplant, a gift that would change his life forever.

“It was like flipping a switch and, in a moment, my life was turned upside down. I went from being terminally ill to having this future in front of me. It was surreal,” he said.

Following his surgery, Mackay’s health improved, and he began his career in web development. He eventually found a role at Amazon Web Services (AWS), starting as a Solutions Architect in 2017. Mackay has received two promotions since then, and is now a Specialist Solutions Architect.

“Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m working here,” he said. “When I am on the train, commuting to work, I think I’ve got the best job.”

Read more of Mackay’s story.

Andre Grass, IT Tech in Phoenix, Arizona

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“I just needed somebody to give me a chance,” said Andre Grass. After dropping out of high school as a teenager to help support his family, Grass thought his career options were limited. He wanted to find meaningful work, but didn’t know where to start. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said.

Eventually, Grass joined Amazon as a packer in a fulfillment center—someone who gets customer orders for shipping. After a few months on the job, he heard about A2Tech, associate to technician, an Amazon program designed to give fulfillment center associates a way to move into high skilled careers by providing necessary training and industry certifications.

“It was probably one of the biggest deals that happened in my life, knowing that Amazon would put even more effort into developing me,” said Grass.

He followed his interest in technology and started a 90-day A2Tech course where he built his IT skill set and learned about the technologies that power Amazon. Today, Grass works as an IT Technician at a Phoenix Amazon fulfillment center. He helps keep the many computers, scanners, and other intricate pieces of technology working smoothly. When an associate on the floor has an issue, he helps fix it.

Read more of Grass’s story here.

Ryan Frank, Head of Marketplace in Madrid, Spain

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“My team is in the business of empowerment,” said Ryan Frank, Head of Marketplace in Spain. “We develop tools and services that help selling partners reach millions of customers across Europe and around the globe.”

Frank leads a team of seven employees responsible for building experiences for customers and selling partners in the Spanish Marketplace.

“It’s great to see that our investments are helping customers find more selection at lower prices with fast delivery,” he said.

Frank has received several promotions since starting at Amazon nearly eight years ago, and even relocated from the UK for his current position. Previously, he was the Head of the Amazon Marketplace Fashion business in the UK, a role in which he helped grow the business and scale programs such as Launchpad. He learned of the opening for his current role in 2018 and moved more than 1,400 miles south to fill it.

On how things are going since the big move, Frank said, “I love my team, living in Madrid, and improving my Spanish—though I have a long road before achieving fluency.”

Read more of Frank’s story.

Meera Narayanan, Director of Regional Operations in Mumbai, India

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“I lead a team of 7,000,” said Meera Narayanan, Director of Regional Operations at Amazon in India. “I’m a virtual manager over a team that services seven core market places in 10 languages across seven sites.”

As the leader of a large, international team, Narayanan, works virtually across different time zones to lead the Organization Health function in her region.

Though working with a globally dispersed team has its challenges, Narayanan said she’s created a “virtual presence” that allows her to effectively support her team without frequent travel.

“I’ve invested my time to ensure I’m always available for my team—even if it’s a simple video or a voice call for five minutes,” said Narayanan. “Amazon provides an empowering ecosystem where I can feel passionate and enthusiastic about going that extra mile to contribute and add value.”

Read more of Narayanan’s story.

Yune Sano, Customer Service Manager in the Aomori prefecture, Japan

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As her grandparents were getting older and losing their health, Yune Sano, began to think about leaving her job in Tokyo and going back to her hometown to live with her family.

“I wanted to be around to provide support for them—even if that only meant helping with simple tasks like changing a light bulb,” Sano said.

The problem was, the jobs-to-applicants ratio in her hometown, the Aomori Prefecture, is significantly lower than the national average. After some research, Sano found that she didn’t have to work for a company located in Aomori in order to live there.

“I looked online to see if there were places to work in Aomori and learned about working for Amazon’s Virtual Customer Service (VCS) team, which enables people to work from home anywhere in Japan,” said Sano.

Sano applied and received an offer for a temporary role on the VCS team—that role eventually turned into a full-time job. After working for Amazon for more than two years, Sano is now a Virtual Customer Service Manager leading a team of 24 agents.

“I want to create a more comfortable working environment and increase the number of people working like me,” she said.

Read more of Sano’s story.

Kevin Blackburn Fulfillment Associate in the Brownstown, Michigan

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Kevin Blackburn was completing a job as a professional painter when he bumped into a power line, sending a surge of electricity through his body. Due to the nature of his injuries, doctors had to amputate both of his hands.

As he healed, Blackburn said he couldn’t help but worry about his future. “The whole time I’m in the hospital I’m thinking ‘what am I going to do?’”

Three years passed and unemployment seemed endless. Blackburn was losing hope until he found JVS Human Services, a Michigan non-profit that works with Amazon to employ individuals with disabilities at Amazon facilities.

Blackburn applied and underwent a work simulation test to ensure the job would be a good fit. He received one of the highest scores JVS had ever seen. Amazon offered Blackburn a seasonal role at a sortation facility just three miles from his home. “My kids were excited to see me go back to work,” he said.

After excelling in his role for five months, Blackburn received a full-time job offer. He has now worked at Amazon for two years, and continues to enjoy his work as a Fulfillment Associate.

“Being a hard worker does pay off,” Blackburn said. “Amazon is in my future.”

Read more of Blackburn’s story here.

Lizzy Soto Hernandez, Senior Data Scientist in Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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Lizzy Soto Hernandez traveled 3,400 miles for the opportunity to study at Amazon’s Machine Learning University (MLU). Previously a Data Scientist at the Amazon office in her native Costa Rica, Hernandez moved to a role at the company’s headquarters in Seattle so she could join a growing group of Amazon employees who take MLU courses and return to their teams, or new roles, with graduate-school-level knowledge.

Hernandez and her peers use the skills they learn at MLU to help make machine learning a core part of Amazon’s voice, vision, data, robotics, and decision systems.

Hernandez completed the program and worked in Seattle for nearly three years before moving to the Luxembourg office. She has received multiple promotions during her five years at Amazon, and is now a Senior Data Scientist for the Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Read more of Hernandez’s story.

Yousri Omar, Senior Corporate Counsel in Seattle, Washington

An Amazon lawyer provides pro-bono support for guests at Mary's Place family shelter with legal issues.

“It’s powerful to see a guest’s face when they realize, ‘This is a lawyer who’s actually going to help. This is a lawyer who is on my side,’” said Yousri Omar.

Omar, a Senior Corporate Counsel on the Business Conduct and Ethics team, is part of a group of legal professionals at Amazon who provide pro bono legal support to guests of Mary’s Place emergency family shelter.

“Many of these folks have been trying to navigate the legal system for years,” said Omar. “More often than not, they don’t have the kind of representation that would allow them to solve their problems.”

Amazon launched its pro bono legal support program in 2018, and Omar and his peers on the legal team have donated over 1,500 hours and assisted more than 250 members of the community through legal clinics since then.

“I’m incredibly proud to be a part of Amazon’s Legal team, whose continued dedication to providing pro bono legal services to underrepresented communities is incredible,” he said.

Read more about Omar’s work with Mary’s Place here.

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