You could see it in all the grins and assortment of hugs, fist bumps, and laughter-filled conversations in the food truck lines. It had been a minute.
A minute since Amazon Web Services (AWS) employees, “builders” as they are known in AWS parlance, had come together in person to just connect—about work, about family, and friends. The afternoon gathering was also a chance to connect with colleagues about whether to brave the line for fried chicken sandwiches, grilled corn on the cob, or the soba noodles that looked so delicious.
AWS CEO Adam Selipsky kicked off the event with a simple message: Everyone is a builder at AWS because everyone is a vital part of building the business. “Whether you're a software engineer, or you are selling our services,” Selipsky said. “Whether you're part of an accounting or finance team, or do legal agreements for our services, we’re all building a business together. We're all building for customers.”
Bumping into colleagues across teams and across the different parts of AWS along a two block stretch of 7th Avenue in Seattle was a reminder of the interconnection of people and skills that is so vital to a place like AWS. “It’s really important what we are all doing, and I find that when we’re together it’s easier to remember that,” Selipsky said. “I really encourage you to keep thinking about, and keep finding ways to come together.”
And there was one more thing that Selipsky exhorted the crowd of thousands to do. Have fun.
From the cheers that followed, that was not going to be a problem.
Here’s more of the day in photos.
7th Avenue running through the Amazon headquarters in Seattle was pedestrian only and food truck filled on Builders Day. AWS employees gathered together for a meal, fireside chats with senior leaders, and the opportunity to catch up IRL with each other.
AWS employees packed the sidewalk and plaza in front of the main stage to hear CEO Adam Selipsky address the crowd and join Dilip Kumar, vice president of AWS Applications, for a fireside chat.
Employees picked up information about volunteer opportunities and a variety of AWS affinity groups to join.
Builders Day was designed as a way to encourage connections across teams. From all the smiles and hugs going around, it certainly seemed to work.
Hundreds of employees volunteered together to put together 28,000 hygiene kits—including things like soap, shampoo, and toothpaste—for Clean the World, an organization that distributes hygiene products to underserved communities around the world. The event was one of more than 200 volunteer opportunities around Seattle between Aug. 15 to Sept. 16, Amazon’s Global Month of Volunteering
The street in front of Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle was briefly turned into a lively hub for people to connect and catch up over food and laughter.
Corn on the cob, street style, was just one of more than 20 delicious food options throughout the day. From Hawaiian poke bowls to miniature cupcakes to Kenyan cuisine, food cravings were satisfied.
Angelica Turner, left, is a principal program manager for AWS Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity. She helped organize an area in front of the re:Invent building featuring information from Amazon’s employee affinity groups, including the Black Employee Network and Asians at Amazon. She met colleague, Vena Rainwater, right, here for the first time during the event.