When the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team set out to highlight inclusion, diversity, and equity (ID&E) at AWS, the team wanted to feature actual employees so the message would be about real people and progress, not just good intentions.
The team reached out across AWS to find employees—known as AWS builders—who wanted to share their experiences with ID&E, and more than 400 employees volunteered to participate.
AWS Employer Brand set out to show why AWS is the best place for diverse talent to build and learn. Ashlee Spinoso, ID&E marketing manager for AWS Employer Brand, said the creative highlights the incredible work happening across the business and showcases how AWS builders are making an impact with their customers around the world.
“AWS has been working on ID&E efforts for some time. We have seen success with our inclusion ambassadors, affinity groups like BEN (Black Employee Network), and cultivating tech skills in schools,” Spinoso said. “We want to be proactive about telling stories that showcase our commitment to ID&E.”
Proud to work at AWS
In the initial casting call, the team met with dozens of AWS builders who volunteered to share personal stories about what ID&E means to them. These stories helped shape the creative theme and script for a 60-second video.
To meet the video’s goals, the team had to show the collaborative, optimistic, and supportive nature of AWS’s work culture, and how AWS builders embody these principles.
Global builder talent
The AWS builders featured were based in or near the Seattle, London, and Singapore filming locations. What unified them was a desire to showcase what people from diverse backgrounds can achieve and how AWS has made them feel included in the workplace.
“It is important to show people what their possibilities are when choosing a career path,” said Laura Verghote, an associate technical trainer at AWS in London. “Especially in industries like technology, it is important to show that people from all genders, races, and backgrounds can be successful and are accepted for their unique identities.”
Dei’Marlon Scisney, an associate account executive for emerging independent software vendors at AWS in Seattle, saw participation as an opportunity to continue the advocacy that he’s been passionate about since college.
“I was a chairman for diversity and inclusion back in my college days, and I feel like I’ve been able to continue my passions and work in this space, which has been amazing,” Scisney said. “This was a perfect opportunity to step up and step out to be part of something that is company-wide and company driven.”
Jacqueline May Fong Yew, a program manager supporting the Singapore sales team, jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the conversation. She said that AWS recognizes and values her skills, despite her non-technical background.
“I’m very passionate and excited about sharing how working at AWS has been the highlight of my career journey,” Yew said. “I was encouraged to present my authentic self on video—it made me feel valued in the organization.”
Telling builder stories
As the team works to amplify the voices of AWS builders around the world, they aim to build upon these stories about why AWS is the best place to build and learn. Read on for more AWS builders’ personal stories about AWS’s commitment to ID&E.
“I want the Latinx community, specifically those who identify as women, to know that they too belong at AWS.”—Elizabeth Armendariz, program manager, Seattle
“For me, it is an honor to contribute to the representation of women in technical roles. When looking for your path and finding where you belong, it matters so much to see people working there you can identify with. Personally, I am super passionate about encouraging women to take ownership of their careers and to show them the possibilities that they have with their talents, as I know what such support did for me.” —Romy van Es, partner solutions architect for AWS, UK and Ireland
“I wanted to contribute to promoting diversity and equity because I feel sometimes we get a little bit of unfair coverage from the general public. I wanted to share my story that Amazon, in my experience, is a diverse organization, and there are opportunities for people like me to work and thrive here.”—Kehinde Otubamowo, senior partner solutions architect – database, Seattle
“I am autistic and I feel like I don’t have to put on a persona at Amazon. I can just be myself. I have worked at companies where I have to be very careful what I say and how I act around coworkers, as they were not as inclusive and understanding.” —Ana Steele, software development engineer, Seattle
"Working at AWS is one of the best experiences in my 20-year career journey, everyone has a voice and your voice is heard equally. This culture allows us to never stop bringing new ideas, creativity, and innovations to the team and workplace. I strongly believe that the more diversified and inclusive the team and company culture, the more innovations we can drive for customers.”—Aumaporn Armradist, head of public sector marketing, ASEAN
“I was happy to reach out to the wider community and inspire and advocate inclusion as an integral part of our company values. We want to inspire the next generation to look up to female and diverse role models, ask questions, seek mentorship, and bring out the best in themselves without prejudice or apprehensions. At AWS, we walk the talk, break down silos, and welcome everyone for who they are.”—Suchanda Mandal, strategic partner engagement leader, Singapore
“I would like future job seekers to understand that we value and respect them for their diverse background and they will find in AWS a workplace where they can truly express themselves, be heard, and be listened to.”
—Linda Dadjo, network development manager, Seattle
“Representation matters, and I wanted to do my part, so that we—AWS and Amazon—continue to attract diverse talent and be part of the change that matters for generations to come. I never saw myself represented growing up, whether on TV or in management positions, so for me it is important to show that things have changed. There is a lot of work to be done and I want continue to be part of this change.” —Krishni Rajah, account manager, UK and Ireland field sales
“I am the mom of a 7-year-old, and for the past two years I have done a tightrope balancing act between taking care of my personal responsibilities and my team and customers. I want working women everywhere to know that our challenges are real, and we have an opportunity to address them so we are not only surviving in the workplace but thriving.”—Harini Gokul, customer solutions leader, Seattle
“I’ve always liked the diversification of thought. I’m from Hawaii, and a lot of people in Hawaii don’t always know what’s out there and the potential for growth opportunities. Being part of this conversation helps us talk about what’s possible in the tech world.”—Tyler Burch, global category lead for contact centers, AWS marketplace, Seattle
“Visibility is so important for young people. If you can’t see people who look and sound like you in a company, it’s so much more difficult to feel you would be welcome there.”—Charlene Manning, business development manager for public sector, London
“A lot of companies use the words diversity, inclusion, equity, and so on, but they don't really put it into action. At AWS, I really do see that they are serious about diversity and inclusion, and diverse hiring.”—Alex Anderson, executive assistant, Seattle
“I wanted to represent Filipinos at AWS—and make sure we are celebrated for our culture. I knew that I would meet people who are passionate about the same causes I am—ID&E, immigration, women in tech.”—Czarina Tabayoyong, recruiter for professional services application optimization, Seattle