When Aveena Mathew (she/her) was growing up, she never imagined that she'd be able to live openly with a wife and child like she does today.
Mathew met her future wife Alissa Mathew in 2017, and they quickly realized that they “were each other's one.” She asked Alissa's parents for permission to marry their daughter, which they granted. But coming out to her traditional Indian family and telling them about Alissa was considerably more difficult.
“We got engaged on a Friday, and I came out to my family the following Monday. It was so painful,” said Mathew. Despite her family’s disapproval, Mathew and Alissa tied the knot in what Mathew describes as the “best wedding in the world, hands down,” and they are now proud moms to their daughter, Sloan.
Support within Amazon
Nine months ago, Mathew joined the Amazon Ads team as a senior brand strategist. Having faced many challenges while becoming her whole self, Mathew knew she wanted to be part of a company and team that fostered diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), especially for the LGBTQIA+ and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Mathew was able to find that support within Amazon from the beginning of her journey.
During Mathew’s application process with Amazon Ads, the hiring manager talked about the importance of DEI and how he wants diversity to be at the forefront of what they do as a team. After a conversation around DEI initiatives and meeting the team, Mathew was convinced that this was where she wanted to be.
“Representation matters. I feel that diverse teams bring people together. The Amazon Ads team feels like a safe place, especially as an LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC woman,” said Mathew. “When I first met the team, I felt their genuine kindness and empathy. I spoke to them candidly, and it put me at ease knowing that a few folks on the team were also moms.”
For Mathew and her team, diversity in their backgrounds, experiences, heritage, and culture is what helps drive the innovation and collaboration. This enables the team to better ideate, find, and deliver solutions for their customers.
Besides actively encouraging and contributing to DEI conversations on her team, Mathew is also part of several Amazon affinity groups, including Glamazon, Asians@Amazon, and Families@Amazon.
“For me, affinity groups make me feel part of a community. Most Amazon locations have a local chapter, so employees can physically meet co-workers,” she said. “You can also interact with affinity groups online, so you can talk to people who understand where you’re coming from. That’s important.”
Mathew says that living authentically is a freedom she never experienced before. Her advice to others is to lead with love.
“If you lead with love, it changes things,” said Mathew. “Love allows space for people to feel safe and understand each other better. That's how we try to live our lives, and it’s something we want to teach our daughter. I feel so lucky that I can be an Indian woman who's gay and absolutely in love. I'm living my life freely with a beautiful child. What a blessing.”