Carla Vernón, Rocio Guerrero, and Javiera Balmaceda are not only shaping Amazon’s key business areas, they’re helping uplift the voices of their communities. In their roles as vice president of Consumables Categories, global head of Latin music, and head of Originals for Prime Video in Latin America, these influential women are curating and creating access to music, entertainment, beauty, and more, all while encouraging others be their true selves and bring their unique gifts forward.
Carla Vernón, vice president of Consumables Categories
As Amazon’s VP of Consumables Categories, Vernón oversees product categories that include groceries, household products, beauty, and others. She is a self-described grocery-store geek who loves her role in bringing Amazon Everyday Essentials to the doorsteps and dropboxes of customers across the U.S. Every day, Vernón and her team raise the bar for bringing more and better selection to meet customer needs and wants. As a proud Afro-Latina, she is determined not to let societal expectations define her—in leadership or in life. As a result, she is now more vocal than ever about her heritage, whether as a leader at Amazon, in her community, or on social media, celebrating Latina brands, movements, and achievements.
“It is tough, because the common perceptions of Latino culture make it seem like Black people don’t exist in the Latino community. To me, comunidad is an agreement that we will see each other, welcome each other, support each other, and celebrate or comfort one another with a full, authentic sense of inclusion. My father was from Panama. It is a small country but we are so proud for people to learn more about our history. Latinidad is so rich and diverse. It offers us all an opportunity to learn something new—but we must always start from a foundation of interest and acceptance of one another.”
Vernón believes in the power of media and pop culture to help introduce us all to new cultures and perspectives, and to help normalize what can seem different or unfamiliar. “We saw a Black president in movies and TV before we saw one in real life. We embraced gay, trans, and nonbinary culture through TV, movies, and music before many of us got comfortable with it in our everyday communities. Recently, we have started to see a wider array of Latinidad.”
For Vernón, an important part of her Panamanian culture are the handmade pieces of art created and hand-stitched from brightly colored fabric called molas from the Indigenous community of the Kuna tribe. “When I was little, my dad would bring small artifacts like coin purses or clothing with molas on them and they were gorgeous. When I was 17, I went to Panama and bought two dresses with molas woven on them. I wore one to my college graduation and still have those dresses in my closet today.”
Rocio Guerrero, global head of Latin music
Passionate about the way music connects people, Guerrero is the first global head of Latin music at Amazon Music, where, she leads strategy for Latin music, including the launch of Amazon Music LAT!N, which is celebrating its first anniversary during Hispanic Heritage Month. The brand is a new global destination developed to celebrate the many genres and artists of Latin Music. Guerrero and her team work to create unique experiences to connect fans and artists through music and more. She thinks of it as a journey—a Latin music journey.
“Latin music is so rich and diverse—from salsa to reggaeton, regional Mexican, and much more. At the end of the day, we're helping build the soundtrack of peoples’ lives.”
Having worked with global superstars including J Balvin and Bad Bunny, Guerrero finds herself constantly inspired by those in the music business. She admires them for “breaking the rules,” and finding worldwide fame while maintaining their authenticity. She feels that her team’s impact is very powerful, especially for many who aren’t English speakers and are navigating between multiple cultures and languages. Born in Spain, Guerrero can relate, and is proud of all that they have been able to accomplish in a second language. “I'm often self-conscious about it, but I don’t let it stop me. So, while it's harder, it makes it that much more rewarding.”
Javiera Balmaceda, head of Originals, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile for Prime Video
Balmaceda, or Javi, as she’s known among friends, family, and colleagues, spends her days unearthing and elevating stories from Spanish-speaking Latin American countries as the head of Originals for Prime Video in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile. As part of her role, she aims to show the rich diversity of experiences, appearances, and perspectives of those cultures. For Balmaceda, it’s important that diversity isn’t just represented in front of the camera—it needs to be represented behind the scenes as well.
“I have a very particular experience as a Latina, one who is an immigrant, a native Spanish-speaker, and white. That is different from other Latinos. We can’t truly say we’re diverse unless we’re making sure Latinx individuals from across the diaspora are welcomed at the decision-making table.”
She hopes that her work will encourage future storytellers, and that she can continue to create a path forward for Latin American creators to tell stories that do not involve tropes and stereotypes. “These creators can showcase stories about love, sci-fi, super heroes, city life—whatever is personal to them. Humanity transcends, and because it’s a Latino/a/x story it doesn’t have to fit into a box.”
She is inspired and empowered by the Latinas she works with at Amazon Studios because they push her to do her best, and are available for candid conversations around imposter syndrome, while also supporting projects that are culturally important.
Meet more Hispanic Amazon employees who are innovating for our customers and learn how their culture inspires their customer obsession.