Q: In what capacity did you serve in the U.S. military?
A: I served in the Indiana Army National Guard for six years. After basic training, I went to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where I trained with hundreds of other soldiers to become a medical professional. As a 68W (combat medic specialist), I was first trained to be a Nationally Registered EMT, which ultimately helped me become qualified for a job at Amazon a few years later.
Q: When did you join Amazon? What is your current position in the company?
A: I joined Amazon in September 2012. I just had my six-year “Ama-versary,” so this is officially my longest-held position after the Indiana National Guard! I am currently a Regional Accommodation Consultant. I provide support for the business and employees in Southern Indiana, Louisville, Shepherdsville, Campbellsville, and Lexington, Kentucky, primarily regarding medical accommodations and job modifications.
Q: How has your military background helped prepare you for your current job?
A: In my role, I get to meet a lot of wonderful people who come from very exciting and different backgrounds. Sometimes just having an understanding of “the military way”—from language to behavior—can help me to earn trust and deliver results for so many of my customers, the internal employees.
I spent a few years as an EMT before starting to work at Amazon in the Environmental Health & Safety Team as an Onsite Medical Representative. That role prepared me for my current role by better understanding how to safely adapt work spaces, environments, and behaviors. In order for work spaces to be inclusive for all employees, they must be adaptive, but they must also be safe. That’s a tall order and takes significant teamwork. Thank goodness I came from an amazing team, almost all of whom were also either actively serving or veterans, including my former manager.
I was really honored to spend time serving in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. Learning very early in life to be humble and thankful for what and who you have can make you inherently more patient with others, and realize that sometimes, you just need to slow down and listen. I often work with folks who are having a hard time, are in pain emotionally or physically, and need someone to talk to, or just need someone to hear them, and that is alright with me. I take things slow, try to be patient, and listen as often as I can because you never know what it may mean to others around you.
Working on the Leave of Absence & Accommodation Team (LOAA), I often get asked questions about anything to do with leaves and accommodations in general, and I am glad to be able to share that we have specialized case managers who know and understand military LOA for our National Guard & Reservist team members. It can be hard to change your lifestyle back and forth as a National Guardsman/Reservist, but luckily, it doesn’t have to be hard to take the time off of work at Amazon. Plus, there are so many military and veteran team members, it is completely normal to take the time off to maintain the training required as a Guardsman/Reservist.
Q: How does Amazon support your career goals?
A: Amazon has amazing education programs for employees. Advancing my education has certainly assisted with advancing my career at Amazon. Prior to being in my current role, I participated in the Career Choice program while I was taking online coursework. It was 95% paid for by Amazon! In my current role, Amazon has helped me to become an expert in my field and provide greater resources for my customers.
Q: What's the best thing about coming to work each day? Is there a "perk" to your job that might surprise people?
A: I truly enjoy when I get to meet new people and hear their life stories. For example, I met a young man recently who told me about his military service and how he served all over the world decades ago. He was in the special forces and got married to his wife when they were 17 and 18 years old. We discussed his background in adaptive martial arts and learned that we had both been to the same national amputee conference in Louisville in 2017! He is an instructor for adaptive self-defense, works at Amazon, and I get to work with him, as well as so many other amazing people like him, every day.