You may know Amazon as one of the most customer-centric companies in the world, but we’re just as people-oriented behind the scenes. We’re pulling back the curtain to give you a glimpse into the lives of the people who make Amazon so great.
March is Women’s History Month, and this year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is “Break the Bias”. To help celebrate, we spoke to Andrea Amati, Senior Programme Manager at Amazon Pay. With a passion for giving back and living a sustainable, meaningful life, Andrea is also co-chair of the Amazon Sustainability Ambassadors programme at the EU Headquarters in Luxembourg. To Andrea, the key to breaking the bias is being connected, sharing our experiences, and normalising conversations about gender equality. To accomplish this, she says women need to create networks, lift each other up, and celebrate their accomplishments. Read on to hear about how Andrea focuses on the bigger picture to inspire herself and others in the workplace and beyond.
Name: Andrea Amati
Title: Senior Programme Manager, Amazon Pay
About yourself: I’m Andrea Amati, Senior Programme Manager at Amazon Pay, located in the beautiful country of Luxembourg. I’m responsible for designing, developing and coordinating launch of new product releases across EU locales, and leading the analysis and improvement of the Amazon Pay end-customer experience. In the past, I’ve held various roles from account management to portfolio management, and I speak five languages fluently.
I’d describe myself as an open and direct person who is always looking for the next learning opportunity. I love being outdoors and travelling, enjoying nature, hiking and distance-biking. Giving back and living a sustainable and meaningful life are essential to me.
What did you dream of becoming when you were a little girl?
Lovely question as I clearly remember myself as a little girl with bold ideas regarding my future career. This had a lot to do with the way my parents raised me and the role models I was surrounded by, including aunts, teachers and neighbours — strong and independent women, passionate about their careers.
It all started with a vision of me as an architect, followed by ideas of being the Minister of Tourism, a physics teacher, or a translator/interpreter. For some of these ideas, I gave them a try and experienced if I was enjoying them. It was trial and error, and then I slowly and steadily took the next steps leading me to my current role as a Senior Programme Manager responsible for the Amazon Pay EU CX and driving regulatory programmes.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
Invest in yourself and in getting to know yourself. This includes all forms of education, from formal education (school, university, etc.) to taking additional courses and strengthening your skills, reading specialised books, and even listening to ideas and speeches of people you look up to. Also, observe what you are passionate about and get comfortable with your talents, but also with areas where you would like to develop yourself. This way you can be true to yourself and will know exactly where you are in your career and what your path should be.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I was hesitant answering this question, but then I read of studies still showing that women leaders in particular shy away from sharing their accomplishments as they don’t want to be perceived as conceited or arrogant. We still have a reaction of needing to shrink ourselves, which has to be eliminated for good.
Generally, I’m proud of the life decisions I’ve made, of becoming the person I want to be, and of my life-long-learning attitude toward life. Specifically, I’m proud of my volunteering activities, including co-chairing the Amazon Sustainability Ambassadors programme in the EU Headquarters, and of recently getting my master’s degree in PR and advertising.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in your career? How did you overcome them?
Great question, and I believe all women have their own list of challenges they could share. When it comes to my experience, I faced general, but also very specific, barriers tied to my age as there were times I was considered too young to hold certain positions or even get a promotion. When it comes to the microaggressions I have been facing, this includes being interrupted or spoken over, colleagues assuming they knew what I wanted to say and speaking on my behalf, etc.
Overcoming these barriers is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly needs exercise, patience and tons of courage. What worked for me, as mentioned earlier, was knowing myself and my skills very well, as this gave me confidence and clarity about my position. And it certainly helped with minimising and overcoming the effect of the impostor syndrome many of us carry around.
How important is it for women to lift each other up, and what does that mean to you?
More important than we think. Even though there was so much progress done in the past years by women, we are still very much lagging behind the full potential we need to achieve. Lifting women up equals progress for our generation and certainly for the ones that are coming, as representation matters. I’ve been blessed to grow up in a family with very strong women, and this certainly paved my path to become a leader. I want to make sure I continue paving paths and enable others to do it as well.
In your opinion, how do our individual conversations, behaviours, and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?
We need to think of the bigger picture here. Networking, being connected and sharing our experiences shape our current society and reality. By doing this, we set the bar higher and inspire others to do so as well as we normalise these conversations. We all need inspiration and growth in our lives, which can be in a form of a one-on-one mentorship, deep conversations, and exchanging experiences and ideas within panels or similar events. This has to continue, and we need to make sure we include more women.