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 celebrate, for this month’s profile we spoke to Michelle Perroton, an Account Management Manager who also serves as a charter leader of Women@Payments. Michelle told us about the career moves that changed her perception of work, the importance of taking risks, and the quest to create a culture of emotional intelligence. Read on to hear about how Michelle is breaking the bias by working to dismantle conscious and unconscious biases toward gender equality.

Name: Michelle Perroton

Title: Account Management Manager, Amazon Pay, and Charter Leader, Women@Payments.

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About yourself: I’m an eighth-generation Californian who, after a four-year stint in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, is loving being back on the West Coast in the great Pacific Northwest for the past three years. I’ve enjoyed a diverse career in sales and business development, working for both small and large organisations, but what I remember most about each are the relationships I took with me. I hope the lasting impression I leave people with is my enthusiasm, passion and grit. I spend most of my time with my partner of 13 years, Micah, and my French bulldog, Mondo. I love games of any kind (cards, dominos, mahjong, etc.) and enjoy cultivating new hobbies. I’ve tried my hand at everything from marathon running (completed five full, 12 halves), learning to play the violin, knitting, woodworking, glassblowing, jigsaw puzzles, stand-up paddleboarding, sprint triathlons and ice skating. Some stick … some don’t, but I always enjoy trying to learn something new!

What do International Women’s Day and its 2022 theme, #BreakTheBias, mean to you?

Every single one of us has a role in continuing to stop conscious and unconscious bias that still exists.

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What did you dream of becoming when you were a little girl?

A marine biologist.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Not sure it was career advice, but something that has really shaped my professional and personal life in the last few years was being introduced to StrengthsFinder by a mentor in Consumer Payments. It’s a tool that has transformed how I view my own accomplishments and contributions, and relationships with others, both professionally and personally.

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What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of a risk I took to leave a corporate job I’d loved for over six years, when following an acquisition and subsequent painful divestiture. I realised that the leadership approach had shifted under the new ownership, and there was no longer a mutual value exchange. I was investing significantly more into the company, than they were investing in me. Rather than jump into another corporate role, I used my knowledge and experience to work as a partner/business development consultant, and developed a steady engagement of full-time work. This experience helped shape my perception of “work” and contributed to better understanding the value (my unique skills and experiences) I bring to an organisation whether by traditional or nontraditional means.

How important is it for women to lift each other up, and what does that mean to you?

I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of amazing women throughout my career and witness women championing other women. Rather than viewing opportunities as scarce and guarding for themselves, these women recognise that opportunities are abundant and bring others along with them.

In your opinion, how do our individual conversations, behaviors, and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?

One of the most exciting things I’ve happened upon at Amazon is a scrappy group that is working to further a culture of emotional intelligence. Recognising that, we each have a responsibility in how we engage with others, and can do so with greater intention and curiosity. My favorite quote from Maya Angelou exemplifies this sentiment: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”