We’re all busy and our time is precious. Those that can give a little bit more by volunteering their time selflessly without anything in return but a job well done are the heroes among us.
For this month’s Profile in Pay we are championing some of the silent leaders who drive our volunteer efforts for Amazon Pay across the globe including Takahisa Toyodome in Japan, Andreea Amati in Europe, and Garmany Yeager in the United States.
Learn more about these volunteers, including their time at Amazon and some of the causes that fill their cup.
How long have you been at Amazon and what has been your journey here?
Takahisa Toyodome: I joined Amazon in June 2011 as Seller Service Mass Account Manager. I came to know the then called “Amazon Payments” business in 2013 when in a Q&A session, Tom Taylor commented that “Payments would be Amazon’s next innovation”. Shortly after Amazon Payments country expansion to Japan was approved, and I joined to launch “Login and Pay with Amazon” in Japan. I have seen a lot of new innovations in Amazon Pay. I am really enjoying my work and proud of being part of the Amazon Pay family.
Andreea Amati: I have been with Amazon Pay for almost 6 years. During this time, I have grown professionally and personally, due to the variety of roles I had, from technical Account Management to Portfolio and Program Management, and the teams I worked with and topics I worked on. Amazon Pay has given me the platform to grow in the role and career I aspired to have since I graduated college. My current journey as a Senior Program Manager is a mix between complex problem solving, intense customer focus and balancing ambiguous projects.
Garmany Yeager: I’ve been with Amazon for 4 years, starting at one of our Customer Service sites in Lexington, Kentucky as a Customer Service Manager. There I worked with our frontline associates and was able to gain operational knowledge of our CS processes. In 2018, I moved to Amazon Pay (and Seattle!) as the Merchant Support Manager for the North American Merchant Support team. Our merchants are our customers too, so it was exciting getting to support and work with another segment of our customer base. Currently, I manage a team of Technical Account Managers who support our managed merchants and work to improve processes by working backwards from our customers.
What types of volunteer activities have you done with Amazon Pay and Amazon? Is there a particular cause you are most passionate about?
Garmany Yeager: I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that so values volunteerism and making an impact. I lead a committee for our Americas team that focuses on giving back in the community and some of my most favourite things we’ve been able to do are meal donations to medical staff, food donations to support Mary’s Place graduation ceremonies, and facility donations to Northwest Harvest, a local food pantry.
I do try to help in as many areas as I can, but I’m particularly passionate about animal welfare and supporting organisations like Best Friends, which has no-kill animal sanctuaries all over the country and better the world through kindness to animals.
Takahisa Toyodome: I decided to volunteer for a cause close to my heart, the “Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11”. I was a member of Amazon’s Japan “Great East Japan Earthquake” volunteer committee and led activities for four years. Our activities were 1) cleaning up debris in the first two years, 2) social networking with people affected by the earthquake and 3) recovering damaged pictures to save people’s memories.
Andreea Amati: I am deeply passionate about participating in volunteering activities around sustainability, education as well as supporting local organisations. I co-chair the Amazon Luxembourg sustainability chapter, where we organised a sustainable wrapping event last Christmas, where 102 presents were wrapped, and money was raised for the charity organisations Caritas and Natur & Ëmwelt (a local non-profit organisation, which supports biodiversity in Luxembourg), as well as hosted an Upcycling Bazaar and continuously distribute information on local recycling guidelines and sustainable alternatives.
Question: Do you have a memorable volunteer moment?
Takahisa Toyodome: When I volunteered to clean up debris for the first time, I was impressed that Amazon colleagues first discussed the process and then tracked productivity of our clean up activities. I felt that this was an example of Amazon’s efficient operations. I am also proud that Amazon Pay is contributing to disaster relief with a scalable and sustainable solution.
Garmany Yeager: My most memorable volunteer moment was at the Customer Service site in Kentucky. Every year, the site partners with the Salvation Army and purchases and wraps hundreds of presents for children.
Andreea Amati: I believe the greatest gift you can give someone is your time combined with your undivided attention. Every event that had a direct or indirect impact on someone's quality of life, health, education or general well-being is a highly rewarding feeling and memorable in so many ways. A memorable example of an education-related volunteering event was last December, when Amazon invited 50 girls, aged 11-15, from different Luxembourgish schools to our EU HQ in Luxembourg for STEM workshops around science and technology subjects. We created an inspiring environment for these girls and introduced them to the world of science, programming and sustainability in fun and practical ways.
Andreea, how does volunteering fit in your work and personal life?
Andreea Amati: Volunteering, in its many shapes, was part of my life for as long as I can remember. I consider giving back essential and a great way to stay grounded. I truly believe, fitting volunteering, as other activities, in your busy schedule is a conscious choice. You just have to make time for it. And with every choice that you make on a recurring basis, this will grow into a habit. One of the tricks I like to apply is to align my volunteering efforts with other hobbies of mine, like hiking. This fall, I participated at the Cleanup Day Luxembourg challenge, where I cleaned up 150L of landfill and 40L of recyclable packaging on a 15km hiking trail.