An Affinity for Infinity
MEET THE AWS TEAM
Amazon’s mission is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company, and this mission is central to their work in inclusion, diversity, and equity. “We are committed to doing our part to ensure all technology is developed in a way that’s inclusive, diverse, and equitable in all aspects, including gender,” says Michelle Hardie, Head of Strategy, Operations, Enablement and Engagement. “Inclusive, diverse, and equitable teams have a positive impact on our products and services, and help us better serve customers.”
Amazon Web Services is part of the Amazon group of companies, ranging from household names like Audible, Amazon Prime and Amazon.com. To create a feeling of connectedness and inclusion, Amazon created Affinity Groups. “The thirteen Affinity Groups comprise over 90,000 Amazonians across hundreds of chapters around the world who passionately and positively impact our company, each with an executive sponsor that ensures these groups are engaging at every level of the company,” comments Michelle. Some examples of Amazon’s affinity groups include the Black Employee Network, Glamazon (Amazon’s LGBTQI+ Affinity Group), Indigenous @Amazon, Women at Amazon, Mental Health and Well-Being and Amazon People with Disabilities.
Through these groups, employees learn of different individuals’ journeys, their careers and how they arrived at where they are today. This is done through events including “a day in the life of,” panel discussions and social networking. These events provide a combination of inspiration and practical how-to knowledge which individuals can then explore with their mentors. The outcome is a supported and engaged workforce as there is so much opportunity and scope for growth.
Not all the work on diversity and inclusion is focused internally. The team at AWS are passionate about creating the future pipeline of young women into the technology industry. They have formed community collaborations with Code Like a Girl and the Tech Girls Movement Foundation, as well as creating community events like the AWS Girls In Tech Day, where schoolgirls are inspired and can explore technology and potential career pathways.
With all these initiatives it is no wonder AWS were finalists for the Gender Equity Awards, Recalibrate. It is this unique combination of employee and community engagement, externally and internally, that is both genuine and meaningful, helping to create a huge amount of trust for employees knowing they are individually valued and have a voice where they work.
Photo: Left to right. Saliya Katungu-Moran, Michelle Hardie, Sumal Karunanayake, Judy Cole, Jamie Simon, Sharon Rode, Nick Blamey, Mary Law, Pela Markogiannakis, Andy Hindmarch, Georgia Mitchell.