Ever wondered what it is like to work at Amazon? Curious about the type of people who thrive in one of the world's most customer-centric companies?
This month’s profile is a two for one – with a Q&A featuring Amazonian couple, Alex LaChance-Orlowski and husband Kris Orlowski. They’ll share how their paths have evolved, why they’ve been here almost four years or more, and even some of their passions outside of work.
Can you tell us a little bit about your time at Amazon? What's your career path been like and what does your day to day role look like?
Kris: I've worked at Amazon for just under five years. While my wife Alex has worked on a few different teams, I've been on the same team throughout my experience -- which seems like less of the norm here. I started as consultant developing the content production process for Amazon Pay, then moved into a full time role as a Global Channel Marketing Manager supporting our partner community. Later I moved laterally into a content strategist role, helping Amazon Pay build their inbound marketing strategy, while continuing to grow my functional skill set in content marketing. In my current role as a Senior Content Marketing Manager, I'm managing our global editorial calendar and content strategy, telling Amazon Pay's story across our owned and operated channels, including our blog. I also collaborate closely with various functional leads to support marketing initiatives across the board; from feature announcements and campaign launches to thought leadership webinars. One of the joys of my job is being creative often. Recently I developed some fun videos with employees to promote our holiday gift guide.
Alex: I manage the grocery marketing team at Amazon Fresh. When I first joined Amazon, I drove outbound marketing initiatives for Amazon Restaurants. Later, I transitioned into a site-merchandising role at Fresh – moving from driving people to Amazon to making sure we’re providing the right CX once they arrive.
Alex, what does a typical day look like for you?
There is no typical day in grocery, especially in the current climate. I manage a team of six so as you can imagine I have quite a few meetings throughout the day. We have a wide-ranging vendor portfolio so some of those meetings are working with vendors to find the best ways to represent their brands and products on Amazon.com. I also oversee the merchandising style guide for fresh, ensuring consistency and quality. Grocery is still such an emerging business for Amazon. As we grow, we’re developing tools to help us scale the business while we continue building it.
Kris, how have you developed as a professional during your time at Amazon?
At Amazon, the opportunity to learn and expand my marketing skill set and be in a more data-driven environment has helped me grow as a professional. It's also easier to develop when you're surrounded by brilliant people. Amazon is a company of over achievers, which has led to some incredible mentors and managers that I'm not sure I would have had access to otherwise. I've come to appreciate that there is never a dull moment at Amazon. Change happens quickly here. Sometimes it can be incredibly disruptive, for example, in my earlier days with Pay, I had four different managers over eight months. But through these experiences I've become more adept at adapting and moving quickly. This sort of on-the-job experience is priceless.
What's one of the things you enjoy most about working at Amazon?
Alex: Amazon has really proven that it puts their money where their mouth is in terms of how they treat their employees. Whether it’s companywide donation matching initiative supporting the Black community, vowing to be carbon neutral by 2040, or putting measures in place to keep employees and the community safe during the pandemic.
I’m proud to work for a company whose founder stands for equality. This post on his Instagram earlier this year is a great example of how he doesn’t shy away from calling out bigotry; “You’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.” It’s also clear HR continues to make diversity and inclusion even more of a priority.
Kris: From a cultural perspective, getting to bring my golden doodle to work is a huge win. Charlie is a dog of the people, and getting to have him at my side during the day makes work that much better. Check him out in the Dogs of Amazon Pay (work from home edition) blog post.
What's it like having your spouse work at the same company as you?
Kris: Honestly, I love working at the same company as Alex. While we try to keep work and personal life somewhat separate, it's a nice perk that we have a more intimate understanding of what the other person is going through culturally in our day to day. It's also fun having the same days off, or being able to banter about Eddie Vedder's performance during the Amazon all hands, or even some friendly competitions around our careers there. For example, we had a bet about who would get promoted first, fortunately we got promoted in the same promotion cycle, on the same day, so their was no bad blood. Amazon is a huge company and we work for completely different businesses, so we haven’t worked together on anything while we’ve been here.
Alex: Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we work at the same company because our jobs and the types of work we do are so different. There are so many benefits employees can take advantage of here, so it’s nice to have the inside track on how someone else is taking advantage of those benefits. Inevitably, work comes up at home and it’s nice to have somebody who understands you when you are speaking in leadership principles – or stops you when you are speaking in leadership principles at the table.
Alex, as you know, at Amazon there are 14 leadership principles (LP) that guide and define the way the culture of work happens. What's one LP that resonates with you?
Ownership is one of my top leadership principles. In any given role, there is always a lot on our to-do lists. Occasionally, that can make anyone lose sight of the fact that your job is more than just completing your to-do list. It’s not about what you ‘have to’ do it’s what you ‘can’ contribute to make life better for customers. Leaning into ownership helps people develop as leaders.
What’s something you’re excited about outside of work that your coworkers may or may not know about?
Alex: I’m pregnant, so it’s pretty hard to think about anything else outside of my family. Kris and I are having a girl, and I didn’t realize they made sweaters that were so small – I’m excited to start shopping.
Kris: Besides our expanding family, I’m excited about a new record I have coming out in the new year with friend and producer Budo. During my early years as a Marketer, I was also living a double life as a burgeoning songwriter and performer. Before joining Amazon, I was touring the country, writing songs in Nashville and LA or playing club rooms opening up for some of my favorite musicians. My worlds collided when I was featured on Amazon Music’s Summer playlist back in 2016 while working as a vendor for Amazon Pay.
Interested in a career at Amazon? Check out some of the openings at Amazon Pay.
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