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?
In this month’s profile, Cherise Barsell shares her experience at Amazon Pay as a Senior Product Manager. Cherise waxes poetic about her love for payments, provides a statistical breakdown of how she spends her time, and divulges one of the cultural reasons she enjoys working at Amazon.
How would you describe yourself in 2-4 sentences?
When I get excited (or nervous) about something, I immediately start planning how I’m going to bring it to life or solve the problem. I get energy piecing together nuggets of different ideas (from different partners, industries, countries, etc.) into a broader concept. Podcasts power my bike commute.
Can you tell us about your career at Amazon so far?
I joined in November 2017 as a Senior Product Manager. I’ve been developing Amazon Pay’s next generation checkout technology, helping to simplify both our merchants’ integration and the Amazon customers’ checkout experience. As a product manager, I learn about our customer needs, test ways to address them, then build the products that resonate. Aside from engineering, a product manager puts on any missing hat required to bring a product to life: UX, GTM, Analyst, Researcher, Program Manager, Sales, Marketing, etc.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend about 20% of my time listening to our customers, which may take the form of listening to Amazon customers walk through our experience, talking to merchants about their business needs, or reviewing conversion data to see where customers are getting stuck. About 50% of my time is spent building, refining, and prioritizing products through writing, grooming, and sessions with UX and engineering. Another 20% is spent in team meetings and regular reporting, giving me a broad view of our customer’s touchpoints with Pay and a chance to quickly resolve issues. The remaining 10% is sprinkled with interviewing candidates, long-term planning, meeting with mentors, etc.
What do you enjoy about the Amazon culture? Or what’s one thing you’ve learned since your time at Amazon?
We have a culture of pragmatism, which helps decisions move quickly, and we support each other in focusing our energy in the areas that will drive the most customer impact.
What is your favorite leadership principle and why?
Earns Trust. When people ask me what it’s like to work for Amazon, I often highlight the honesty of decision-making, which I tie back to the Earns Trust leadership principle. We have mechanisms to hold each other accountable for making the right decisions for our customers versus pursuing our own agendas or sticking firm to our original ideas.
What is one of the reasons you enjoy working at Amazon Pay?
I love the writing culture, which makes our decision-making both rigorous and transparent, enabling all stakeholders to provide input to make our product better. I also can’t say I miss spending late evenings matching colors for a PowerPoint presentation! It feels good to use that energy instead refining ideas.
How does Amazon support your career goals?
I learn a lot about myself as a leader and partner, with regular feedback from people I work with. The annual review process is also unique in highlighting strengths and growth opportunities from a broad group of stakeholders. I always come away with actionable insights to support my career growth. My current role also keeps me close to the payments industry, a space I find endlessly interesting and impactful.
What are some of your passions outside of work? What are you most excited about outside of work?
I am passionate about financial inclusion and often listen to podcasts and do research on the subject in my free time. I have a certificate in Integrational Development, spent some time with Kiva out of business school, and also helped start a matched savings startup a few years ago. I hope to bring some of these ideas closer to my work here with Amazon!
Learn more about working at Amazon Pay through our career site.
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