Carola is an Account Executive in the Inside Sales team based in Madrid, Spain. She joined AWS in September 2018.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Carola: While I was studying Business Administration, Finance and Control at the University of Genoa (UniGe), I was also working as a Trainee Chartered Accountant in a local accountant and legal boutique firm. During the last year of my course though, I decided to attend an optional one outside of the main study path called “ICT solutions for accountancy”. Here I started learning about ERPs, CRMs and business software as well as their deployment methods, cloud included. When discussing in class the business revolution cloud was bringing to the IT department, I realized very soon this was not meant to have such a huge impact only in the accountancy department.
In general, I would say this is where I started to get passionate about cloud and technology; so much that I left my job and started a summer internship in a consulting boutique for innovative start-ups. I also decided to write the Master Degree final essay about the most recent and disruptive Initial Coin Offerings and FinTech solutions leveraging blockchain technology as new ways of financing for business. It was such a cool research and I am very grateful to my professor and supervisor who supported my work despite the subject being ambiguous and “untraditional”, especially for the academy environment.
All these experiences got me to pass the interview to work for a UK software company where I joined the Sales & Marketing team for their Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) solution in London, relocating to the city of my dreams and living abroad on my own for the first time in my life. Here I started learning about SaaS models and how to sell and market them, but it was only when I joined AWS in September 2018 that the word “Cloud” acquired a completely different meaning in my life and career path. After one year and a half in the UK Demand Generation team, in March 2020 I relocated to Madrid to develop further my career in sales as an Inside Sales Account Executive covering strategic Italian Independent Software Vendor (ISV) customers.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Carola: My role is to support customers at any stage of their cloud journey with all the resources AWS has available to do so. I help customers whether it is the first time they work in the Cloud or are already optimising their Cloud strategy and help them achieve their business goals through an optimal usage of our cloud solutions.
My customers are ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) in Italy, companies that develop and sell their own B2B software solutions generating the majority of their revenue through sales of perpetual and/or subscription software licenses.
I help them on-board from a technology perspective to start using the AWS Cloud platform and achieve the performance and cost benefits that AWS enables. I get the support of many teams including AWS Solutions Architects, AWS Product/Workload Specialists as well as AWS Partners. In addition, I help ISVs building Joint-Go-To-Market (JGTM) and co-selling initiatives with AWS thanks to dedicated resources such as our AWS Amazon Partner Network (APN) and our designed programs.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Carola: I need to understand the fundamental concepts of IT and have a strong knowledge of the main AWS core services and architectural best practices. The ability to work in overlay with other teams and organisations is as fundamental, as is the ability to communicate effectively with key internal and external stakeholders.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Carola: Yes, Cloud Technology and IT concepts (what is a server, what are CPU and RAM, what is the concept of a Virtual Private Cloud, what is a DNS or a CDN) as well as AWS architectural best practices around operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization. Indeed, I am an AWS certified Solution Architect Associate and I am currently studying to get the SA Professional Certification.
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
Carola: It might not always be obvious how AWS has a great impact on society, especially if you're not working with companies that are in the first line in terms of support (Hospitals, NGO, Charities, Foundations). However, the reality is that AWS ensures every customer can focus more on innovation rather than on undifferentiated heavy lifting (tasks that bring no value to the business like maintaining the IT infrastructure). This concept is simple and powerful at the same time, and can bring game changing costs optimizations and performance improvements to customers, no matter their size and industry or the customers they serve.
Generally, I think we should never underestimate as individuals the contribution we can give to advocate for the just causes AWS sponsors such as the support we give to help people improve their tech skills with free training or to business reach their sustainability target. AWS has a great commitment to sustainability that not only maintains, but seeks to improve each year. Indeed Amazon aims at powering its operations with 100% renewable energy; the company is now moving towards this milestone by 2025, five years ahead of its initial 2030 target. And I especially think about this for my own country, Italy, where two photovoltaic parks will soon be located in the South. Such projects are not only meant to supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices and fulfillment centers, but also to AWS data centers including the new AWS Italian Region we opened last year. This is truly fantastic in terms of positive impact for Italy and our customers here!
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Carola: In the UK, I have joined the GetIT initiative in 2019, I took part in AWS mentoring program as a member this year as I aim at becoming one very soon. I have acted as a “buddy” to six new joiners so far which, from a personal perspective, was one of the most rewarding experience.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Carola: Solving complex problems for my customers that were complicated to solve. I love seeing that they are satisfied to work with AWS and making them feel special. They are truly special to us and I make a great effort to ensure they know it and can experience our obsession to delight them every day. It requires a great effort some time, but is rewarding and under many aspects still exciting to me.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Carola: Focus on our Leadership Principles and learn how to make them resonate in your previous and current experience. If you join, you’ll then learn how to always act as a leader no matter your role or seniority in Amazon.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Carola: Flexible, Dynamic and Fast.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Carola: Before joining AWS, I was doing something completely different that would have led me to a completely different career and life. I constantly remind myself of the decision I made to build this new career in technology and could not be happier. Being part of the AWS team makes me feel like I am somehow making history across many different industries and sectors together with my customers. The coolest aspect though, as part of a sales team, is that AWS incentivises and guides me to always think and act for the best benefits of our customers, never vice versa. This is something which I will never take for granted from such a large company and I will always be thankful to our leaders for never making a compromise about this.