Francisca is the Account Manager based in Iberia, She joined AWS in September, 2018.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Francisca: During my MBA at MIT I was hesitating between joining a well-established company and joining a brand new start-up. On one side, I wanted to be in a “safe” environment to go ahead with my plans of starting a family soon; on the other side, I wanted an adventure; to build something from scratch, experiment, explore the unexplored, and if possible, make history changing the way people do things for the better.
I was very lucky to find AWS, with its offices just open in Spain, offering the best from the two worlds: the advantage of being in a big corporation with a clear mission and the best of a start-up environment, where every day is Day One.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Francisca: I help my customers in their digitalisation and modernization journey, challenging the status quo and helping them to ramp up into more resilient, agile, innovative and cost-effective ways of working. As an Account Manager, I become their trusted advisor in terms of their digital strategy. Together we build a transformation roadmap and execute on that.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Francisca: On the technical side, you need a foundational technical background, and a passion for keeping up to date with new technology. Regarding soft skills; our mission is to be the most customer-centric company in the world, and for that, we need excellent listening skills to understand the needs of our customers, and good intuition to discover the opportunities beyond their status quo. Then, internally, you need to have good team-work skills. It is always about team work. You will need help from Solutions Architects, Specialists, Business Development Managers, Professional Services Consultants, and others to build the best proposal for your customer. To conclude, let me add another essential soft skill you need to be successful at AWS: being comfortable when dealing with constant change. AWS is constantly growing and adapting to better serve our customers.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Francisca: Yes, before applying for the job, I updated my technical knowledge by taking the AWS Cloud Practitioner and Solutions Architect Associate certifications. Beyond the certifications, we are constantly updating ourselves about what’s knew, or gaining depth in some specific areas, for example, Machine Learning or Migrations, just to name a couple.
We also have tons of other learning opportunities, depending on our personal preferences. For example, we can dig deeper in the Amazon Culture of Innovation and become a Certified Speaker. I am now “speaker in training” in the track “AWS on Amazon.com”, where I will be able to talk in front of our customers about how AWS relates to Amazon.com, and how Amazon.com is using AWS services, lessons learnt and best practices.
Every day we need to learn new things. The last thing I learned before my maternity leave was how to put together a webinar end-to-end, including tools and techniques to make it more engaging for the audience. It is amazing how many details make the difference in delivering the very best experience for your customer, not only with webinars!
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society? (Directly or indirectly)
Francisca: I love my work because I can impact the organization of my customers at very different levels, from the technical architecture right through to the product development process, even leaving a positive effect on their financial department. For example, last year we helped a beer brand to improve their manufacturing process by adding Artificial Intelligence to the crafting process, increasing the quality of the beer and reducing their production costs. All this translates into bringing better beer for better prices to people!
We work hand-in-hand with the innovation departments to unlock new technical solutions to their challenges. For example, I am working together with COVAP in their “Innovation” contest to incorporate proposals from start-ups to their challenges around meat production and production waste.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Francisca: At AWS we have a strong commitment with Diversity and Inclusion. I actively contribute to this commitment by organizing initiatives and events related to diversity. Amazon is a company that welcomes a variety of profiles. We believe – and we can tell from our daily experience- that diversity gives us a better perspective of the truth, and that helps us to make better decisions. In addition to that, I am involved as a Manager in a mentoring program to develop soft skills such as self-confidence, career progression and communication skills at different levels: verbal, non-verbal, writing, etc.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Francisca: Being part of an organization that is making history and contributing to the society so much. I invite you to read the Statement by Jeff Bezos before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law on July 29, 2020 to have an idea on how Amazon is contributing to our society in different aspects, employment, innovation, environmental commitments, social mobility, etc.
Then, in my day-to-day experience, I love the endless learning opportunities I find every day, from structured technical learning, to learning from my peers, to special or cross-organizational projects that help us develop every aspect we need.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Francisca: Embrace change whenever it comes, in whatever shape, and take the best of it. It usually comes with plenty of opportunities. And, learn to prioritise well. That’s critical at AWS. There are too many things you can do to get closer to your goals. However, you need to understand which projects/tasks are actually moving the needle.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Francisca: Day One Mind-set
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Francisca: Yes, although everyone can benefit from having flexibility at the workplace, being a mother of three kids, I immensely appreciate being the owner of my agenda. This allows me to coordinate the week with my husband to cover for special needs with the kids, or for any other commitments that we have at home.
HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?
Francisca: My biggest challenge today is to raise my three kids strong and happy to overcome the challenges they encounter in their lives. This is taking the most of my time outside work. I guess apart from that, I love simple things, such as biking in the forest, singing my all-times favourites, a gym session (indoor cycling or cross-fit) with my colleagues at the office gym, a good yoga session restoring peace in my body and mind, giving friends a tasty dinner at home –my husband is great at cooking, and our friends are usually delighted, a weekend trip with my husband – no kids, every couple of months.