Laura is an Engagement Manager working in the Professional Services team at AWS in Munich. She started her AWS journey in September 2017.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Laura: I am a German-American citizen who grew up in Germany but lived in five different countries before moving back here in 2018. Working for a company that would give me the flexibility to move roles and countries was an important factor in choosing my employer.
After completing my Master’s degree at London Business School, I started my career in the AWS London office by joining their brand-new Business Graduate Programme. While the programme was mainly sales-focused, I still had the opportunity to explore the different teams in AWS such as Marketing, Partner Management and Professional Services. The Professional Services team in particular sparked my interest. I had the chance to support in preparing and delivering bootcamps for partners and customers, to learn how to deliver the Cloud Adoption Framework Envisioning and Alignment workshop, and be a facilitator in a Cloud Journey Simulation workshop. I was determined to find a role in the Professional Services team that would allow me to leverage my business background but would also enable me to dive deeper into the AWS technology.
I started having conversations with consultants and practice managers and discovered that the Engagement Manager role was what I was looking for. Besides this change in role, I also knew that after over two years of living in London and a total of six years living abroad, I wanted to be closer to family and friends again. I was looking for engagement management roles in Germany and got in touch with one of the practice managers. After a few conversations I was offered an onsite interview / loop for this role. I was thrilled to find out that I was successful and that I was moving to Germany in only a few weeks.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain your role; who your customers are, and how you help them?
Laura: In my role as an Engagement Manager, I am responsible for helping customers achieve the business outcomes they want to reach with their move to the AWS cloud. I support the customer in defining those business outcomes, creating the plan to achieve these as well as executing on this plan in a project management capacity bringing in other experienced AWS consultants. My customers are enterprise-level customers that are looking to migrate workloads and/or data centers to the AWS cloud.
HereAtAWS:What kind of skills do you need to succeed in your role; technical or soft?
Laura: In my role as an engagement manager it is most important to 1) have the technical know-how to understand customer technology challenges and solutions 2) project management and agile skills to ensure customer outcomes are achieved and 3) the emotional intelligence to navigate a wide variety of different stakeholder requirements.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills for your role?
Laura: Joining the Professional Services team I knew I would require deeper technical understanding than I had with my business background. Already as part of my preparations for the internal loop I started studying for AWS certification exams. By the time of the interview I accomplished 3 AWS certifications (Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect – Associate, Developer – Associate). During my on-boarding I focused on building my knowledge and experience in agile project management. Within my first three months I passed the Certified Scrum Master (Agile Alliance) certifications and shadowed several colleagues on their engagements. Utilising technical understanding and agile methodologies, I started working on my first customer engagements, building that valuable experience that would round off my profile as an Engagement Manager in the AWS Professional Services team. Just over one year later, I received my first promotion for the outcomes I helped customers achieve as part of these engagements.
HereAtAWS:Would you say your work with customers helps to make a positive impact on society?
Laura: My work is enabling our customers to advance in digital innovation. Migrating to the cloud and modernising workloads allows our customers to work in an agile manner that gives responsibility and freedom to the individual teams, thus bringing innovations to the market faster. It also gives customers the opportunity to experiment fast and with a low investment and risk. Depending on the customer and industry these innovations can have a huge impact on society – taking the work we do in the health care sector for example.
HereAtAWS:At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Laura: Our team is growing at an incredible pace. I recently started mentoring one of our new engagement managers on the team.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Laura: The most exciting part of my job is that I can have a direct impact on achieving the customer’s business outcomes. At the end of a project the customer will leave with a tangible benefit, be it cost savings, a new way of working giving employees more flexibility and improved job satisfaction, faster innovation with reduced product release cycles – or all of the above! This is what keeps me motivated at every step of the project.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Laura: I would advise people joining AWS to come with an open mind and to be willing to learn new skills in and outside of their roles. I advise them to take ownership of their career at AWS, be it an internal role or geographical move, a side project you are keen to engage with or a business idea you want to drive – at AWS this is not just possible, this is encouraged.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Laura: Entrepreneurial, fast-paced, rewarding.