Margaret is a Senior Product Manager- Technical, for AWS Bill Generation based in Berlin. She joined AWS in January, 2020.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role?
Margaret: After my MBA at Wharton, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in Tech with a clear focus on product management. In 2017, I joined Amazon as part of the Launch MBA program. The rotational program encourages participants to see different parts of Amazon. This meant a trajectory as a PM in EU Softlines and EU Consumables. I was attracted to the role in Commerce Platform – Billing, as it was an opportunity to work with large enterprise customers and have impact at scale, as well as work directly with tech teams in Europe, leveraging my expertise in Finance.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Margaret: I’m responsible for end-to-end product ownership. I’m responsible for how tailored agreements with enterprise customers are captured for billing purposes. My customers include IT departments, enterprise CIOs or CFOs from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Our team owns customer billing and associated cost management tools for one of the world's largest billing platforms. Because we sit at the nexus of all AWS services and interact directly with end-customers, we establish relationships with teams across AWS to ensure that we offer a secure and reliable billing customer experience.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Margaret: You could say I have had an unconventional career path. I studied Economics and Chemistry (with a focus on computational chemistry) and then worked in Fixed Income banking. But I think these skills give me the ability to solve problems, identify gaps, manage stakeholders and advocate on the behalf of the customer.
From a technical perspective, I develop the product roadmap and strategy for my product area. I dive deep into the technology from both a product and customer lens. To do this you need to be comfortable with high-level technical systems design concepts, how APIs work, core AWS technologies (compute, storage & database), and data analysis.
When it comes to soft skills, I would say stakeholder management, influencing without authority, building consensus for product vision both internally and externally and evangelizing that vision within AWS.
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
Margaret: By improving the billing experience of AWS customers (self-explanatory enterprise grade invoice), I can ensure that these businesses spend less time on trying to decipher their bill but more time on building out their core business services.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Margaret: I am the Berlin site lead for Women@ CP – a women’s affinity group for AWS CP.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Margaret: When demonstrating a feature to a customer and hearing their delighted response that you’ve raised the bar for them in a way they didn’t expect. It’s magic!
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Margaret: Learn about the Amazon Leadership Principles and embrace the peculiar culture. Ask questions. It’s always Day One – sometimes frequently within the same hour!
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Margaret: Stimulating. Problem-solving. Innovation.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Margaret: When I joined AWS, I needed to be on medical leave for 9 weeks and then work from home for additional 4 weeks. I completely ruptured my Achilles tendon and required surgery. My manager happily made the accommodations for me (this was in mid-February 2020, just before COVID-19 guidance was in place).
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Margaret: The great thing about AWS is that we serve customers from all backgrounds. That means if you have a sincere wish to innovate on behalf of your customer you must bring your authentic self to work. Non-traditional backgrounds or experiences are welcome.