Sandra joined AWS in 2019 as a Territory Manager, and is based in Madrid, Spain
HereAtAWS: Hi Sandra, tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Sandra: I started my career at Amazon recruitment in January, 2018 where since Day 1 I built my foundation of Amazon culture based on embodying the company’s Leadership Principles. Shortly after, I participated in an internal competition of designing an application that would improve candidates’ experience in hiring. While exploring such concepts like real-time data analytics applied in mobile app, I came across AWS services. I was so intrigued and endlessly curious to discover what fascinating solutions AWS technology has to offer that I decided to investigate this path by joining the business development team in May 2019. Directed by my desire to be even closer to customers’ digital transformation journeys, I joined the Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) team as a Territory Manager.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Sandra: As a Territory Manager, I support new and existing customers, ranging from small to big companies, to drive their digital transformations. I accompany them in creating a roadmap to accelerate cloud migration and modernization strategies, which involve building more innovative, agile and cost-effective environments. Thanks to common collaboration, I help customers achieve their business goals, gaining the status of their trusted advisor.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Sandra: As a territory manager, I need to strike balance between technical and soft skills. From the technical standpoint, foundational technical knowledge is beneficial as it helps you connect business needs with technology solutions. This, though, can be quickly gained, if you are genuinely curious. One of the essential soft skills is passion about placing our customers first! Striving to fulfil Amazon’s mission of most customer-centric company, you need to have stellar listening skills to hear companies’ needs. Asking thought-provoking questions and not being afraid to challenge status quo are key to drive successful conversations. Finally, being resourceful, and comfortable with a high-paced environment are two additional factors which help you succeed not only in this role but any other role.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills for your role?
Sandra: After joining AWS, I invested in developing my technical skills by passing the AWS Cloud Practitioner and Associate Solutions Architect Certificates. These laid down a solid foundation to navigate customer conversations. AWS prepares great, programmatic onboarding which provides multitude of technical trainings, complementing interests in particular areas, like machine learning, IoT, etc. However, I’m a strong believer of constant development attitude so whether making an internal move or starting a completely new role, it’s always a learning journey!
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
Sandra: At AWS, we act tirelessly to unlock companies’ potential, facilitate their growth and scale. Working across all industries, it’s inspiring to discover how one day customer from health-tech industry develops COVID-19 risk calculator, and next day, another manufacturing customer digitalizes their call canter, ensuring higher safety in case of elevator’s emergency.
I feel privileged to collaborate with companies whose solutions impact our daily lives!
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Sandra: Apart from being part of Women@Amazon affinity group, I’m an active participant of diversity & inclusion initiatives as these influence ideas´ diversification, which further contributes to more innovative approaches. I enjoy motivating young female generations to consider career in tech. Following my passion, I have been chosen as mentor in Technovation Girls Challenge program which equips young women (ages 8-18) to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders through inventing and coding mobile apps that address real-world problems. Also, I was privileged to be chosen as a mentor for first Spanish edition of AWS GetIT program. AWS GetIT is an education and development program aimed at inspiring young students, especially girls, to gain digital skills and consider a career in technology, while simultaneously empowering women within the business to build more confidence and leadership skills. Recently, I have also come up with a pioneering initiative to involve AWS as a partner in Women in Tech Summit, one of the biggest international conferences for women interested in IT and tech, where I also acted as a mentor. Apart from my engagements in diversity & inclusion initiatives, I take a deep joy mentoring early professionals and employees who, similarly to myself few years back, seek for career change.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Sandra: The most exciting part of my job is becoming my customers’ trusted advisor in accelerating their digital transformation journeys. I feel privileged to collaborate with companies whose solutions impact our daily lives across every industry.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Sandra: One of the most challenging tasks in my role is trying to stay up-to-date with all the tech novelties and service improvements. Although I dedicate at least 1h a week to keep up with the pace, sometimes it is challenging to feel comfortable without having all the answers at hand. This is why it’s essential to feel at ease in such a rapidly changing environment.
HereAtAWS: What initially interested you in working for AWS?
Sandra: What attracted my attention about working for AWS was the feeling of impact in accelerating companies´ digital transformation. Thanks to AWS global scale, you can experience how your role contributes to surrounding day-to-day environment, shaping the future of your trusted bank, often frequented corner shop, perennial hospital, etc.
HereAtAWS: What were you excited to see AWS working on when you first got here?
Sandra: I got absolutely fascinated about AWS initiatives around diversity and inclusion. Not only does the company educate its employees about the importance of talent diversification, but also it frequently engages in external events and programs to promote the value of varied ecosystem at work. Innovation is crucial to AWS success, and diversity is crucial to innovation.
HereAtAWS: What products or solutions have you worked on? What have been your favourites and why?
Sandra: Although my role does not entail working directly with products, I enjoyed supporting a large-scale migration of an e-commerce customer. The e-business needed help fast when a fire at their data centres disabled the servers, leaving the company without access to their core infrastructure and at the same time impacting thousands of end users. Collaborating closely with the customer and one of our partners, we managed to migrate their entire IT infrastructure to AWS at a record pace of 5 days! Thanks to leveraging a managed service of Amazon RDS, the customer could scale databases much more quickly and effectively, enabling their IT staff to focus on business, rather than maintenance tasks.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Sandra: Don´t be afraid to be a builder! This company loves a day-one mindset so if you have an idea you are passionate about that will embed our core principle of customer obsession, document it and go for it! Ask for feedback in your initiatives to ensure you capture breadth and depth of your endeavour. Last, try to ensure a proper balance between projects by prioritizing well and engaging in these initiatives that are game changers.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Sandra: Fast-paced, inspiring, impactful.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Sandra: AWS allows me to combine a full-time role with part-time studies, ensuring I keep on developing myself. This is possible thanks to flexible working hours and work-from-home policy. AWS represents a mature environment where you can be the owner of your agenda, at the same time giving yourself an opportunity to expand your role’s scope by executing regular job responsibilities and taking additional projects.
HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?
Sandra: I enjoy spending time outdoor actively, practicing any sort of sport from running, hiking to swimming. Recently, I have walked 125km to Santiago de Compostela and absolutely loved it, and will repeat it in the future. My current goal after the pandemics is to come back to participating in half-marathons and swimming competitions. As a long-term plan, I would like to try to take part in an amateur triathlon and check out my resistance in a more complex endeavour.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Sandra: If you want to discover other business areas or don’t enjoy your current role, seek for change! Don’t be afraid of technical skills as there are multiple roles at AWS that don’t require these. And even if these are needed, with your deep eagerness to learn, you will quickly nail it! Tested and proved 😊