When you’re building a career in technology, the success of your product hinges on keeping one critical group front of mind: your customers!
“We’re customer-obsessed,” says Tatjana Pandurevic, Enterprise Sales Manager for Amazon Web Services (AWS).
“We have a single red chair in our meeting rooms which is left free. This represents the customer in the room to ensure we’re always thinking about them in our conversations. It’s one of the many ways we keep our customers front of mind.”
Working in the company’s Cloud Sales Centre, Tatjana leads a team of talented sales representatives to build and deliver outstanding experiences for millions of customers across 190 countries.
As she can attest, working in the ever-changing technology sector presents rich career opportunities, particularly in emerging areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) – her specialty!
Here’s what Tatjana has to say about how AWS is leading the way with careers in tech that more deeply focus on the intersection of people and technology.
Why choose a career in tech?
Tatjana started her career as an intern where she was tasked with a coding project to automate an operational process. With zero IT experience, this was a pivotal moment for her to take a leap of faith.
“I spent six weeks teaching myself to code by joining online forums, borrowing coding books, and seeking guidance from people in my limited IT network. I successfully delivered the project, achieving operational efficiencies of 98%. It earned me the Financial Controller’s award. It wasn’t just the outcome of this project that I was most proud of. It was maintaining a positive attitude throughout.”
This experience propelled her into IT.
“It gave me the confidence to explore careers in the technology sector – which is a booming, exciting place to be.”
Technology creates opportunities for innovation
As Tatjana grew her career in technology, she developed a strong interest in cloud and emerging technologies. Specifically, the solutions Amazon was delivering.
“I joined AWS to support customers in the telecommunications sector, developing my specialty in data analytics and AI/ML. I’ve partnered with some of our largest telecommunications clients to build innovative solutions and transform customer experiences.”
In leading the enterprise inside sales team in Australia and New Zealand, Tatjana is excited about opportunities to make an impact and support customers to innovate. One of the major benefits, she finds, is being able to use data to experiment, analyze and pivot.
“We’re extremely data-driven. I’ve learned to always be open-minded and use this to our advantage. There’s always something new to learn. It could be by taking a new approach to an existing problem or finding a solution to invent for our customers.”
AWS’s innovative solutions have benefited hundreds of thousands of customers.
“Some of the solutions we’ve delivered have ranged from driver safety technologies to support customers impacted by COVID. It’s been rewarding to assist people who needed immediate support to maintain business continuity during critical times.”
Technology creates opportunities to improve DEI
Tatjana is the founder of Organic Intelligence, an AI/ML education series to improve the capability of AWS’s workforce. The series also works to increase DEI across these important technologies.
“I work with a range of AWS customers, partners, and our Women@Amazon employee resource group to deliver monthly episodes. We discuss industry trends and showcase how people are leveraging data analytics, AI, and ML.”
Tatjana is committed to ensuring all episodes have representation of women speakers. Her goal is to support and empower women by promoting the innovative work they’re doing across the industry.
“I think this is a really important way to inspire the next generation of talent, and create a more diverse, inclusive environment.”
Want to learn about gender equality initiatives, employee-led diversity groups, parental leave policies and more at AWS?
Click here to see their benefits and policies.
Technology is a rich space for career development
AWS has provided Tatjana with plenty of career development and growth opportunities.
“I work with the most incredibly talented people every day, and am constantly learning from them. I’ve also been fortunate to take part in executive coaching and leadership programs. This has helped me improve my leadership capabilities.
“I’ve also coached and developed our new starters, which has been a really effective learning experience. You need to learn a topic deeply to be able to teach it to others.”
At AWS, there are many opportunities for people to get involved in exciting initiatives across the organization.
“We embrace a culture of thinking big and scaling effective mechanisms. With so many options to create and deliver value, you have to stay laser focused and execute well.”
Overall, Tatjana’s best days at work are when she can help customers, make an impact by promoting inclusion, diversity and equity, and create excitement leading STEMM programs for girls and youths to learn new technology skills.
“Many people are afraid to pursue opportunities outside their comfort zone. It can be scary not knowing the answers or feeling like you’re lacking skills. Be authentic, be open to improving from feedback, back yourself, and make decisions by seeking diverse perspectives. Don’t worry too much about ‘failure’. I think of failure as learning. Use it as a stepping stone. The way you show up in life and approach situations is what counts.”
Technology paves the way to better support customers
As a large organization, Amazon has businesses and teams around the world that maintain a strong customer focus.
In addition to the single red chair left free in meeting rooms (representing the customer in the room), AWS aims to move quickly and iterate. Data-driven decision-making allows them to make the best decisions for customers.
“We achieve this speed in decision making in a number of ways. One of these is our concept of ‘two-pizza teams’. It’s the idea that no meeting should have more people than can be adequately fed by two pizzas. This allows us to make decentralized decisions by teams who are closest to our customers. We aren’t slowed down by processes and hierarchies.”
Amazon’s values and strong customer focus motivate Tatjana every day.
“We’re focused on customer obsession, nurturing a passion for inventiveness, operational excellence and long-term thinking. When I first joined, I never imagined how much I’d learn in the years to come!”
If you’re driven to succeed in a career in technology, Tatjana recommends being open to feedback, practicing problem-solving, and retaining a strong customer focus.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we have to make a big impact and support our customers to innovate with industry-leading solutions.”