Leadership, commitment, passion, and honour are some top qualities that every organisation expects from its employees. While the technical nuances of a role can be taught through academics and on-the-job training, the above qualities are intrinsic to a person’s character. Military personnel exhibit these qualities in the highest order. Amazon relates to and respects the principles and work ethics of those who have served in the armed foces, and believes they have the ability to think big, invent and simplify on behalf of its customers.
Tanuja Abburi, DEI Leader - APAC, Middle East, G&A, says, ‘’At Amazon, we recognize the unique experience and perspective that Military Veterans bring. At Amazon, we have hundreds of military veterans working across multiple businesses, such as Operations, Corporate, Consumer, among others. Globally, we have created an affinity group ‘Warriors@Amazon’ for them to collaborate and network and endure that their transition from armed forces to corporate world is smooth. To ensure continued work opportunities for military veterans, we have partnered with the office of the Director General of Resettlement (DGR), Indian Naval Placement Agency (INPA), Indian Air Force Placement Agency (IAFPA), and Army Welfare Placement Organisation (AWPO) thus, extending Amazon’s engagement to hire remarkable talent from the Army, Air force and Navy. Furthermore, our dedicated Military Talent Pool web portal helps veterans find opportunities to pursue careers in their areas of expertise, competence and explore meaningful career opportunities at Amazon. In the coming years, we hope to welcome more military veterans to the Amazon Family and expand the impact that military members bring on every single business across the company.’’
As India readies to celebrate its 74th Republic Day, Amazon India salutes the differentiated service, discipline and attention to detail that veterans bring with them. Read how veterans are contributing to Amazon’s growth story.
Taking small but brave steps
After serving in Indian Army for 10 years, Hargun Anand joined the Buyer Risk Investigation team at Amazon as Manager, Risk Investigation. In the initial months, she was skeptical about navigating the corporate world however, she lived by the statement she strongly believes in - ‘’When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, says the national level gold medalist in 10m Air rifle shooting. "I strongly believe in these words and that's what keeps me going."
Within a year of joining Amazon, Hargun made a significant contribution towards key projects, driving positive outcomes by liaising with key stakeholders, planning & executing peak season responsibilities. She accredits the prominence of choosing merit over everything else in Amazon culture, for her success in the organization. “Amazon has given me freedom to learn and work where I can execute and experiment with ideas in my own way. The diverse and inclusive culture here helped me feel part of the system from the very beginning. Indeed, this was the right platform for my transition from military to corporate! I am also grateful to my managers and leaders who have constantly supported me through this journey. Amazon has individuals from varied backgrounds working together towards a common goal – this creates an empowering environment for all of us to grow. As we say at Amazon - It is still Day One!”
Frontline to finance: The parallels
Sanjeev Mittal piloted helicopters for the Indian Navy for about 12 years. A highlight of his time with the Indian Navy—flying for several days and nights to rescue survivors of the 2004 tsunami. After hanging his boots, Sanjeev began working at an Amazon Fulfilment Centre in September 2012. Since then, Sanjeev has contributed significantly to various fulfilment centres across cities before transitioning to roles responsible for finance operations training, people development, and quality functions (FinOps) in 2018. As Senior Manager, Sanjeev manages several initiatives pertaining to communication, behaviour, quality control, domain processes, leadership, branding, engagement, and more.
Talking about his transition from the armed forces to the corporate life, Sanjeev says, "Coming from an institution like the Indian Navy to a corporate organisation like Amazon, it is remarkable to note that the core DNA of both is identical. Both the organisations are inclusive of fundamentals like taking ownership of your day-to-day tasks, always innovating for consumers, and being mindful of giving back to the community."
Sanjeev identifies the most with Amazon’s ‘Deliver Result’ leadership principle given the company’s focus on offering customers the best experience.
Military experience and precision to Amazon Ads
For over a decade, Major Pranav Prashar (Retd) served in the youngest regiment of the Indian Army, The Mechanized Infantry. He led numerous counter insurgency/counter terrorism missions on India's borders and received the General Officer’s Commanding-in-Chief’s Commendation Medal. He was also awarded the United Nations Force Commander's Commendation for his exemplary service around the humanitarian crisis and peacekeeping missions in Central Africa. After concluding his military career, Pranav did a post-graduation programme at IIM Lucknow and joined Amazon India in October 2020. Given the pandemic, Pranav had to take over teams virtually, a 180-degree flip for him. Presently, he works as a Senior Program Manager in Amazon Ads team, helping brands take informed advertising decisions on Amazon.
Reminiscing about his transition, he shares, “I have always been welcomed and respected for my unique background, experience, and skills that I bring to the table. What I love the most about being here is the aspect of inclusivity for everyone. There are numerous parallels between army principles and Amazon leadership principles. Both organisations are highly fast-paced, process-driven, provide the autonomy to experiment, and work backwards from the objective/customer needs."
Taking informed decisions with lessons learnt from the Indian Army
Lt Col Rahul Ghangas (Retd) served 20 years with the Indian Army. After completing his training with the National Defence Academy, Pune and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Rahul was deployed in an anti-terrorist role across Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. Specialising in helicopter maintenance and aviation operations, Rahul worked as an engineer primarily involved in supporting to Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
He joined Amazon India in March 2022 as a Senior Operations Manager with the Competitor Monitoring Team. “I have learnt a lot in the past nine months at Amazon, I am more tech savvy now and hands on with day to day activities that helps our team keep the customer experience intact. Amazon helped me learn new skills, which is helping me grow both personally and professionally. Every day here is a new learning,” said Rahul.
As part of the Global Pricing team, Rahul helps enable Amazon’s pricing strategy by providing on-time and accurate pricing inputs to help make the best decisions.
He credits much of his success to building relationships and affinity groups. “The leadership principles at Amazon resonate with what I have been following in the Army for the past 20 years. After serving in the Indian Army for better part of my life, I was anxious about transitioning to a new career, but Amazon’s military program made it seamless,” he said.
Raising the bar of excellence
After serving for over 22 years in the Indian Army, it wasn’t an easy decision for Ravi Reddy to move into the corporate sector. A specialist in the armament technology of Artillery & Air Defense Systems and battle tanks, Ravi had served high-altitude areas such as Siachen and East Sikkim, North-eastern region, besides other locations.
Ravi now leads the Early Careers Program for AWS Commercial Sales in India, where he helps talent from top B-schools pursue a career in sales and strategy.
“It was an unexpected career choice for a person who had been with the armed forces for more than 20 years and I was hesitant of making this transition. However, the team and the leaders at AWS supported me by truly understanding the background I came from which is a great example of inclusion and diversity,” he said.
While serving in the army, Ravi learned to fight new challenges every day and find ways to serve the nation. “At Amazon, we are constantly innovating on behalf of our customers by finding solutions to serve them better. My constant focus on raising the bar of excellence is what keeps me motivated to perform better every day.” he adds.