Amazon celebrates diversity and believes in providing people equitable opportunities to unlock their full potential. At its core, Amazon is a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to inventing on behalf of its customers. Amazon advocates inclusivity in all aspects of life, including the workforce. In partnership with glamazon, the company’s employee affinity group focused on the LGBTQIA+ community, Amazonians have participated in Pride celebrations across the globe this year. Read more about how Amazon promotes diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace through stories of 4 LGBTQIA employees, who found growth, acceptance and self-expression at work.
1. Anisha Choudhury, Customer Service Associate, Amazon
Anisha’s Amazon journey began during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. As she got to know her teammates better, Anisha realised that remote working is not a barrier to having fun at work. During her first Pride Month as an Amazonian, she received an email about an open mic event where the Amazon leadership team would be in audience. “I immediately signed up, wrote a piece about my coming out story. Ever since I've been telling my story to almost everyone in the company, hoping that my 'loudness' may help someone hurting in silence to speak up,” says Anisha.
Diversity and inclusion at Amazon: “Everybody at Amazon has been supportive and didn’t ever make me feel like I was different or inferior because of my sexuality,” says Anisha. Leaders have consistently encouraged her to be bold and confident about her life story. “I’m a proud bisexual. Amazon has helped in spreading my light even further,” she says.
A piece of advice to drive positive change: Speak to friends from work whom you can trust before coming out. Don’t be burdened to come out because people expect you to do so. Do so only if you feel like it.
Favourite Leadership Principle: Anisha identifies with several Leadership Principles, such as Earn Trust and Dive Deep. But her personal favourite: Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit.
2. Manjunath T.C., Senior Leadership Development Business Partner, Amazon Leadership Institute
In a career spanning over a decade, Manjunath found his calling in the learning and leadership development arena. Passionate about coaching and facilitating growth, he cherishes memorable encounters with coaching pioneer Sir John Whitmore and tennis great Roger Federer. Manju is a badminton player who loves to share his insights on sports.
Living with his partner and two fur babies, Manju thrives on autonomy and impact-driven opportunities that Amazon offers. “The openness to ‘experiment fast, fail faster’ motivates me to put my best foot forward and create effective learning experiences,” he says.
Diversity and inclusion at Amazon: Amazon allows Manju to stay authentic. “I don’t have to lock up a part of myself at home and return in the evening to greet it. I bring my whole self to work that includes my thoughts, feelings and expressions,” he says. Being embraced by colleagues and co-workers allows Manju to drive impact for customers and perform to full potential.
A piece of advice to drive positive change: Coming out is personal. Take your time to first be comfortable with your own self. Seek a professional counselor's help to gain clarity and build self-confidence.
Favourite Leadership Principle: Ownership. “I feel it’s not just a leadership principle, but a life principle,” says Manju. With ownership as the cornerstone, one can imbibe other leadership principles and do justice to them. “It helps us be accountable for fostering an inclusive environment at Amazon and celebrate everyone for who they are,” says Manju.
3. Manika Chawla, Senior Content Reviewer (German), Amazon
An Amazonian since March 2020, Manika handles sponsored products moderation for the German marketplace. Based in Ghaziabad, Manika lives with her family and finds joy in traveling, playing sports, cooking and binge-watching web series. She’s a ‘big-time sneaker head’ and an enthusiastic collector of ink, reflecting her passion for self-expression.
Diversity and inclusion at Amazon: Amazon is one the best things to have happened to Manika, she says. “Initially, I thought just the quality of work would keep me hooked. Little did I know that Amazon’s inclusive policies would win me over,” says Manika. Amazon’s policies foster mental stability—a perk that never gets mentioned in any offer letter. “A happy work atmosphere is a happy state of mind, and I owe Amazon for it,” says Manika.
A piece of advice to drive positive change: Be aware if you have the right skills for the job and be confident in what you do. Nothing else matters. Merit and skills are unrelated to sexuality and gender.
Favourite Leadership Principle: Deep Dive defines Manika, she says. She’s someone who’s inquisitive and loves to get to the depths of everything. ‘By practicing the Deep Dive principle, all other principles become achievable,” says Manika.
4. Pratiksh Sirsat, Program Manager - Diversity, Stores, Talent Acquisition
Meet Pratiksh, an Amazonian based in Hyderabad who has fearlessly confronted societal stereotypes and fought to carve out his place. Growing up, he faced bullying for his disinterest in sports but his interest in reading led to a journey of self-discovery. As magazine secretary and member of the college student council, Pratiksh fearlessly advocated for LGBTQIA+ rights, sparking debates on Article 377 of the Indian Constitution. However, the courage caused him to be expelled from college, says Pratiksh. He joined Amazon in 2017, finding solace in the company's inclusive work culture and the support he received from co-workers. An unwavering Taylor Swift fan, Pratiksh hopes to inspire others through his journey of authenticity and overcoming prejudice.
Diversity and inclusion at Amazon: “At Amazon, everyone is considered equal and included in meetings and projects,” says Pratiksh. He says his colleagues did not treat him any differently when he first came out. “I was treated as any other individual in the team. They valued me for my knowledge, my talent and the value that I bring which made me absolutely comfortable,” he says.