On International Women’s Day 2022, Amazon India is celebrating women and people who identify as women who innovate, lead, and inspire others to reach greater heights.
Aligned with this year’s theme to Break the Bias, Amazon has launched #SheIsAmazon, a campaign shining the spotlight on women employees, associates, and partners who have not only rebelled against societal, cultural, disability, and economic barriers to achieve their dreams but are also redefining the powerful role women play in the fast paced e-commerce industry.
As a part of the new campaign, Amazon is also launching a coffee table book giving people a peek into the professional and personal lives of these women, and their journeys of struggle, hope, and success.
Below are excerpts from the book highlighting 15 inspiring stories.
1Ananya Ghosh: Working towards financial independence
Residing in Kolkata with her parents and sister, Ananya's father is a retired banker and her mother a homemaker. After a difficult and emotionally draining phase in life, she realised the need to work towards her financial independence to support her family. She joined Amazon in 2020 as a team manager for Virtual Customer Service. Today, Ananya is the sole breadwinner of her family. She owes it all to her father, who enabled her to nurture goals and encouraged her to make her own decisions.
Inclusion entails being given equal opportunities and access to resources. Inclusion translates into being comfortable in the workplace, regardless of culture, origin, gender, or upbringing.
2Subia Javed: Breaking the norm
Born into a loving yet conservative family, Subia was surrounded by girls who weren't sent to college but she became the first one to break the norm. An MBA, Subia was a batch topper and the first in her class to get campus placement. When Subia began her journey with Amazon in the delivery network, she was among the very few women in the team at the time and received immense support from the leadership team. Once again breaking a norm, she became the first female onsite HR business partner for Amazon’s fulfilment centre, Kolkata.
Every morning she wakes up and heads to work with the same passion and energy she had on her first day.
3Deepa Karthik: Bringing a woman's voice to the table
Born into a joint family in Tamil Nadu, Deepa had strong value systems that shaped her ideals. She is influenced by strong women in her life, including her mother, her mother-in-law, and her two daughters, all of whom inspire her to be the best version of herself. Deepa joined Amazon in 2007 as an engineer in the Kindle team in Chennai and managed the team till 2011. She then returned to Amazon in 2017 as a Technical Program Manager (TPM) for Connectivity Services, and today is a senior manager managing TPMs in software engineering functions.
Deepa believes that a woman's voice and her representation at the table are key to inclusivity, and an inclusive culture is the most crucial step in that direction.
4Nimisha Dhanda: Thankful for a strong support system
Nimisha Dhanda was born and brought up in Bihar, and wanted to break conventional thinking around what a woman is expected to do. Starting her career as a banker, she then turned media marketeer and earned over 13 years of experience in the industry.
After she became a mother, she wanted eco-conscious home linens for her home. With hardly any brands in the Indian market making this, she knew she had to do something about it. She then built D’Moksha — a home-grown fashion brand committed to linen, hemp, and lyocell — created through the use of solar power and with the help of local artisans.
Nimisha feels lucky to have found her business partner in her husband, Manav. "He understands and fuels the dreams I have,” she says. Nimisha is also grateful to her mother-in-law and her parents for providing her with an excellent support system while she lives out her purpose.
5Suchitra Terdalkar: Crafting her own success story
Growing up with humble beginnings in a very simple household — Suchitra's father is a watchman, and her mother a homemaker — she had big dreams to become an entrepreneur someday. She started a small shop right after her secondary school education, paving the way for her dream to become a reality. But the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't kind to small entrepreneurs, so Suchitra became an I Have Space (IHS) partner with Amazon India. The additional income earned through delivering packages to Amazon customers eventually helped generate more footfalls in her store.
It is her strong belief that women should carve a path for themselves and be financially independent.
6Jamuna Rani: Hitting restart and succeeding
After 10 gruelling years in the IT industry, Jamuna decided to wipe her entire slate clean. She quit her job and was looking for a new start — one that energized her. “My friend had told me about Amazon India’s Delivery Service Partner Program. And it struck me: what if I could manage and run an all-women delivery station?” says Jamuna. She took the plunge and founded Sarini Associates in 2016. Six years later, her risk has paid off. Jamuna has become an inspiration for women looking to create opportunities for themselves. Her one-bedroom apartment, which initially played office for 3 delivery associates, is today buzzing with 17 women delivery associates.
Jamuna admits that a new idea will always go through a few rejections. She says, “Getting the first 3 associates was the most difficult part.” But she persisted. She says, “Once I had my first 3 associates on board, other women were inspired. Many inquired and signed up!” The associates are now a strong group that stands by each other through thick and thin.
7Sandya Valmikinathan: Rekindling her professional career
Bringing up twins is a tough job. But what Sandya Valmikinathan found tougher was getting back to work post a career break. When she found out about Amazon’s Rekindle 2.0 — a special program for women who've been absent from the work force for over a year — she knew this was it. In June 2021, Sandya joined Amazon as a Catalog Manager. “My husband has been my source of motivation. The importance he gives my career and personal success is what pushed me to kickstart my career at Amazon,” says Sandya.
Being back in the professional world has boosted Sandya’s self-esteem to new levels.
8Sindhu Mary: Giving every opportunity her best
As a transgender woman, Sindhu has carried the fear of not being accepted and being restricted by her gender identity for nearly two decades. At the age of 13, when she came out as a transgender woman to her family, her friends, and society at large, she faced all kinds of hardships. Despite this, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology in 2019 and began her job hunt. A string of rejections owing to her gender identity didn’t deter her. When she heard the words "we will get back to you” from prospective employers, in her head she knew that she had to continue to try harder.
When Sindhu heard about an opportunity at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Chennai, something clicked. She applied for the role and got the job. And though she has bagged the ‘Top Performer of the Week’ badge multiple times, Sindhu remains laser focused. “Owning the reward is one way of reminding myself and my fellow people that when the right platform is offered to you, grab the opportunity and give it your best,” she says.
9Tejusing Seema Pawar: Managing tough situations with confidence
Tejusing Seema Pawar lives in Bangalore with three siblings. All four of them are hearing impaired since birth, and Seema’s parents died in a tragic accident when she was barely 10 years old. The siblings stood together as each other's support system, and Seema’s older sister took up tailoring to pay for their education.
Once Seema’s education was complete, she found an opportunity to work in Amazon India as a fulfilment centre associate and her life started to change for the better. Seema took care of her brother’s education and even got her sisters married. Today, she is balancing her job and her passion for painting. Her dream is to start painting classes for hearing impaired people.
10Shipra Jain: Building an inclusive tech space
Diving head first into a field that is typically male-dominated, Shipra has made a big impact in the technology team at Amazon India. She joined Amazon eight years ago as a Software Development Engineer and leads a team of 7 engineers today. Shipra has been passionate about her goals right from the time she pursued a Computer Science degree from IIT Roorkee.
As a woman leader in the fast-paced technology space, Shipra strives every day to ensure that she positively contributes to a progressive and inclusive work environment. An avid yoga and strength workout athlete, Shipra has also tried her hand at MMA combat and boxing, proving she’s a fighter and an achiever in every sense of the word. She lives in Bengaluru with her husband, in-laws, and a charming 6-year-old daughter.
11Himaja Apparaschevuru: Finding an anchor in her family
Himaja Apparaschevuru is a techie, Zumba instructor, marathoner, wife, and mother. She has a Computer Science degree from IIT Roorkee and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. Himaja is a Software Development Manager with the Task-less Tax Team, where she leads a group of engineers to drive innovative fintech solutions that ensure tax compliance for sellers in India and Mexico. She has donned several hats at Amazon, driving a lot of cutting-edge innovation for customers.
Himaja finds her anchor in her family — all her accomplishments aside, her husband and kids are the primary focus of her life.
12Vandana Batra: Creating a resilient team of women employees
As a teacher, Vandana Batra often saw students struggling to put together the perfect costume for her school’s annual celebrations. So in 2003, she launched Fairy Tales Creation. Ethnic, mythological, national, cultural, or fantasy — Vandana has built a 60,000+ library of children's costumes and accessories!
The pandemic though was a roadblock she didn’t see coming. After a good rethink of the business model, Vandana entered the digital marketplace through Amazon. And just like that, things turned magical for Fairy Tales Creation. Rebranded as It's My Costume, the Amazon store became a popular costume shop for parents and children across the country. Under the Local Shops program, Vandana saw orders from untapped markets like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, and Maharashtra that she had never imagined before. Now as Vandana becomes a digital-first seller, she is convinced that there is always a ‘happily ever after’.
Building a female force of achievers comes naturally to Vandana as her source of brilliance comes from her mother, who was a school headmistress. In equal parts, Vandana looks for love and support from her father, husband, and sons who stand happily by her side.
13Aparna Gulati: Bringing military expertise to corporate life
Major Aparna Gulati is a third-generation Indian Army officer, and has bravely served in the military for 12 years. She shifted to corporate life in 2012, and currently treads the terrains of consignment with Amazon. With confidence, leadership, and sharp decision-making skills, she leads the North Seller Flex Middle Mile Pick Up team as Operations Manager, planning and executing shipment pickup operations. At Amazon, Aparna gets to put the customer experience first, so her deep-rooted resolve to serve people continues to remain unchanged.
She might have parted ways from the army as an officer, but the military still surrounds her as she is married to Lieutenant Colonel Kunal Sarin, a doctor in the Army Medical Corps. She has found a nurturing companion in her husband, who values her autonomy as much as she does and always insists on being an equal partner in raising their 12-year-old daughter together.
14Habeeb Unnisa: Fighting stereotypes
Having family support can help you reach new heights, and for Habeeb Unnisa, she only has her parents to thank. She proudly explains with a big smile that her father is her biggest inspiration. It is because of his constant encouragement towards education that she enjoys a rewarding career today. Not only did her parents fight familiar stereotypes against educating girls but were also sensitive to provide special care for her so that her limitations would not come in the way of her and her true potential.
Habeeb joined Amazon as an analyst in the Amazon Finance team in 2014, and thanks to her talent and abilities she now leads the Retail Accounts Payable team as a Finance Manager. Habeeb believes deeply in diversity and inclusion of women, particularly in finance.
15Neha Mittal: Inclusion and diversity are indispensable
Neha Mittal joined Amazon in 2013 as an associate in the Transaction Risk Management System team, growing through the years to become a program manager in the Automated Brand Protections team. Her role entails catalyzing tool-building and innovative methodologies within the team to ensure that every brand’s catalog is accurate.
Neha has been with Amazon for 9 years, but still wakes up every day feeling the same excitement as her first day. She lives by the simple philosophy of inspiring others to achieve their potential. Neha gives everything to her job, yet maintains an approachable environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and accepted.
Neha's growth has been inspiring. She has used her learnings to mentor new members in her team. Inclusion and diversity for her are indispensable and non-negotiable components of a robust team culture, and she imbibes this in her actions every day.