Integrity, discipline, self-motivation, punctuality, adaptability, and goal attainment become second nature to you in the armed forces. These are some traits that serve our teams very well inside Amazon India. A big proponent of these traits is Captain (Retd) Shivani Bhatia, who has served her country as part of the Indian Army for several years, before taking over program responsibilities at Amazon India.
For all the honour it brings, a career in the armed forces was not an easy choice. However, Shivani says that it was her calling; her father had retired from the Armed forces as a Colonel, and she grew up in various cantonments across the country. These experiences made her tolerant, adaptable, socially and culturally aware, and incredibly resilient.
"As a kid, I loved nothing more than seeing my dad in uniform. It's the only way of life I understood – disciplined, patriotic, nomadic. I'm proud to say that it made me who I am today. I always wanted to follow his footsteps and don the olive green, so I joined the Indian Army in 1998," she reminisces.
An illustrious career
Shivani joined the Indian Army as a Logistics Officer in 1998, and was in charge of ensuring safe and timely provisioning of goods needed by the Forces. She took a sabbatical in 2003, when she had her first child. In 2009, Shivani did a Management program from IIM Lucknow in Operations Management and got placed at Kotak Mahindra. She later went on to work at Sun Pharma as an HR Consultant.
Being based in Bangalore for seven years, Shivani applied to Amazon India in 2015 for a role in Operations. Starting off as a Program Manager for the ‘I Have Space’ initiative and then a program lead for the Amazon Pickup stores, she quickly established herself as a dependable leader at Amazon. In her six-year-long journey at Amazon, Shivani has embodied the Leadership Principles of deep diving into problems and solutions, ownership, delivering results. These traits have led her to her current role as Senior Program Manager with the Easy Ship team.
Role model at Amazon
The Indian Army trains its officers with skill sets that are invaluable: discipline, team work, leadership, logical thinking, and problem-solving. Shivani says that these are very similar to the Leadership Principles that Amazon operates on.
A regular day at work for Shivani involves multiple functions: charting forward-looking plans, managing daily operations, and removing roadblocks for her team so that they can perform their duties well. Shivani believes that her army experience has been an invaluable asset for her career when it comes to team management and delivering results at Amazon. "I communicate with my team with absolute clarity and transparency so that they are clear about the contribution they're making in fulfilling Amazon’s long-term vision. This motivates them and they choose to give their best," she says.
During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, onboarding new employees and ensuring they fit seamlessly within the team was something of a learning experience for Shivani. “For the first few days of every new hire in my team, I spent time with them directly to help them settle in – just like every new officer in the Army has a Senior Subaltern to groom and guide them in the ethos of the Armed forces,” she says.
Is it any doubt then that Amazon India is proud to call her an Amazonian?