She's been a marathon runner in the past, finds time to engage in charitable services like food distribution drives, animal rehabilitation, and education for underprivileged. And yes, at Amazon India, Ruma Jalali works as Senior Manager, Technical Services Operational Excellence (India and APAC). having joined earlier this year, Ruma says, “this is a fantastic place to hone your skills. The ecosystem is warm and encourages you to be successful and to grow professionally.”
Recently, during an online session, Ruma shared her journey with a large audience, recollecting her work experience across multiple sectors and sharing lessons on her various operational and strategic roles along with people management.
Below are excerpts from that session where Ruma spoke about work-life balance, pursuing passions, and what makes Amazon an outstanding workplace.
Life at Amazon
“At Amazon, diversity and inclusion are our priority. It’s not just about gender diversity, but bringing in different thought processes, experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives,” says Ruma.
In fact, she even shares some tips for those aspiring to work at Amazon. “During the job interview, always share your experiences and achievements at your last job, and follow the situation-task-action-result (STAR format). If you keep all your examples in this sequence, there will be more clarity and fewer follow-up questions.”
Having worked at multiple corporate firms across various sectors for more than two decades, Ruma finds that Amazon’s USP is the mentoring and career path building programs for women and veterans.
“Our focus is on attracting the best of talent, develop them and retain them for their long-term successful careers”
She elaborates, “Our focus is on attracting the best of talent, develop them and retain them for their long-term successful careers. We encourage all our women to have mentors who can help them navigate the system and be a support mechanism. Besides maternity benefits, we also have specific roles for women who have taken career breaks and want to re-join the workforce. These are programmes in which women can resume work in 50/70/100% capacity.”
Excelling on different roles & responsibilities
Ruma is versatile in many roles including People management, Operational, Strategic and Transformation roles. She shares one of her success from her past organization, "There was a program where top 50 managers were to be selected from 1000s of managers across the globe, and this entire process required a lot of effort to go through a stringent process, assessments, preparations, making presentations, delivering results & all this were over and above the regular BAU (Business As Usual) work, that you were assigned to deliver any-which ways. Nevertheless, I think this was kind of a success story, as I was recognized as a Manager Champion globally, and I got an opportunity to receive the award from the IBM's Chairman & CEO back then, from Ginni Rometty herself.
Ruma also adds , "I was involved as a change champion globally to drive the deployment of complete analytics platform which benefited the teams to perform their jobs better. So, I was completely involved in leading some of these transformation initiatives. Hence, its not just about technology, its about people & delivering results, because that's what differentiates us. While technology is absolutely important and critical for the success of the business, but I consider it as a enabler which helps us to do our jobs more efficiently, so that our resources & teams can be deployed with more meaningful & meaty roles"
“While technology is absolutely important and critical for the success of the business, but I consider it as a enabler which helps us to do our jobs more efficiently.
Ruma also believes that one of her biggest lessons has been in people-management. “Motivation to perform better happens due to different reasons for each team member: money, recognition, work-life balance, more responsibilities, or a different portfolio. Managing their expectations is essential for their longevity at your organization,” she says.
Maintaining work-life balance
Ruma also spoke candidly about juggling between her responsibilities at home and at her job in her initial years. “There were times when I wanted to give up on my career and stay home; but I reached out for support. As women, we need maximum support of our team, our mentors, and of course at the personal front, ” says Ruma.
According to her, women taking a break from career is normal and organisations should encourage more women to come back to work. “Once you join back at work, make it a point to give your best and deliver whatever is expected from you in that role,” she urges women returning to work after a break.
Ruma, who is currently living in Bangalore , has been active in extra-curricular activities since she was a student. At school, she was a debate champion, and while pursuing her graduation, she took flying lessons, did her first solo and got the student flying license back then..
Ruma has been a marathon runner in the past, and has also found time to engage in charitable services through Dhyan Foundation, an NGO that conducts yoga sessions, food distribution drives, animal rehabilitation, and education for underprivileged. “Being part of this initiative for the past seven years has helped me develop mindfulness, empathy and compassion. It is a holistic approach to my mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing,” she says.