Amazon’s Ethos of Opportunity and Growth

How the company’s Black Employee Network champions the belief that diversity leads to better ideas
Kory Akinde, senior project manager

Innovation and creativity are Amazon’s distinguishing characteristics. Woven into the company’s fleet of products spanning e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and more, these key qualities have earned the company a reputation as one of the world’s most innovative. What differentiates Amazon from the competition, however, are two pillars foundational to its acclaimed employee experience.

A Culture of Inclusion

In order to nurture creativity and foster innovation, Amazon embraces a diverse and inclusive company culture. Beyond welcoming employees from all backgrounds, communities and experiences, Amazon empowers its employees through its thirteen affinity groups, also known as employee resource groups, which bring Amazon employees together across businesses and locations around the world. Among those groups, the company’s Black Employee Network (BEN) was formed to support Black employees by providing mentorship, leadership development workshops and valuable networking opportunities—leading to ​​more prominent roles for Black executives at the company and support for the broader Black community.

Cameron Coverdale, area maintenance manager

Celebrating more than eight years at Amazon, area maintenance manager Cameron Coverdale joined BEN upon its launch and has experienced the benefits of the employee resource group firsthand. “The program has highlighted some amazing Black leaders at Amazon and I find that really empowering,” he says. “It’s also served as a connecting point for some really cool mentors who’ve faced challenges similar to my own.”

Through affinity programs like BEN, the company has attracted a diverse roster of talent and enabled itself as a launchpad for career development where employees can learn new skills, grow their careers and work with people who share their values. For Coverdale, part of his success at Amazon came from participating in the company’s up-skilling and education assistance program Career Choice where he gained a certificate in Principles of Inventory Control. This led to some incredible work at the company, including transforming a contracted position into a full-time internal role and a promotion to his current position.

Career Growth

Investing in tomorrow’s innovators means building a company culture where employees have the opportunity for meaningful growth. With expansive efforts to broaden its employees’ skill sets, Amazon encourages best-practice sharing and gives employees the support they need to develop and scale big ideas and to grow their careers into even bigger roles.

Since Kory Akinde joined Amazon as an intern nearly four years ago, he’s received two promotions, worked at all Amazon Robotics Sort sites in Canada (launching two of them) and joined as a board member of BEN. The now senior project manager has even produced outreach initiatives in community leadership—partnering with more than 5 organizations in Ottawa to which he spearheaded $20,000 in donations. “I love working at Amazon,” says Akinde. “It has given me the opportunity to relocate three times within my short tenure and work with both Fulfillment and Last Mile Logistics.” Honing a diverse workforce results in happier and healthier employees, customers feeling more respected and managers having greater access to the talent they need for their projects to thrive. As Amazon continues to diversify its workforce and provide the right opportunities for growth within the company, it rises above its competitors as an employer of choice for diverse talent.

Joseph Cicerone
Joseph Cicerone