Leading with a difference

March 21, 2023 | By Anurima Das


Marta Sioch, Site Leader and Senior Manager, of Amazon Operations is Amazon’s first woman leader of a Fulfillment Center in the MENA region, leading a team of over 14 managers and overseeing operations of more than 400 team members. Over the last 17 years, she has manned operations from the front offering great mentorship support to her team. In a quick conversation with Marta, she tells us more about the inclusive environment that Amazon presents as a workplace and how it helps women grow in their roles with more power.

As a woman holding a top-rung position, how do you see equality shaping your strengths?
The most important success factor for me has been the work culture. Amazon’s commitment to be ‘a great place to work’ is more than just a mission statement. The company makes deliberate efforts to create a level playing field for people from various backgrounds to contribute their knowledge, ideas, and points of view to constantly innovate on behalf of customers. This diverse and welcoming environment has been integral to my professional growth and what I have been able to achieve in my career. As a person, I thrive being part of an upbeat, supportive, and collaborative environment. However, as a woman starting out in an industry typically considered unconventional for women, I initially faced self-made barriers to making my voice heard. As I got more familiar with my team and understood the strong leadership principles at Amazon, I realized how much each and every perspective is welcomed and valued, no matter who you are. I have been fortunate to have incredible managers and mentors who always supported my growth – whether through exposure to complex business challenges, mentoring to build my self-confidence, and accommodating family-related arrangements. As a woman leader, setting up and running a complex e-commerce operations site required me to work closely with cross-functional teams, hire and develop a team, and draw on their best strengths to ultimately deliver smiles to thousands of customers. The company’s equitable and inclusive culture where women are encouraged to be themselves, grow, and reach their full potential resonates across all levels of the organization and has played a significant role in my success.

Amazon has always pioneered change for its customers and brought to the front the right practices. How do you carry forward this change when leading the team?
At Amazon, we are obsessed with our customers. We follow a ‘Day 1’ mentality, which is a culture and an operating model that puts customers at the center of everything. It dictates that our approach remains the same as it was on Amazon’s very first day — to make smart, fast decisions, stay nimble, innovate, and invent. As leaders, we always start with the customer and work backward to earn and keep their trust. In order to do this, we motivate our teams to constantly think on behalf of our customers, understand their pain points and rapidly develop meaningful solutions for them. Everything we do as a team begins and ends with the customer.

What is your one word of advice to other companies to follow when it comes to shaping their workplace culture, to be more inclusive?
Building an inclusive workplace culture starts with deliberate efforts by leaders. It is important for organizations to extend trust to women employees by ensuring they are exposed to equally challenging assignments as their male counterparts and are given as many opportunities to show their competence and build their self-confidence. I also believe that building a strong cadre of women leaders within an organisation encourages other women to aspire to leadership roles, creating a positive cycle of change.

As a woman professional, leading from the front, what do you love to be regarded as? A trendsetter or a follower?
As a woman leader, I feel proud, but at the same time humbled that other women employees look to me as a source of inspiration for their own career paths. More than setting trends, I believe that my role gives me the resources and opportunity to drive change. For example, after listening to my team, I realised the power of community, and its role in supporting a thriving workplace, one that empowers teams to identify and drive change from the ground up. That is why we established several of Amazon’s global affinity groups at our fulfillment center. Today we have established seven such communities at our site alone, including ‘Women in UAE’ inspired by Amazon’s ‘Women in Amazon’; ‘Families at Amazon’, ‘Mental Health’, and ‘Black Employee Network’ with more than 200 of our employees joining these groups. Our affinity groups play a powerful role in building an inclusive culture, with members of each group sharing anecdotes and data with the organization to impact change.


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