How Amazon MENA is embracing equity
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How Amazon MENA is embracing equity

How Amazon MENA is embracing equity

The company’s first woman supply chain director, Deniz Rekkali, talks about how organisations that embrace equity can support women to accelerate their path to leadership

Amazon MENA Supply Chain Director Deniz Rekkali

1. As Amazon’s first woman supply chain leader in the MENA region, what are the top factors that have contributed to your success?

Amazon MENA’s leadership is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace where every employee feels safe and empowered to deliver their best. Amazon values diverse opinions, points of view, cultural backgrounds and experience, and, as a senior woman leader, I have felt respected and confident to be myself and make a difference.

Another factor that stands out for me is the company’s focus on the employee experience right from the start of an employee’s journey. Our onboarding and learning programmes are outstanding, providing new joiners with a well-rounded understanding of the business, culture and hands-on operational experience. This was particularly valuable for me when I joined the company from a different industry.

The vast resources available have been instrumental to finding my footing. Ultimately, the biggest enabler for my success has been the capability, attitude and passion of our people – their willingness to go the extra mile and commitment to growth.

2. The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #EmbraceEquity. What can organisations do to embrace equity that will help more women to make it to the C-suite level?

Creating a culture of equity ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to fulfill their personal and professional goals.

While there has been significant progress in gender diversity in the region, we still have a long way to go, and improving diversity at every level within the organisation is essential to drive impactful change. Companies should identify and remove systemic barriers, create tailored solutions to support individuals who may be affected by such barriers, and provide everyone with equal access to opportunities, resources and recognition.

Implementing hiring strategies and women-specific programmes such as training and upskilling programmes is crucial. Another critical step towards achieving equity is for companies to address the imbalance in household responsibilities between men and women. Women are often at a disadvantage in their careers when they take time off for childcare or other family responsibilities.

To create a truly inclusive culture, flexible work opportunities can help to achieve accelerated career growth and create a positive bias to support those who need to balance personal and professional responsibilities.

3. What measures are being taken within Amazon to improve the pipeline of female talent?

At Amazon, we strive to be a great place to work and this vision drives us to continuously evolve our policies and practices to ensure we are levelling the playing field for women.

From recruitment to retention and career advancement, at every step, our aim is to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace where women feel confident in being themselves, advancing their careers and pursuing leadership positions.

To counteract bias, our managers are empowered by inclusive leadership and unconscious bias training programmes.

Our operating mechanisms ensure that inclusivity is built into our processes, not left to chance. We coach our teams to lead with empathy, identify, interrupt and overcome any unconscious bias, thus creating an environment that is equitable and just for everyone.

4. On International Women’s Day, what advice would you like to give young women in the MENA region who are just starting their careers?

Growing up, I was fortunate to be raised in a family that values gender equality and traditional values. I have received continuous support from my loved ones throughout my career, but I have also witnessed the struggles and successes of women who were not as fortunate but eventually carved their own paths towards fulfilling their purpose.

To the young women who are just starting their careers, my advice is to envision your future with bold possibilities – both personally and professionally. Surround yourself with leaders who uphold strong values. Seek advice and observe, but ultimately make your own decisions.

Remember that your career is a long journey and that there will be moments where you must make tough choices. At times, you may want to accelerate or slow down due to personal or family priorities, and that’s perfectly fine, but always believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to do.

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