Lauren Kisser is director of operations at Amazon Prime Air in Cambridge. She worked in programme management and information security at Disney before joining Amazon a decade ago. Prime Air is a delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones.
“…For me, confidence comes from playing to your strengths and not trying to be someone else. If you try to be someone you’re not, it’s uncomfortable for everyone…”
My career to date
I was exposed to computers and technology from an early age and by the time I finished school, the Internet was really starting to take off. I knew I wanted to be part of this revolution and took my career in that direction.
My first job was with a small marketing firm where I oversaw the technology that supported the business. I quickly developed an enthusiasm for using technology to solve customer and business problems. I wanted to learn more so I left the company to study business leadership and technology at grad school. I then put my passion and education to work by driving security and compliance initiatives for Disney and Washington Mutual, a bank. This led to my dream job at Amazon – where I’ve now been for over ten years. I joined the Prime Air team about three years ago.
My role on a day to day basis
Being based in the UK, my day usually starts by scanning emails to see what’s come in overnight from our teams across the world. This helps me determine what the priorities are for the day. Once I’m up to speed, it’s breakfast with my husband and kids before starting the obligatory school run.
At our Amazon Prime Air office in Cambridge, I sit down with my team and assess what support they need for the day ahead. I also do a quick assessment of issues that might need resolving tomorrow and think about possible solutions.
Like a lot of working mums, when I get home, my attention switches to the children and getting them ready for bed. After this, I might enjoy a glass of wine with my husband while we chat about our day and then have another quick scan of my emails before bed.
Balancing work and life
I’ve encountered the challenges most people face in their careers especially when it comes to balancing work and home life. I’m a wife, mother of two and a passionate career woman so finding time to prioritise everything I love is always challenging.
My job is demanding, so I’m lucky that I have an amazing support system at home. My husband and I constantly focus on making sure that our priorities are aligned. Communication is the key to success in balancing family and work life. We always talk and ensure we’re on the same page and I think we have been very successful in that.
Advice for women in leadership
The first thing is to have confidence. I think this can help anybody achieve anything. For me, confidence comes from playing to your strengths and not trying to be someone else. If you try to be someone you’re not, it’s uncomfortable for everyone. So, it’s important to know your own voice and be confident in what you’re bringing to the team. As a leader, I look for opportunities where I can help others develop their skills. This makes for a stronger team.
I’ve worked at Amazon for over a decade and truly believe in how we are solving complex problems for customers, making their lives easier and building great teams in the process. I want to continue to be a part of that journey and use my experience to coach and mentor others. I really think that’s where I can have a big impact.