Finding insight and connection in Amazon Mentors

One day I was checking my email and the next I was sitting in the Amazon building mesmerized by the amount of knowledge and wisdom one woman could hold. To say the Amazon Mentors Program was helpful would be an understatement!

Not only did this program allow my group members and I to see inside a large company and learn about the work environment here, it provided us with a lifelong friend and mentor to guide us and reassure us through one of the craziest storms we have been caught in yet. Navigating our way after college can sort of feel like this crazy whirlwind of emotions. One second you are enlightened by the idea of opportunity and a change of life and the next you find yourself in a complete meltdown feeling lost and confused. That daunting question from your relatives and friends asking “what are you going to do after college?” leaves you distracted and overwhelmed when all you can think about is getting through your next exam.

There’s this little sense of magic in being an arts and sciences major though! Not only do we have an array of knowledge, we have endless options of directions we can take after college. Exciting? Yes. Stressful and confusing. Absolutely! I can say I was honestly feeling this way as I began my senior year of undergrad at UW and knew my passions but didn’t know how to reflect this throughout my work post graduation. I can’t necessarily say that this program provided me with a sure path after I graduate BUT I can say that it provided me with new insight, reassurance, motivation, friendship, advice, and connections.

Each week my mentor organized a meeting with the lead of different departments that were relative to our career interests. I know what you’re thinking right now. How can this huge tech company relate to any of my interests? If you’re anything like me I have steered as far away from anything even closely tech related during my undergrad. I wondered how my interest in non-profit development could relate to Amazon. Simple, I met with Amazon Smile and was introduced to the corporate relations sector within Amazon furthering my understanding about ways I can pursue my passions and studies after college even within a large company.

My peers were interested in marketing and biology and they too found ways in which they could find a niche within a large company after college. However, that’s not what this program is about. It’s not about finding your “in” at Amazon or lining up a job after college. More so, it is about fostering a relationship with an esteemed professional who can provide you networking opportunities, advice, guidance, and encouragement.

Our remarkable mentor, Cortnee Blayton, is now a close friend and someone we can go to when we are facing difficult decisions or when we are feeling unsure of the future. Every professional working at Amazon has worked hard to get to where they are. They are also a part of a unique work environment that challenges them and leaves them feeling rewarded at the end of a long workday. With this experience, our mentor was able to recommend specific qualities we should work towards as we become professionals, gave us comfort in where we are at in developing our future, all while introducing us to some incredible people within the professional world who provided us with amazing insight.

Written by Ivyanne Smith, Class of 2018

By Ivyanne Smith
Ivyanne Smith