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Amazon's Worldwide Delivery Service Partner Program with Marisa LeCarny

Marisa LeCarny recently provided us with a deep dive into her career journey with Amazon and the company's Worldwide Delivery Service Partner Program. With an extensive background in Amazon's product development ecosystem, she offers unique insights on career growth, management, and skill development.

A Glimpse into Marisa's Journey at Amazon

Marisa's journey, which she sums up as a "10-year exciting evolution", began as an entry-level content evaluation specialist with Kindle Direct Publishing. She swiftly moved up the ranks and branched out into different facets of Amazon. This included spearheading the Amazon Flex program and development of the Delivery Service Partner program. Notably, Marisa emphasized Amazon's fostering culture of continuous skill development across diverse industries.

The Recipe For Career Development

Marisa identified four core pillars to career success: understanding the tools in your tool belt, knowing when to make a change, remember it's not always about your manager, and remembering that you are the boss of your career.

  1. Understanding the Tools in Your Tool Belt: According to Marisa, being aware of your career development level and the skills you have nurtured over the years is crucial. As you transition between roles, some key strengths guide you.
  2. Knowing When to Make a Change: Marisa advised being strategic about when to make career changes ensure success.
  3. It's Not All About Your Manager: While mentors and sponsors are important, Marisa underscored the value of peer learning, mentors throughout all levels, and building a broad network of other skilled individuals.
  4. You're The Boss of Your Career: The most important aspect of career progression, according to Marisa, is self-leadership. An individual should always be proactive in scouting opportunities and navigate their career path.


Marisa's journey in Amazon and her guiding principles for career growth are profound with real-life insights and actionable steps. Remember, everyone's career is a journey, and it's essential to always be in the driver's seat. Be assertive, understand the tools you bring to the table, and remember that your career direction is yours to drive.

Video Transcription

Awesome. Well, I'm super excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me. Uh like Margo mentioned, I'm pre I lead Amazon's worldwide delivery service partner program. And what we're responsible for is managing and growing network of entrepreneurs and delivery companies that Power Amazon in-house last Mile delivery.

So our partners work across the globe delivering millions of customer orders. And if you've seen any those big delivering pack in the work, my team. Uh and uh before I get started, if you have questions, I'm assuming Margo is gonna kind of pull up questions afterwards. So please be sure to ask questions in the chat box and I'll try to address as many as I can. Uh So I thought it would be a background about myself. Uh As you might be able to tell from my name version. Uh My parents were born and raised in Iran, moved here and I was in Seattle and raised in the US as, as my brother. Uh but we were raised and instilled in an Iranian culture in America, uh which was awesome and hard at times. But one of the things that my parents really instilled in me was the mentality that learning is a huge part of uh and constantly developing skills really at any age or regardless of how kind of accomplished you are, is, is a really important doing. And uh my father is an accomplished professor of chemistry. And my mom also set really great examples by having gone to college later in her life after my brother and myself were born and now owns her own business. And so I embodied this mentality about constant development and how I think about career growth. And I'll a little bit about that today background. I attended the University of Washington. You can see my U dub flag here go dogs uh for my undergrad.

And I actually double majored in English and journalism. Uh And I spent a lot of my time at actually working at the Daily, which is their school paper. Um So as you can tell it didn't come up from a like core technical background. And this is one of the things that I'm very passionate about is how you can really develop into the skill set that you want to have in your career is kind of where your roots came from. Um When I from me, uh clear to me that print journalism, which is what I was trained in as an industry was just drastically evolving. So I started to broaden my options for launching my career and actually started looking at Amazon a company, I never really thought that I would work at. Uh but I was in kindle direct publishing as Margot mentioned and it felt similar to journalism, it was about publishing. So I applied um and I started at Amazon in an entry level position for those who are familiar with Amazon leveling. It was a level four. Uh And I think I got the job mostly because of my background working at the Daily. Actually, I managed a team of copy editors there and I was really working on improving copy edit processes and quality as well as kind of developing my writing skill set.

So I think that that um portfolio of work really got me the job and I worked in this new business at the time. This was 10 years ago, it was called Kindle Direct Publishing. And it was designed to enable authors to self publish their content to the Kindle Store, which was cool because it dramatically reduced the barriers to entry in the publishing world. So my job was titled Content Evaluation Specialist, which uh is a fancy title for what I was doing back then, which was really reading books every day. Uh My role was um partly to help define content, quality guidelines, but really it was also to evaluate whether the content was meeting those guidelines, which in many cases was actually reading the content. Um So this process really helped me understand what customer obsession meant at Amazon from the ground up, both from the author's point of view, as well as the reader's point of view. But there wasn't much automation in the early days. So my role evolved over time to more of a program manager to first focus on process efficiency improvements as our team grew.

And then over time into a product management function, as we built a tech team to help us start to automate uh our more solid processes and turn them into technology. So so li aside engineers understand how through designing technical solutions and really understand what they needed from me to ensure that they were building the appropriate sos for customers. So it gave me great insights as to how to be a good technical product manager and sparked my passion for not just delivering results in kind of an operational role, but how to leverage that operational goodness to fuel technical product development. And I actually even got my first patent in this role just two years into Amazon, which I was really excited about. But one of the things I love about Amazon is the focus on career development from leadership. And my director at the time saw that I had a passion for product development. I clearly was enjoying working with the engineers. And uh he realized that I was likely and too operational of a team to be able to the skill set that I seem to be really hungry for. And so um as product management opportunities started to open up on the business side of KDP.

He urged me to consider them and I did and I started down the rest of what would become a pretty technical career at Amazon. Um So at that time, I was promoted into a level five product manager. I spent about as A PM and KDP. But I started to feel the urge to work on a new challenge. And what's really cool again about Amazon is that they fo foster a culture of kind of developing your skill set across different industries because there are so many different facets within the company. So I started to look for open roles and I became interested in new product opportunities developing in the last mile component of operations. A space that actually had very few product managers at the time, but a really growing group of engineers, so I transitioned over there and my first project was hot off Jeff bezos' desk. It was originally called Amazon Magic, which later turned into prime now and they needed delivery tools to help launch this new ultra fast delivery service for Amazon. So I became the lead PM for developing a new mobile delivery application that drivers would use to deliver ultra fast prime now deliveries. And it was my first big V one fast paced product at Amazon.

Uh I learned how to ruthlessly prioritize take the product skills that I developed in KDP, extended to more mobile development skills and stay laser focused on the key customer outcomes we were trying to accomplish to ultimately result in delivering a product in record time for both myself and the broader team, I think from start to finish, it was something like 100 and 11 days, which is just crazy.

Um And the extra cool thing about it was it was with a team of women who were really developing this product, which was so cool and so inspiring. Um from there, I became incredibly passionate about the delivery space. And I morphed my role into taking the technology we built for ultra fast delivery to become the lead PM focused on evolving uh that tech into kind of an end to end product that enabled anybody to sign up to do deliveries for Amazon in their spare time. And that's now referred to as Amazon Flex. But it helped me evolve my product thinking from a tool that was designed to kind of complete tasks to a tool that had to holistically represent a customer's journey from on boarding to scheduling, to delivering packages, to getting paid.

So I learned a lot about human centric design. What does it take to help someone who may never have done deliveries before offer a great customer experience through technology. And I also was able to stretch my skill set into eventually leading a team of product managers. So got promoted within that role to start being a team lead and it ended up being something I was really passionate about doing after I'd gotten my legs really solidly underneath me. Um Leading kind of big projects as an, as an independent individual contributor. Um But after a couple of years of really focusing on driver experience, tech and expanding the coverage of Amazon Flex across the globe, I was offered the opportunity to take what I learned thus far in ops to develop a new product and business offering, what's now referred to as the delivery service partner program.

And I took my product and tech knowledge and I started to extend it into designing more comprehensive, like managing a PNL thinking through how to on board and set entrepreneurs up for success and launching their own delivery companies with Amazon, you know, launching exclusively negotiated third party services for them to use to help grow their business.

So a lot of really new skills to layer on top of the technical skills I've developed and the leadership skills I've developed. And this also helped me start to build a more cross functional team which now included directly leading teams of engineers which um really further enhance my development. And that's where I am today. And it's, it's been a really exciting um 10 years, I just passed my 10 years at Amazon and I'm proud to say that really, every year continues to bring me new learning opportunities that I've been kind of hungry for and grasping um to really evolve my core product development, skill set that I started with early on in my career.

So, what I wanna dig into now is talk about what um I, you know, call the recipe for career development. Uh And I think one of if not the most important thing I've learned throughout my career is that the direction uh is that my career in the direction I want to go are really mine to drive. Over the years. I've developed some guiding principles for my own growth and I thought I'd share uh and they really center around four core pillars. So I'll work through each one of them. Uh The first is understanding the tools in your tool belt depending on where you're at in your career. It's important to be aware of where you're at in your skill development. I'm laser focused on ensuring that every role I'm in big knee in some shape or form, like I said earlier, I get bored easily and I'm really aware of what my growth opportunities are. So the moment I feel like I'm not developing those further, I move on or ask for more. And the great thing about Amazon is that I know the way I've traversed my career will make me an awesome business leader regardless of where I work because I've been able to these amazing tools and refine them over my career at Amazon.

So the better you understand what tools are in your belt, you also determine and develop more organically what your brand is. Uh as you determine what tools you bring into each role. And as you could tell through my career path, I've really built on the tools I've developed in my prior roles. With each job transition, you'll find some key strengths that guide you in each of your roles and that kind of becomes your brand. Some people are quality masters or big thinkers and innovators. So you'll learn to find the balance of leaning into the tools you've sharpened over your past roles and learning new ones. The next core pillar is to know when it's the right time to make a change. Amazon is essentially a huge company filled with a bunch of smaller companies across a really industries. So that means there's always opportunity to learn about whatever you want to learn about right within the same company. So I find opportunities to learn new skills or diversify wherever you may be and then leverage that to navigate evolutions to your job when you need to, to make sure that pillar, number one, your tools stay true. So whether that's changing from a technical program manager to a product manager, from a non tech to a technical role, an IC to a manager, et cetera, whatever, like what's my transit is to.

But I like to three things stay constant so that you don't set yourself up for failure, your job, family or the context you're operating in the people that you work with, I would be smart about when and where you want to make big career changes that you have the support you need to be successful, then you can sprint again.

So I mentioned this earlier up front with managers about the goal that I wanted to build through each of the job transitions that I kind of talk through. And after being a p an individual contributor for a few, you know, the team product managers, I did that in my Amazon flex role. And after being able to build a portfolio of diverse products, I was eager to build my own tech rather than just partner with a separate tech team. So I was upfront with my manager about it. And we worked on a plan where I could be mentored to build up the skills I needed to actually be a tech lead myself and prac assumptions of scope as I transitioned to the role I'm in now in the DS P business, which ultimately expanded my role to lead technology teams directly.

So I did it by evolving the context I was in working closely with the peers and managers, I trust ensured I had the appropriate safety net to take risks but know that I wouldn't dramatically fail if that makes sense. The third pillar is, it's not all about your man. People say how into is all about totally disagree with that times I was learning the most. They had a really healthy blend peers, the a and sometimes managers, but that wasn't always true. So what I like to recommend to all of my ment, it's important to fully assess you have your, you're going to get out of that. And again, if all number one, the tools in your, are these people going, you add tools. Uh part of that is also building out a really work. I get a lot of uh asking me questions about uh how do I get better mentors? How do I get sponsors? And really, to me, one of the first things I tell people who are new to Amazon, advice to anybody new in any company or really transitioning roles is to think through who's in your network and be ruthless in asking for one on ones or coffee dates or just casually hanging out and getting to know other people with different skill sets than yours because you will be so surprised how many people will remember that and you'll start to find these natural connections that help you pave kind of what the next challenge you go addresses.

So don't wait for your manager to open those doors for you or to introduce you to people, you gotta do it yourself. And then the last pillar is uh probably the most important one. You're the boss of your career finally. And most importantly, uh you are the boss of your career development and the person who cares the most about you in any role at any company is you. Of course, we all have mentors or sponsors or just generally people who support us through our careers that you own the road map to your future. And the biggest ingredient that I attribute to my rapid career development to the company was that I was looking for the next door of opportunity. And I was consistently the one to open that the tactics they used to help me with. This was a blend of managing up really well, which means setting up expectations with my managers throughout my career on what I wanted to learn and then holding them accountable to any barriers I needed them to reduce, to help me learn those things. And also staying vigilant about what opportunities would interest me most or keep me learning most and identifying those opportunities for the most part myself. Now, this again, doesn't mean I didn't have great sponsorship or manager um support throughout my career.

It's quite the opposite, but I leverage those relationships in a way where I was in the driver, super aware of what I needed to keep you growing. So I only have a couple minutes left. And as I wrap up, I'd like to say that a lot of the above uh luck or a matter of being in the right place at the right time. But it was also a set of really deliberate steps I took to ensure I was moving in the right direction with every evolution I made to my job. A lot of this was thanks to the incredible network of peers, mentors, sponsors and just generally really smart people with diverse skills that I was able to very consciously develop over the past decade. And every time I got great advice, I pass it along to my network of people that I thought. Could you when I find a great mental, the goodness of what they helped me it along to my mentees as I see my talent, particularly my female talent on the team seem ready for a change.

Like finding that great senior engineer who may be ready to be a software development manager or seeing that great T PM, eager to start trying to be a PN uh or just seeing that it's time for someone to move on to industry or team and take their well refined skill set elsewhere to see what else they can learn.

I push them to think bigger about their careers. Many of us, particularly females, we doubt ourselves and I still do this. It's a really hard thing to curb. Um But it's up to us to remind each other and ourselves every day of what we're capable of and what skills we have to know what we can do with them and where we can grow further. So I urge anybody with to consider who your network are, consider the people around you think about how you can help pay it forward when you become successful. And as you're in the process of getting there be unapologetic about driving for the needs and desires of your career.

Because at the end of the day, you're in the driver's seat. Thank you so much. Ok,

thank you, Marisa. We had so much positive feedback coming through in the chat for you, sharing your story with us. I love how you had, you know, the technical components and understanding like the actual steps. But then so much just general inspirational advice too that I think really resonated with a lot of people because you had it, you had it so well balanced between the two. So thank you so much, Theresa. Um I think we have time for one quick question and uh and we've got some funny questions in the chat here. Maybe, maybe we'll ask you one really quickly

here, Pasa with our one left.

Will you go on Jeff Bezos rocket in space?

Absolutely not. That is one of the things that I will absolutely not do. I will manage Earth for Jeff. He can go with Earth under

control. OK. Great, great. Well, we trust that you do have the Earth under control here. Bares. Thanks so much for joining us today and we will take a little

conference. Of course. Bye bye.