Amazon VPs celebrate the trailblazing women in their families on Women’s Day

Amazon VPs celebrate the trailblazing women in their families on Women’s Day

Who inspires you? It’s a simple question that brings memories of people that have influenced the direction of one’s life from an early age. On International Women’s Day (March 8), we ask our VPs—Manish Tiwary (Country Manager, India Consumer Business), Rajeev Rastogi (Vice President, Machine Learning, Amazon) and Deepti Varma (Vice President – PXT, Amazon Stores India, Japan and Emerging Markets)—to take a trip down the memory lane and share personal stories. They highlight how the women in their families shaped their thinking, inspired their worldview and stirred them to pursue excellence. Edited excerpts.

Key to long-term happiness? Education and following one’s passion

Manish Tiwary, Vice President & Country Manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon

From a very young age, I’ve been inspired by the strength and determination of the women in my life. My mother Nirmala defied societal expectations to pursue a career, instilling in me the belief that education and following your passion are key to long-term happiness. My sisters, Rashmi—a leader in the world of Oncology medicine—and Priya—an applied data scientist—remind me daily of the power of perseverance and having an inspiring goal. My wife Pooja’s tireless pursuit of a doctorate in artificial intelligence while juggling a career and family life, inspires me to always continue on the learning path.

All these women have shaped who I am today. As a teenager considering my future career path, my mother actively encouraged me to follow my heart and this resulted in me opting for a career in management instead of the civil services, which was quite the norm where I grew up. That’s just one among countless moments of support and inspiration from my mother, sisters and my wife that have shaped my perspective on inclusion.

For me, true inclusion means creating spaces where everyone feels valued, where everyone’s unique potential can shine.

Manish Tiwary

Vice President & Country Manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon

This has been a key thought behind our ‘Saheli’ program through which we support women entrepreneurs in building robust businesses using ecommerce. Today, this program impacts over 18 lakh women across the country.

#InspireInclusion is the theme for International Women’s Day 2024 and it’s upon all of us to be build an inclusive world. It’s an ongoing effort, and I’m committed to being a part of this effort.

Daily dose of inspiration from the mother and mother-in-law

Deepti Varma, Vice President – PXT, Amazon Stores India, Japan and Emerging Markets

International Women's Day

While there are countless women who have inspired me with their accomplishments, there are 2 who have been my role models. First, my mother who started her formal career at the age of 40 as a teacher in a central school. She worked her way up to become Vice Principal by the time of her retirement. And my mother-in-law, who despite having an amputated leg, never let her physical limitations hold her back.

My mother-in-law’s outlook in life is more forward-looking than many people I know.

Deepti Varma, Vice President – PXT, Amazon Stores India, Japan and Emerging Markets

They both have consistently been my pillars of support, offering unwavering encouragement both in my personal and professional life. Similarly, at Amazon, I have had the honour of working with many women who have helped shape my career and build perspectives. I am proud to be part of Amazon where inclusion isn’t merely a goal for us but is ingrained in every aspect of our culture as a fundamental way of life.

Sharing mom’s love for computer science as a 10-year-old

Rajeev Rastogi, Vice President, Machine Learning, Amazon

International Women's Day

My mom’s always been a role model and a source of inspiration right from the time I was a child. I inherited my core values—passion for science, hard work, honesty, humility and simple living—from here. My mom got her Bachelor’s degree in Electronics from Osmania University in 1965. She often jokes that she was the only woman in her class, but I can imagine how difficult it must have been for her to pursue engineering in India 60 years ago! She joined Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) as a computer scientist in 1966 and worked there for 37 years until she retired in 2003. At BARC, she did research in parallel computing and image processing for the nuclear program. In fact, she was training neural networks in the mid-nineties to develop AI and pattern recognition applications. My own interest in science was spurred at a young age as a result of my frequent visits to BARC. I remember being fascinated by the giant computers kept in chilly air-conditioned rooms. As a kid, I’d look forward to playing computer games and eating mouth-watering samosas in the BARC canteen. I knew then that I wanted to be a computer scientist – which my naive 10-year-old self had equated with playing games and eating samosas all day.

My mom has always been there for me when I needed help – from teaching me to solve math problems in fourth grade to debugging assembly programs when I was an undergraduate student.

Rajeev Rastogi

Vice President, Machine Learning, Amazon

She is truly a trailblazer and I am super proud of her.

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