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Helen Xing and Amazon's Core Principles

By JRC Reporter: Alvin Tong


Amazon, the global e-commerce powerhouse, not only excels in delivering packages, but also thrives on unique principles that shape its culture and leadership. One of the notable figures embodying these principles is Helen Xing, an unstoppable force at the center of education, technology, and social impact. As the visionary leader of the Worldwide Data Analytics Partner GTM at Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the Americas and Global Public Sector, Helen not only achieved professional success but a commitment to principles that propel leadership.


While Amazon is renowned for its vast product range and quick deliveries, the software arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), stands out as one of its most profitable units. With about 120,000 employees, AWS might be smaller in workforce compared to other Amazon branches, but its impact on the company's overall profitability is massive. Under the guidance of leaders like Helen Xing, AWS plays a crucial role in maintaining Amazon's industry leadership.


Helen Xing's journey reflects the flexibility of career paths. Initially majoring as a chemist, she transitioned into computer engineering, dropped out of medicinal chemistry, and found her passion in business. A Wharton graduate, Helen is responsible for sales and sales enablement for machine learning at AWS, emphasizing the distinct training required for sales teams compared to cloud and technical teams.


The 16 Leadership Principles:


Amazon's leadership principles serve as the foundation of its corporate culture, and Helen Xing incorporates them into her role at AWS. “These principles are vital to the growing generation” she quotes, these principles that define leadership at Amazon include:


Ownership: At Amazon, everyone is considered an owner. Leaders, especially, are expected to think long-term and act on behalf of the company.


Customer Obsession: The culture at Amazon revolves around understanding and meeting customer needs. Leaders obsess over customers while paying attention to competitors.


Invent and Simplify: Leaders are encouraged to think creatively and simplify processes. The ability to invent and simplify is highly valued.


Be Curious: Embrace the spirit of curiosity. Leaders are expected to learn about products and processes openly.


Think Big: Start small but always think big. This principle encourages starting with grand visions while scaling rapidly.


Be Frugal: Accomplish more with less. Leaders are urged to be mindful of resources.


Bias for Action: Taking action is crucial, and there's an emphasis on not being afraid to fail. Failures are seen as learning opportunities.


Deliver Results: Results matter. Leaders are expected to produce outcomes in a timely manner.


Dive Deep: Stay connected to details. Leaders are encouraged to thoroughly research topics they focus on.


Earth’s Best Employer: Amazon cares for its employees, emphasizing equity and inclusion.


Disagree and Commit: Leaders are encouraged to challenge decisions even when uncomfortable. Once a decision is made, commitment is expected.


Insist on the Highest Standards: Set the bar high. Amazon places a premium on maintaining exceptional standards.


Hire the Best and Develop Them: Everyone is encouraged to raise the bar continually.


Success and Skill Bring Broad Responsibility: Responsibility is a key aspect at Amazon, extending to bettering the community.


As the interview with Helen Xing concluded, she shared valuable advice for the younger generation. Focusing on passion, identifying available resources, prioritizing tasks, and defining personal success were among the key takeaways. Helen emphasized the importance of seeking out principles, reflecting on failures, and recognizing that what excites someone else might not align with one's aspirations.


In the world of Amazon and AWS, Helen Xing stands as a shining example of female leadership, showcasing the principles that were necessary for the company's success. Her journey, from chemistry to tech leadership, reflects the adaptability and perseverance required in today's professional landscape. As Amazon continues to evolve, leaders like Helen ensure that the principles guiding the company remain steadfast, creating a culture of innovation, customer-focused, and ownership that sets Amazon apart on the global stage.


This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club

(CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 25 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.

Instagram: @capa_jrc



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