Celebrating Womanhood With Dana AlShahrani, Shift Manager, Delivery Station Regional Management At Amazon Saudi Arabia
Womanhood should not be celebrated on a particular day but rather every day. While we as women juggle many responsibilities and activities that we are ‘supposed to undertake,’ I had the humbling chance to speak with Dana Al Shahrani, who is here to build a mark for herself in a perhaps more male-dominated industry. We talked about her leadership at Amazon, her distinct stance in the business, and how she wants to empower women in the supply chain profession.
Dana, who holds a law degree, began her career at Amazon as an Operations Supervisor and was quickly promoted to Site Manager owing to her dedication. “My experience is unusual because my background is far from logistics – I have a degree in Law. Thus, when I applied for the position, I was thrilled to start over in a different pitch,” explains Dana. She supervises the facility’s day-to-day operations as a Shift Manager at one of Amazon’s delivery stations in Dammam, and she is the first woman to hold this position at Amazon in Saudi Arabia. “I manage a team of four supervisors, two of them being women, and all day-to-day operations of the facility to ensure that we always delight our customers with fast and reliable delivery,” adds Dana.
Her day starts with a daily stand-up meeting, after which she goes on the floor to watch the running cycles as well as check on the team if they are facing any challenges. “As a site leader, from the moment I walk into the delivery station daily, I have a whole team to support. Also, a vital part of my day is connecting with cross-functional teams across the business and leaders from different sites and offices,” says Dana.
We all know that effective leadership is vital to success in such a complex role, which Dana underscored by describing her experience at Amazon. “I have learned many leadership skills here at Amazon, one of the most important ones is Customer obsession, as I feel like it shapes all the work that we do, cause customers can be more than just our shoppers but could also be our partners, associates, supervisors and DA’s, giving a great customer experience to all these individuals is a goal that won’t change.” Additionally, she would also want to acknowledge her legal training, which has aided her in people management and helped her communicate more effectively with the team to provide the best support possible.
When we continued the chat, I was curious to know how she felt about being a woman in the logistics sector, as logistics and supply chain have been unusual career choices for any woman. “It’s an unconventional profession, but with an eight-month-old kid and a master’s degree, it’s quite a challenge,” Dana exclaims. “Balancing my personal aspirations with the quick pace of e-commerce logistics is a challenge, but one that I am driven to conquer, and it is this that makes me feel special.” Yet, Amazon’s work culture guarantees that every worker, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background, is empowered to offer their best and supported with world-class training programmes and clear avenues for advancement.
“I truly believe that we find our true selves where there is courage. I have a lot of courage and nerve, as well as patience. I am also very persistent when it comes to achieving what I set out to do,” states Dana when asked how she fits herself in a male-dominated industry. ‘Learn and be curious,’ one of Amazon’s Leadership Principles, has motivated her and helped her progress professionally – which means that leaders are constantly looking to improve themselves, intrigued about new possibilities, and acting to explore them. “I don’t usually shy away from challenges and am willing to fail to succeed in the long run.”
Dana’s professional progression has also been led and supported by Amazon’s Leadership Principles, with a critical value of learning implying an excellent customer experience. “I set myself aside from the congested logistics marketplace by making sensible business decisions. In addition to maintaining visibility for myself and my team through little and large successes, I invest time in myself and my profession by remaining current on industry demands and trends.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited consumer acceptance of online shopping and digital payments, necessitating rethinking every business’s goods or service delivery approach. As a result, the MENA logistics industry is on a solid development trajectory. The emphasis currently is on improving the efficiency and resilience of logistics and supply chain models. Dana says, “Technology and automation are key enablers in this space. Amazon is considered a pioneer in building and implementing advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Computer Vision (CV) to make our facilities safer and more efficient and to meet evolving customer needs. We constantly innovate in our operations and transportation to improve the customer and employee experience.”
Highlighting women and their role in not just logistics but any industry, Dana strongly believes that, “a lot of the challenges faced by working women revolve around the perception of what a woman can and cannot do, and this includes our perceptions that are sometimes driven by social and cultural factors.” Times have changed. And today, things are changing at lightning speed. “I feel blessed to be living and working in the 21st century, where more women enter the workforce and become leaders in their fields. Challenges do exist, but a positive tide of change enables all women to face these challenges and continue to grow to our full potential.”
As a logistics woman pursuing a master’s in logistics and supply chain management, Dana encourages young women to realise that nothing is complicated but to focus their efforts and time appropriately. “I would like to tell all Saudi women that as the Saudi economy continues to diversify, the opportunities for women are limitless. Logistics and supply chain is a fun field where you can put both your physical and mental abilities to work. Across the world, women are still in the minority in this sector, which gives me a responsibility to encourage more women to venture into this field. Within Amazon, I see so many women taking different types of roles across Technology, analytics, HR, marketing and charting successful career paths,” concludes Dana.
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