Alexa, chart my career path!

Stefanie Potgieter graduated from our program in 2015 and now works as a senior program manager with the Secure AI Foundations team at Amazon. Her role has several different components. She is the Business Operations Manager for an organization of 5,000+ employees worldwide. Her responsibilities also include executive communications, helping to define and execute a communication strategy for the organization’s vice president.

We asked Stefanie about communication and culture at Amazon and her jobs since graduation. She offers some excellent advice for every communicator, wherever they are on their career path.

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Global in Outlook, Local in Attitude

In December 2018, I began my 21-hour journey from Boston to Singapore to embark on a two-year international assignment. Until this point, my career had been built on corporate communications roles, working at my company’s U.S. headquarters.

In my new role, I would be responsible for building the company’s reputation through digital media in Asia Pacific (APAC), including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

In APAC, I spent a lot of time listening and learning to get a full understanding of the current online activities that were either diluting, damaging or improving the company’s reputation in each country. From there, it was my job to identify how to harmonize digital content creation and optimize social media channels to drive consistency in alignment with global brand principles.  

This experience has changed the way I view communications in three ways:

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Unintended consequences — how a capstone project expanded my professional network

From the onset of my graduate career, it was important to me to draw parallels between my professional life as a public affairs officer for a federal government agency and my continuing education. Not only did this approach help gain the support of my colleagues, but it also underlined the connection between my work to my studies. So, without hesitation, I chose a capstone project that proved to be as enriching professionally as it was academically.

My goal was to develop a resource guide for my public affairs colleagues, especially the newcomers. What I had no way of knowing was how the project would morph into a major networking opportunity.

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