Amazon doesn’t need much of an introduction. When people need something shipped to them quickly, they often seek out Amazon first. Amazon has become a juggernaut in the distribution industry, but Amazon isn’t all Prime Memberships and packages. Rita Legro is a San Pedro native who went from imagining herself doing presentations in boardrooms to driving multi-million dollar launches. And the supply chain allowed her to get her foot in the door.

Rita is incredibly well-rounded in her career experience – she began her journey as an intern in Washington D.C. to learn about U.S. and China bilateral relationships, and worked as an administrative assistant at Exemplis Corporation. After being transparent with her bosses about wanting to move up, she was promoted to the role of “buyer,” which is someone who possesses knowledge of current markets to get the best deal for a product from a supply chain company.

During her time as a buyer, she pushed herself out of her comfort zone. Rita went above and beyond and found herself researching manufacturing terms in Spanish to be able to better communicate with suppliers in Mexico so that she could source different products and obtain good deals. This position allowed her to gain international exposure and further develop her people and negotiation skills.

Rita eventually pursued other career opportunities and landed a position as a Procurement Agent for Boeing. As a procurement agent, Rita’s responsibilities included conducting in-depth price analysis based on supply proposals, and managing $10M worth of domestic and international supplier contracts.

She attributes her ability to get her foot in the door at Boeing to her experience working with smaller supply chain companies. After doing well in that position, Rita was promoted to Financial Planning Analyst. Her ability to move across departments speaks to the logistics and supply chain industry’s interconnectedness and flexibility.

Now Rita works for Amazon as a Program Manager. She works on behalf of the manufacturers that need to interface with Amazon’s internal supply chain. Rita’s favorite thing about working for Amazon is the fast-paced environment and high level of employee engagement. She enjoys the fact that many of her projects don’t have scope or direction, and she’s therefore given the flexibility to do what she thinks is best for the company. Amazon also encourages push-back and debates among employees; in other words, if someone has a better solution for something, they are encouraged to speak up.

Interested in working in a similar role to Rita’s? Rita suggests that while Amazon or smaller start-ups may not place as much importance on a traditional four-year college degree, they do care about the value you can bring through experience and the answers you give during the behavioral-based portion of the interview process. Individuals can potentially make $70,000-$90,000 in supply chain fields depending on their skills. That means it is important to come to the interview prepared with a firm grasp on metrics and a deep understanding of how to figure out which metrics define success.

Once you get your foot in the door, maintaining a career and moving up in supply chain management seems more than plausible. Many companies are seeking problem-solving, team players to take them to the next level.

To learn more about programs within California Community Colleges in the fields of Global Trade, click here.

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