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Celebrating women who have a passion for technology and digital, inspiring the next generation to dream bigger.
Rachel’s role at Amazon combines three things she loves - project engineering, helping people, and organising things. She’s also a director of the Cheltenham Science Group.
I've lived in 5 different countries (UK, The Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and Luxembourg)
I'm a director of the Cheltenham Science Group – bringing hands on science to people in Cheltenham: www.cheltenhamsciencegroup.co.uk
I still enjoy building models out of Lego.
I manage a team of people who provide support to the project engineers around Europe, who build new distribution warehouses or expansions to existing warehouses. My team makes sure that the projects are properly funded, that the suppliers deliver the equipment on time and that the commissioning of the equipment goes smoothly.
I chose to be an engineer because I loved science and maths. I've always chosen to work for companies and in roles that I am passionate about. I started my career working for a chocolate company (Cadbury) and spent ten years working throughout the supply chain in purchasing, operations management, process development, project engineering and programme management. Then I moved into the beer industry and worked in World Class Manufacturing.
Now that I'm at Amazon, I've found a role where I can combine three things that I love: helping people, organising things and project engineering.
I've had different mentors at different stages of my career, to help me with different situations. When I joined Amazon, I realised that I needed a mentor in order to learn about the culture of Amazon and how to be effective in the new environment. I thought about the people I had met when I started at the company and chose to ask the Director of Reliability and Maintenance Engineering to be my mentor. He helps me by sharing his experiences and giving me a different perspective.
Rather than a particular person, I am inspired by people who have the discipline to stick with difficult things – whether that's a project at work or a fitness programme.
Because if I see that they can do it, I'm feel motivated to do it too.
I wish that I'd thought harder about which industries would be growing in the future and how the world of work would change in the coming years. I'm still pleased that I followed my passion for chocolate and engineering and wouldn't want to have done anything differently, but I think it would have been good to be conscious of the choices I was making.
Children's perceptions are fixed at such an early age, it's important to do everything possible to inform parents and educators about the huge possibilities that exist for young people's futures. I'm having such an amazing, fun-filled career and would hate for others to miss out on similar opportunities just because they didn't know about it. I love sharing my experiences so that others can learn about the fabulous range of exciting and prestigious jobs available.
You spend a lot of time at work, so try to do something that you enjoy and don't give up. A career is a journey.
When thinking about careers, this quote springs to mind: "If you don't plan your career, someone else will do it for you." (Peter Reineck, 2002). But I would change it to "If you don't plan your career, no one else will do if for you."
And "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." (Mahatma Ghandi). This resonates with me as I try to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, whilst continuing to learn new technical skills and languages.