We are sharing the stories of Amazon employees across the UK who go above and beyond in their local communities. This series celebrates the work that Amazon’s employees have done for their local communities, such as providing breakfasts for school children, or donating to local charities through our COVID-19 relief programme. Through their passion, enthusiasm and community spirit, our employees all have the opportunity to make a positive impact.
We spoke to Marta Bruvere during her time as a General Manager’s Assistant (GMA) at our fulfilment centre in Gateshead – just before she left to start her new role as an IT Programme Coordinator. Marta explained that during her time as a GMA she focused on employee engagement in the fulfilment centre and building relationships with the communities surrounding it.
Marta helped to support a number of charities close to the sites she has worked at throughout the country, in locations including Warrington, Durham and Gateshead, and worked closely with her colleagues to identify vital local charities like HumanKind and the Warrington Youth Club.
Helping people feel seen and heard
“When I first started at Amazon as an associate, my main motivation was having a good job and income,” said Marta. “Having worked as a GMA and in other roles across various sites, I’ve found that being able to help people is one of the best parts of any role at Amazon!”
Marta loves that she has the opportunity to speak to colleagues about the causes close to their hearts. “It means a lot to me and to all the people who I’ve worked with across my different roles. I want to make people feel seen and heard. It feels great that they know that I’m their point of contact for things related to helping their local community. Someone comes to me if they have an idea which they think might make a positive impact.”
“Having been a GMA at three different fulfilment centres in the UK, I’ve got to know how local communities work and how they respond to certain things. It’s helped me to understand my own local community more and feel connected to it,” said Marta.
Marta brings her community spirit into her professional life in a few ways. She keeps an eye out for any new arrivals into her adoptive Amazon family, making sure to help anyone who might be struggling with a big move or adjustment. “One thing I bear in mind is that I come from Latvia. I moved here for university and I empathise with people who leave their country for a new life. They can be homesick and trying hard to integrate. Being able to look after them and help with that transition is a massive bonus for me.”
Supporting local charities
During Marta’s time as a GMA, her day-to-day role involved a number of tasks, with one of the most important being speaking to associates and co-workers to gather nominations for charities and keeping a log of those in the local areas.
“A lot of nominations would come in naturally without me having to seek them out or remind employees to nominate,” said Marta.
“We would always try to align our allocation with what was a focus at that time of year, and what was important to our local employees. For example, Amazon Goes Gold is a big focus in September, so if there were local charities that were related to cancer research and support, I would put those to a vote among my colleague, and when I worked at the site in Gateshead, some of the causes that were most important to our employees there were diversity and inclusion, STEM education and food poverty.”
Focusing on young people
Marta helped launch three Amazon sites in the North East of England (Durham, Darlington, and her previous workplace, Gateshead) before beginning her new role as an IT Programme Coordinator. She credits her experience in working across a wide range of roles and locations as having inspired her passion for helping the community. “You really start to understand your impact. I’ve supported multiple different communities and I was able to see how much I could change each site, that was very rewarding.”
“One activity that meant a lot to me was ‘Amazon Reads’ which we operated in Durham. We packed 1,200 books for 20 local schools, 60 books to each school. The goal was to promote reading while the kids had been missing school due to national and regional lockdowns.”
“It was particularly moving as many of the workers at the fulfilment centre had attended the schools we worked with. They were thrilled that they were able to help.”
Delivering books to local schools isn’t the only project Marta and her team have accomplished. In the months she spent working at the Gateshead fulfilment centre, Marta helped organise a £6,500 donation to The Box Youth and Community Project, as part of the inaugural opening of the fulfilment centre.
One of the donations that made the biggest impact on Marta was when she was working in the Northeast of England. She was given the opportunity to deliver a £7,000 grant to a local community charity. Marta and her team deliberated extensively on where best to allocate the funds.
“In the end we chose Humankind, an organisation for LGTBQ+ young people in the Northeast. They came to the site to meet our LGBT+ affinity group Glamazon just as we launched the affinity group for employees who work in fulfilment centres. Our Glamazon members gave a presentation of what they do and how we can all be allies.
“The entire experience was fantastic, and we’ve developed a great relationship with the organisation. The partnership is not due to end anytime soon, which is a huge win for both Humankind and Amazon – particularly because diversity and inclusivity is a huge focus for us.”
Kate Howarth, Project Manager at Humankind, said, “Our vision is for people of all ages to be safe, building ambitions for the future and reaching towards their full potential. Our LGBT+ services make a significant contribution towards this by supporting young people aged 11 to 25 around their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The generous donation from the team at Amazon in Durham will help us to continue this valuable work.”
Marta has done a lot of other work for schools and young people. “At my site in Warrington, I worked together with Warrington Youth Club who visited our site and told us about their work and impact in the community. We donated both time and money to the youth club, organising and delivering employability sessions in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style format for the kids.”
Paul Griffiths, Major Patron Relationship Manager at Warrington Youth Club, said “We are delighted to have developed a partnership with Amazon and Marta was instrumental to this.
“We have been regularly bowled over by the support offered by the company, which has included funding for our Girls Group programme for vulnerable young females, collecting toys and food donations for our annual Christmas Hamper appeals for children and families in need and promoting the many volunteering opportunities that we have at the Club.
“Having such an effective partnership with a company that has a strong presence locally has really brought different sections of the community together to benefit children and young people.”
Amazon continues to provide support to the communities around our operations and corporate locations in the UK. We focus on community needs like food poverty, homelessness and isolation in the communities of our employees and sites.
Through Amazon in the Community, our employees build invaluable relationships with charitable organisations to provide support, advocacy and identify new ways in which Amazon can help local communities.
As Marta’s career has developed throughout her time Amazon – from Associate to GMA and now IT Programme Coordinator – she continues to champion local communities and encourage others within Amazon to do the same.
“Being able to help with the support of Amazon and extending support to the areas we operate in will always be important to me.”
Find out more about Amazon in the Community.