Amali de Alwis MBE, CEO of Code First: Girls, joined members of the Amazon Women@ employee affinity group for a Changemaker Chat that explored ways in which emerging female leaders can forge exciting careers and leave a positive mark on their communities, industries and on society as a whole.

Changemaker Chats bring women together across the world for off-the-record conversations with inspiring female changemakers, creating a space for honest and open conversations about successes and failures, personal philosophies and practical advice for future changemakers.

Code First: Girls is a multi-award winning social enterprise that works to increase the number of women in tech and entrepreneurship. As the country’s largest provider of free, face-to-face coding courses for women, Code First: Girls has provided more than £4m in free tech education over the past 4 years. The organisation is campaigning to teach 20,000 women to code by the end of 2020.

In the latest New Year’s Honours list, Amali was awarded an MBE for her services to economic activity in the UK.

Amali covered a wide range of topics, including her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, her non-linear career plan and her insights on how to find happiness while pursuing a meaningful career. She discussed how working with companies to achieve real impact makes her happiest and, as a self-proclaimed workaholic, she noted that it’s always important to cut yourself some slack.


Speaking after the event, Amali said: “It was a pleasure to be here to discuss how we can encourage more women to get into the tech industry. There are so many exciting roles in technology where you can build and make unique, useful and inspiring things. We know women want those careers, so it’s important to understand how women can work towards those positions if they do not already have a tech background.”

“Amazon sets a precedent around how we build technology and the types of tools and services that we can tap into. If we continue to work together in a variety of ways, we can build that pipeline of young women aspiring to exciting tech careers and change the ratio around diversity in tech. After today, I want Amazonians to go away feeling excited and better informed about the change they can make in the real world.”

Women@Amazon is one of Amazon’s leading employee affinity groups, committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best talented women in both tech and non-tech roles across all of Amazon’s businesses. Women@ has international chapters and, since launch, the group has grown to over 2,000 members across Europe.