Veteran Employee Story – Cindy Nieves, Inc.  |  A Fulfilling Career at Amazon  |

Published in the November/December 2011 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Cindy Nieves, an area manager for’s Phoenix fulfillment center, recommends that servicemembers who are thinking about a civilian career get as early a start as possible. As a leader of front-line operations, she’s responsible for the management, control and direction of inventory, picking, packing, and shipping functions for one aspect of the facility.

“Start early and find out what you want to do,” said the former Air Force captain who spent six years on active duty after graduating from the Air Force Academy. “Even if your MOS was infantry, that doesn’t mean that what you did in the military will translate to what you want to do in the civilian world. You have to make it work. There are lots of skills and leadership experience that civilian employers will like. The experience sets you apart. Make sure you tell that story.”

That experience makes veterans a known quantity to employers, according to Nieves. “Veterans put service before self and have high standards in the work they do, especially when it comes to important things like safety,” she said. “They are higher caliber individuals when it comes to leadership.”

While in the Air Force, Nieves was a maintenance officer who led 300 F-16 maintenance technicians. “I love to lead large groups of people,” she said. “I never thought I would get another chance to do that. But now that I’m here I see that it makes sense to have people with military leadership experience in these positions.”

“If we don’t buy into what we do (at Amazon) 100 percent all the time then our work suffers,” Nieves said. “Our customers don’t deserve that. It’s the same in the military. If we don’t give 100 percent there we’re letting down our fellow service members.”

“Amazon took care of the biggest fear that I had when I was leaving the military,” Nieves said. “I was coming out of a culture full of rules and policies, and lots of training. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to make that jump into a business culture. But Amazon has a specific course for veterans that not only talks about the challenges of the transition and puts us in touch with the company’s leadership, but also gives us business knowledge from A to Z. It’s one of the coolest things that they do for their veterans.”

“The question I always ask myself is, ‘What’s the legacy I want to leave behind?’ ” she said. “For me, that’s total commitment and total buy-in to our customer-service centered culture. That’s the way I succeed. That’s the way I help Amazon succeed.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers