We are happy to present our 2nd newsletter for 2014. This newsletter focuses on three topics:
- Learn more about fellow alumni Nadya Dhalla
- A Tribute to Don Rosenfeld
- WLGO Gathering in Cambridge
- Summary of the LGO Conference in San Fran
We hope that everyone is having a great summer!
Grace, Cindy, Michele, Shafali
LGO’s plant trek was a big influencer on Nadya’s career decision after graduating from LGO in 2008. Sitting near Shoji Shiba at a Chinese restaurant in one of the plant trek stops, he stressed the importance of working on the factory floor in order to really understand operations. Nadya chose to start her career after LGO just like that – in field operations at Amazon.
But Nadya is no stranger to work in the field; before LGO she spent time in Mozambique helping women start businesses. Nadya brings her passion to help people to Amazon with her hands on approach and attention to detail.
She’s inspired by a mission to enable people from all around the world to showcase their talents and make their own mark through new products, writing, and even art. Nadya made an early mark at Amazon after she noticed that there were regularly items missing from shipments. She deduced that incorrect taping of boxes allowed small items to slip out. She wrote a proposal with the simple idea to ink stamp hash marks on boxes to indicate where the tape should be applied. Simple as it sounds, it was approved as a corporate wide implementation – and now the marks are called the “Dhalla Hash”
Operations at Amazon
Nadya started at Amazon on the floor in the Reno Fulfillment Center, where she led the day to day operations managing throughput, safety, and quality through her first “peak” holiday season.
Nadya’s roles grew as she moved from Reno to Phoenix to open Amazon’s largest sortable Fulfillment Center, and then to Kentucky, where she designed and launched a retrofit of an existing Fulfillment Center into Amazon’s first 100% clothing warehouse. This retrofit was done without shutting down production and ramped right through a peak. This execution was a true testament to the LGO name, involving all levels of the organization. Hourly associates helped design the processes, operations leaders packed boxes directly on the line, and milestones were communicated with visual management to everyone.
In 2012 Nadya moved back to Seattle to run operations strategy for all soft lines (clothes, shoes jewelry and watches). This also involved the integration of Zappos into Amazon and the launch of the next dedicated softlines Fulfillment Center, built on the successful pilot launch in Kentucky.
Nadya’s daughter Selina was born on the last day of peak, in December 2012. Becoming a mom has compelled Nadya to focus more on prioritizing her daily work. Moving out of the 16-hour days in field operations and back to the corporate office has made that a much easier transition.
She’s made conscious decisions to focus on her family and spend time with her daughter. She and her husband Brent, also an LGO 08, can be found hiking with Selina in the mountains outside Seattle. And although Nadya hasn’t done a Canadian Death Race recently, she is still running and enjoying the outdoors.
It’s obvious when you meet Nadya that she is kind and thoughtful. Her hands-on dedication helping people has earned her the trust and respect of those with whom she works, both in and out of Amazon. Time she spent on the operations floor has molded her into the leader she is today. Her propensity to understand processes in depth and thoughtfully and confidently express her recommendations has impacted Amazon and its customers in many inconspicuous ways. The next order you receive from Amazon, look for the Dhalla Hash and be reminded that even small attention to detail can positively impact the lives around you.
As the 25th anniversary of Don Rosenfield’s leading the Leaders for Global Operations program approached, people began to bat around ideas for how to commemorate the special anniversary. But once Don announced that he’d be retiring in 2014, one year later than the 25th anniversary, the consensus was that it would be better to plan a bigger celebration in 2014. Thus was DonFest born.
One feature of DonFest was a memory book full of photos and stories from the LGO community — partners, alumni, staff, friends — that we could present to Don. But we suspected that everyone would like to see what others shared, so we decided to also publish everything on the web, for all to enjoy.
I set up a simple website (http://lgo.mit.edu/dontribute/) where anyone could upload memories, stories, and notes of thanks, along with photos. A side benefit for me in doing this was that the technical team at LGO had an account set up for me on Athena, the MIT computer network. I had had a Project Athena account at MIT as an undergrad, back in the 1980s when Athena was new (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Athena), so I felt nostalgic and MIT-nerdy (in the best possible way) every time I logged into work on the memorial site’s setup.
An even bigger bonus for me was that I was responsible for reviewing the content everyone submitted and publishing it to the site. This meant I was the first to read these lovely, funny, heartfelt stories from my fellow alumni and Don, and to see how much he means to all of us.
Check out the site yourself at http://lgo.mit.edu/dontribute/. You can still share your own stories and messages. We’d love to have more photos if you can share yours.
There’s more about DonFest on the LGO website as well — including a video of more tributes: http://lgo.mit.edu/news/articles/don-fest-story/don-fest-story.html
Women of LGO, begun by Michele Parrish (LGO ’95), is an alumnae forum dedicated to maintaining ties among women graduates and current female students. The group holds networking events to “build new relationships and strengthen existing ones across classes so we can support each other during the journey to rewarding personal and professional lives,” said Melinda Manente (LGO ’95). “It’s a nice way to introduce the new class to our growing network.”
“WLGO is a wonderful community of like-minded women who share wisdom and insights and provide support. As upwardly focused women in male-dominated industries, the sense of community and support is important,” said Emily Chang (LGO ’11). “The Boston event was a great way to welcome the newest female LGOs into the broader WLGO community, send off the graduating class, and solidify connections with local alums.”
For more information on WLGO, contact Michele Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LGO conference this year was a great mix of large, medium, and small/start-up company speakers. From Google to private equity, the topics were diverse and intriguing. In addition, a wonderful key note on innovation was delivered by Sara Beckman. Of course, there was much fun too, from the WLGO sponsored happy hour to the Don tributes to the casual alumni networking between sessions. For more details, read this summary by Josh Jacobs: http://lgo.mit.edu/news/articles/alumni-thank-don/alumni-thank-don.html