“Leverage your network, and hustle.”
As Amazon’s Senior Program Manager, alumna Ann Salamy (M.A., Communication Studies ’98) manages Amazon’s corporate MBA program for Europe. With her international experience in technology, financial services and higher education, Salamy has had roles ranging from a diversity specialist to program manager and has lived in New York, London, Seattle and now Luxembourg. A leader in talent management and workforce development, she traces her previous roles at UBS, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to her early days as a C&IS master’s student.
“I’ve taken a very non-linear career path, and I’ve loved it,” said Salamy. “At C&IS, more than anything else, I learned about the power of teamwork and relationships. Twenty years later I’m still in touch with many of my classmates, and we’ve gone on to pursue a variety of different career paths — from teaching to business to diplomatic service.”
Read below to see Salamy’s insight into her graduate work at C&IS, her current career and the lessons she’s learned along the way.
What is your official job title?
I’m a Senior Program Manager at Amazon; specifically I manage Amazon’s corporate MBA program for Europe. The MBA program, called “Launch”, is a three-year rotational program for MBA hires. It covers six countries across Europe and offers roles in a variety of Amazon’s corporate businesses – including Consumer, Finance, Devices, Business Development and Amazon Web Services. I’m based in Luxembourg – Amazon’s European headquarters.
Why did you choose C&IS for your graduate studies?
An influential communication studies mentor during my undergraduate studies at James Madison University encouraged me to pursue my master’s degree, and to specifically consider The University of Alabama. Once I learned more about the program, the small program size and the variety of specializations really appealed to me. During my two year program, I was a Teaching Assistant and during my second year, I also worked with the College Development Director. Additionally, UA sparked a career-long passion in diversity and women’s studies that I’ve gone on to pursue in my prior roles at UBS, LehmanBrothers, Goldman Sachs, UNC and Amazon.
What lessons from C&IS have helped you throughout your career?
More than anything else, I learned about the power of teamwork and relationships. As a small class, we really relied on each other to help with challenging coursework, to cover our teaching assistant responsibilities, and to celebrate our accomplishments. Twenty years later, I’m still in touch with many of them – we’ve gone on to pursue a variety of different career paths – from teaching to business to diplomatic service.
How can students make the best use of their graduate studies?
I encourage everyone to own your own career and understand what success means for you. I’ve taken a very non-linear career path, and I’ve loved it. After my master’s degree I worked for several years teaching and with university development/alumni affairs, and I then went to Vanderbilt for my MBA. Since receiving my MBA, I’ve worked in investment banking, higher education and technology – I’ve had roles ranging from a diversity specialist to program management, and I’ve lived in New York, London, Durham (NC), Seattle and now Luxembourg.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It’s really the little things – the most rewarding part of my current role is when an MBA takes the time to specifically thank me for the work that I’m doing to support their careers. We work in a fast paced environment, and knowing that somebody prioritized taking the time to thank me and acknowledge my contribution means a lot.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated to get things done – my best days are those that I can look back upon and see what I delivered.
Thank you, Ann!