“My director asked me to organize his org’s team event!”

This is what my mentee shared with me during our last 1:1. This was after she told me she was taking on extra interviews, planning the team hackathon, and raising the bar as a software development manager that runs an AWS service. My face said it all, I was not happy about this for my mentee. As a woman in tech, I have been in similar situations more times than I want to admit.

A couple years ago, I was managing a product team, preparing for a product launch, leading…


Last year, I delivered more technical talks than previous years. At each conference, I was often one of the few women participating as a speaker. I find speaking at conferences a fun way to connect with my customers and share my passion about technology. But even more, presenting is my contribution to diversity and inclusion for women in tech. I take speaking seriously for three reasons.

1. Women are a critical part of tech

By delivering tech talks, I demonstrate in a very public way that women drive tech innovation, build tech products, and solve the hardest tech problems. I…


In Part 1 of this three-part series, I wrote about developing content to make your presentations stick. I talked through building a story, identifying tweetable slides, and relentlessly editing your slides. After you have drafted your slides, the next step is developing your delivery. This takes practice, awkward moments, and a fail-fast mentality.

Many people tend to think they need to memorize their presentations. If you take this approach, you are guaranteed to bore your audience and sound like a robot. Stories stick, and your goal is to tell memorable stories. This means delivering a presentation that flows, connects pieces…


When you are on stage, you have a captive audience of hundreds and maybe thousands whom you want to educate and inspire. You want to be sure you use your limited stage minutes wisely. Spending time to develop your content, craft your delivery, and practice how to use the stage will make the most of that time.

This is the first of a three-part series about making your presentations stick. Every year, AWS hosts re:Invent, a large conference in Las Vegas where we discuss our services, meet and collaborate with customers, and deliver technical talks that educate customers. Over the…


When you work at Amazon, you hear repeatedly, “Feedback is a gift.” I might even say that feedback is Amazon’s love language. It’s how we show we care, it’s how we grow, and it’s how we innovate. Helpful feedback has three main properties: 1. When you give feedback, the feedback is for the other person and not you, 2. Feedback can be rejected or returned without you knowing, and 3. Feedback is received more openly when delivered in a manner that works best for the recipient. In this post, I talk about techniques for delivering helpful feedback.

First, though, I’ll…


“There are a lot of boys coming out your building,” my mother said when she picked me up from work one day. I am a woman in tech, and yes, I work with a lot of men. When it comes to inclusion and diversity in the workplace, I have heard it all from mentoring, sponsorship, and affinity groups. I also was president of Women@Amazon and Tepper Women in Business, and I was vice president of Women in Computer Science at the University of Illinois. …


“How do I get my daughter to turn out like you?” I get this question often, usually from coworkers who are dads with daughters. It surprises me a little, but I understand why they ask. I have a career that allows me time and money to live, travel, and yes, have a horse. My career growth potential is high, which means I can support myself and my retirement. I call my parents about four times a week and my Facebook posts are fun, adventurous, and positive. No one can copy another person’s life, but it seems I have a unique…


You achieve a lot, you are driven, and you are an extreme owner. That’s a great start, but as you’ve grown as a leader, you have learned that you can’t do it on your own. You need help from colleagues to get the work done.

You collaborate with others for code reviews, design reviews, deployments, feature releases, and data extractions. And when you push to get a project done, there is always the fear that you won’t be able to complete it because you depend on other people to complete tasks. …


If you are a high achiever, you crave continual growth. To grow, though, you need time and space to focus on that growth. As we get better at our jobs, people ask us to do more of what we are good at, making it hard to create the space we need to grow. In this post, I share some techniques you can use to create space for career growth.

I have experienced two significant growth spurts in my career. The first happened when I was kicking butt delivering as a product manager. I was launching features, talking to customers, and…


We all face critical situations in our careers and lives. Situations where we can’t let fear get in the way, where we need to manage our stress, and bring all our courage to that moment. This could be a meeting with your CEO, a big surgery you are performing, a competition, an event your hosting, or a presentation. I am fortunate to work with some high achieving women and this topic was top of mind during our last meet up. Together we developed some tools for managing your mindset before, during, and after these critical situations. By managing your mindset…

Brigid Johnson

Product manager who enjoys personal and career development, tech, horses, and everyday life. Opinions expressed entirely my own. https://twitter.com/bjohnso5y

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