By Kristine “Aster” Medina, Copy Editor
Seven hundred twenty-two days is how long it took Gwen “Staccatö” McMillion, a Purdue University alumna, to reach her goal of being promoted from being a staff member of Amazon.com that was paid hourly to becoming a full-fledged employee earning a yearly salary. She was promoted to environmental health and safety (EHS) site manager in Detroit at the end of May.
McMillion does not have a set daily schedule yet because the warehouse officially opens in July, but she is assigned tasks to complete every day, which include conducting and participating in meetings, going on daily floor walks, performing audits, and working on projects. She is on call 24/7, so the time she works varies, but she is typically in the building from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
“My favorite part of my job is being able to learn something new everyday,” she said. “I’m never bored with Amazon, and I’m not limited to learning only safety-related items. I’ve gained useful operations and finance knowledge over the last two years.”
McMillion crossed into Everlasting Sisterhood as a member of Purdue University’s Xi Class. Pricilla “Nanaimo” Kusuma, one of her six line sisters, remembers McMillion’s quiet but observant nature when they first met and admires her maturity and humor. The best sisterhood moment they had together was when they travelled to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. for the Sailor Moon Silver Millennium Masquerade Ball in March of last year. McMillion will be attending Kusuma’s wedding in Indonesia next month.
“She always tries to do her best and goes above and beyond to get things done in the best and most efficient way possible,” Kusuma said about McMillion. “And above all, she is not afraid to embrace other females around her and giving them support and love so they can thrive together.”
McMillion oversees a team of EHS specialists and Onsite Medical Representatives. The team is in charge of behavioral safety, compliance and incident investigations. Her role is to ensure that the warehouse is maintained and meets safety standards and to help develop her team members.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in occupational and environmental health in 2013. She also earned a master’s degree from Auburn University in 2016. Before landing a job at Amazon in 2016 as a safety specialist, she interned with Harrison Steel Castings Co., Illinois River Energy and Sherwin Williams.
When asked how she defined being a leader, she responded, “I define a dedicated female leader as someone who takes charge of a situation and sees it through to the end, regardless of the outcome. There are always takeaways from a task that you can use to make the next one better, so it’s good to never drop a task, especially when it’s not going as expected.”
McMillion’s next long-term goal is to achieve certifications in both safety and ergonomics to continue her education and progress in her career. The safety certification will take a minimum of four years to complete, and the ergonomics certification can be earned within three years.
Feature and Article Images: Special to The Jade Times