For deaf or hard of hearing Amazonians, communicating effectively with hearing colleagues can be difficult. But thanks to innovations from Amazonian Valentina Aristodemo, it’s getting easier. Valentina joined Amazon in October 2022 and is based at our ORY1 fulfillment centre in France. As a French sign language interpreter for the Disability and Leave Services (DSL) team, with a real passion for French and Italian sign language, she pushed for the installation in France of our sign language interpretation technology, Mobile Amazon Video Interpreting Stations (MAVIS) - now a best practice across Europe.

Here’s Valentina in her own words:

Since arriving at Amazon, I have encouraged the use of virtual sign language interpreting for deaf employees, while creating a mechanism to collect interpreting data to measure inclusion. MAVIS allows sites to access pre-booked or on-demand interpreting services provided by myself or our vendors worldwide. This eliminates the need to have someone’s physical presence or have them travel – stretching limited resources. Thanks to the adoption of MAVIS, the total number of virtual interpreting hours has increased to 300%. In addition, I have organised sensitivity trainings on Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) inclusion for managers and leadership. These actions have contributed to creating a better customer experience and have fostered more inclusion and equity for deaf employees.

Providing sign language interpreting for DHH customers and employees is essential to upholding our Leadership Principle to Hire and Develop the Best. Interpretation provides effective communication for deaf employees and their hard of hearing colleagues, ensuring equal access to information.

Sign language interpreting enhances career advancement opportunities for deaf people by removing communication barriers, leading to career growth, promotions, professional development, and job satisfaction. Interpreting services enable deaf employees to showcase their skills, knowledge, and abilities more effectively.

I am proud of what I have accomplished, and the trust I have built with DHH employees and leadership.  I’m passionate about my job and will continue to Invent and Simplify (another of Amazon’s Leadership Principles) for DHH customers to create an equitable workplace.

I have been a sign language interpreter for 15 years and have a Ph.D. in sign language linguistics. Every day I bring my experience to the workplace, while being invested in learning new skills with the goal of making Amazon Earth’s Best Employer.