Cherie Matthaidess Robinson ’01 leads the payment and risk HR team at Amazon.
That includes 4,500 employees who monitor fraud and risk for the company, as well as 1,000 who focus on its payment organization. Ms. Robinson collaborates with five national and 15 international HR partners.
“The employees are a mix of technical (software development engineers), analytical (research scientists) and operations (investigators and operations support),” she says. “I am responsible for establishing and implementing HR strategies that foster the organization and people development for the department.”
As a student, she received the 2001 Carthage Leadership Award and the 2001 Business Administration Student of the Year Award.
“Amazon is experiencing such dramatic growth that many of the issues that come my way every day, no one has ever had to deal with before. I can’t just go and look up the answer. If Carthage didn’t challenge me to think in new and different ways, I don’t know that I would have the success that I do today in my role.”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“I have had the opportunity to work at two great companies. I started my career at SC Johnson in Racine, Wisconsin, and grew from an Assistant HR Manager in Product Supply to an HR Director supporting the Marketing and Marketing Services team. I spent 11 wonderful years getting the chance to be exposed to a variety of different HR challenges while partnering with great people, many of whom are now lifelong friends.
“It has been great translating that experience to Amazon, where I have spent the last three and a half years. Amazon is a fast-growing company where I’m surrounded by super-smart people solving new and unique problems every day. I love the challenges I’m exposed to by supporting an organization that is growing so rapidly. I get to ensure we have appropriate HR solutions, processes and infrastructure in place to support the growth of the organization.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“Carthage prepared me for my career with inside and outside of the classroom learning. In the classroom, I learned fundamental knowledge and problem-solving skills that I’ve leveraged throughout my career. In addition, the small class sizes and ability to work with students in teams helped me grow my confidence as a leader.
“Outside of the classroom, I had the opportunity to participate in numerous clubs and was a member of the tennis and track teams. In these extracurriculars, I was able to learn how to be a great team player and a leader. I learned how to interact with people and get the best out of them. I use those learnings to this day in my work.”
How has your liberal arts education helped you?
“My experience at Carthage taught me how problem solve and address issues that I may not have seen before. This has been invaluable to me, particularly now in my job at Amazon. Amazon is experiencing such dramatic growth that many of the issues that come my way every day, no one has ever had to deal with before. I can’t just go and look up the answer. I have to pull on my experiences and determine how to approach the problem and solve it. If Carthage didn’t challenge me to think in new and different ways, I don’t know that I would have the success that I do today in my role.”
Tips for current Carthage students:
“Carthage is what you make it. There are so many opportunities available to you to learn and grow as a leader, but it is up to you to take advantage of those opportunities. Do not limit yourself to just one thing. Use your four years to challenge yourself in ways that you may not always feel comfortable with. It is the time that you can try, fail, and learn from your experiences.”
Favorite Carthage memories:
“My favorite Carthage memories come from way too many van and bus rides with the tennis and track teams! My best friends to this day are from Carthage (Jill Theobald, Kelly Carstensen Johnson, Laura Reinbold Wiegel, and Jackie Ribbich). I met my husband, George, 10 years after we graduated because of my friendship with Jill Theobald (I married her husband’s brother!). I’m proud to say I went to Carthage.
“My grandpa, Edwin Matthaidess, was a professor at Carthage. My father, Dave Matthaidess, graduated from Carthage. Carthage was a part of me before I ever was a Carthage student and it remains a part of me today. I’m grateful for the experiences Carthage gave me. I’m just sad I live so far away that I can’t attend Homecoming every year now!”