FBLA Connect Interview – Donnie Iorio

Donnie Iorio is currently a Senior Programs Manager at Amazon Logistics. He was a very involved member in FBLA-PBL, serving as the 2010-11 FBLA Southern Region Vice President, 2012-13 PBL National President, and 2013-14 PBL National President. He has worked at Amazon since 2015. Donnie agreed to sit down with FBLA National President Eu Ro Wang to share his experience at Amazon and his tips for FBLA members looking to go into supply chain management.

Hi Donnie! What was your overall best memory in FBLA?

My best memory in FBLA was back in 2011 at the NLC Opening Session in Orlando, FL. I was a national officer, and it was our last conference as a team. There was the lights, music and tens of thousands of people. A lot of work was put into seemingly unattainable goals, and we really had a successful year. It was cool to see all of that work and my time culminate at the NLC!

Do you have any advice for the common FBLA student looking to get involved on a higher level?

The first step is to get out there and out of your comfort zone. When I was a freshman, it was the first year of my school’s chapter and I just started as a regular student who competed in an event. The next year I did some fundraising and became an officer and decided that I really wanted to get involved on the State level after having fun and learning at the State Conference every year. Although nobody at my school had been a state officer before, we just did what we felt was right and then through conversation with my advisor decided that I should go for national office. It was 15 years since my state had last had a national officer, but I got out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to keep growing. There isn’t really a secret sauce to it other than that!

What was your major in college, and how did you choose your major?

I had two majors. The first major we call GSCOM, which stands for Global Supply Chain Operations Management, and the other major was marketing. I was always passionate about marketing and getting behind the science of how consumers choose products and how companies target those consumers. GSCOM, though, came out of the blue when I was a freshman at a major fair and the representative talked about the growth in the field and high rate of job placement for graduates of that major. In fact, 98% of graduates of GSCOM at my school, the University of South Carolina, had a job offer before graduation.

What do you do now?

I am currently a senior operations manager at Amazon! I am based in a fulfillment center just south of Tampa, FL. I lead a team of operations and area managers/associates that take inventory into our building through our supply chain, stow and keep inventory of all items, and then later pick those items to be packaged for you.

Why did you go into supply chain management?

The number one thing with management is that you have to have the ability to lead people, which I learned a lot about in FBLA. As a national officer, you don’t get to see your team often and you have to inspire your teammates to produce results based off of an overarching mission. Management is so fun because it’s all about how you lead and inspire a team to perform safely and with high quality to deliver for the customers. I knew I wanted to work with people and Amazon had a great opportunity to lead right out of the gate.

How did you find your job at Amazon?

I went to the career fair at my university and met my recruiter, whom I explained a little bit about myself and my involvements in student government, Phi Beta Lamba and other relevant jobs. Throughout the next few weeks there was a series of phone interviews and then I was flown out for another, ultimately ending in an offer to work in Florida! I had the opportunity to move somewhere that I had never lived for an work with an amazing company that I had the opportunity to grow with, and that’s where it started.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part about my job with Amazon is that I get to work with people and process, which goes back to why I went into management. We deliver for millions of customers every day and the only way we can do that is by focusing on our people. We get to bring people the items that they really need in an amazing two days and bring them a smile with it. That’s my favorite part!

What should people do to prepare for a job in management, or who want to be the next “you”?

If you are looking to get a job in management or any job leading people, it is important to be humble because you aren’t going to know everything from the start. There are so many moving parts that even if you become an expert today, tomorrow you won’t be an expert anymore. Being able to come in humble and willing to learn from your peers, your supervisor and most importantly your teammates by taking feedback is essential. At Amazon, our biggest innovations have come from this. You also have to be able to hold your team accountable and work with other teams that are outside of your personal scope/area.

What are some of your struggles working supply chain management?

The biggest thing you have to overcome in a big company is that there is a lot going on! People have different priorities and have been assigned different tasks and when you are working in a management role you have to be able to advertise your mission to get other people on board with what you are trying to do. If you’re the boss, telling people that work for you what to do all the time won’t get them bought in to the process but if you’re able to get them on board with your vision then you will see a better result.

Our final question: What are some tips you would give to students who want to get into management? Is there anything else you want to tell members?

Of course! As someone that hires college-level applicants for Amazon there are a few things that we and other companies look for. Most importantly is taking the initiative when you are in school. What opportunities did you take to lead and show that you can be an impactful leader in school? FBLA-PBL does a really great job of showcasing its members’ leadership, and this is extremely important!

Thank you so much for your time, Donnie. Much appreciated!