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Wei Gao (MSIS ’01), VP at Amazon, recognized at Asian American Luminary Awards

Wei Gao (MSIS ’01), alumna of the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and Vice President, Technical Advisor to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was honored at the Asian American Luminary Awards (AALA) ceremony on Sept. 15 in Bellevue, Wash.

Organized by the Chinese Institute of Engineers/USA-Seattle (CIE-SEA), the annual event celebrates outstanding Asian American professionals and leaders with high achievements and contributions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) within the Pacific Northwest.

Gao received the 2019 Asian American Corporate Leadership Award. Earlier this year, she was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council and recognized at the 15th Annual Diversity and Leadership Conference in Dallas.

A strong advocate of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Gao serves as an executive board member of the Asians-at-Amazon affinity group. She also serves on the board of the Robert Chinn Foundation and the SILS Board of Visitors, and she recently accepted an invitation to join the board of the Pacific Science Center.

Gao was promoted to her VP Technical Advisor role in November 2018. Executives in the position are often referred to as Bezos’ “shadow” because they accompany him to all meetings, according to a report from CNBC.

In her 13-plus years at Amazon, Gao has launched products and run projects in eCommerce, Kindle, and Supply Chain technologies.

Before her 2018 promotion, she led the Forecasting and Strategic Planning organization, a team that provides customer-demand forecasts and long-term business outlooks for Amazon’s consumer business worldwide. Her technical expertise spans artificial intelligence, deep learning, big-data analytics, and cloud computing.