News and Events
Alumni Spotlight: Allie Oosta
ALLIE OOSTA 2011
Current job title
Sr. Project Manager, Head of Strategy & Planning for Amazon Fashion Marketing (amazon.com/fashion).
Describe your current position
I drive annual planning, goal-setting, and post-mortem analyses for a marketing organization of 65 and oversee a team of five focused on brand and customer insights; promotions and discount CX; marketing integration with innovation and technology; and global alignment with the Amazon Fashion teams in NA, EU, and Asia.
To what extent does writing relate to your current position? /
What type of writing/design do you do for work?
Amazon is a document-heavy workplace where strong business writing skills are highly valued. As part of my role, I individually craft and oversee the creation of several key documents for an organization of 65, including: a 2-5 year strategy, an annual integrated marketing strategy, and an annual operational plan (a financially-driven document outlining headcount, budget, projects, and goals). My ability to tell a cohesive and compelling story within these documents directly impacts leadership and team buy-in, while clarity and actionability within these documents directly correlates to the team's ability to execute. I'm also asked 2-3 times a month to read, review, and weigh in on other team member's documents and assist them in editing and revising.
Please briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to
your current position.
After graduation, I served as an editorial intern at Seattle Met Magazine. Six months after graduation and three months into my internship, I was hired as a copywriter at Amazon. I've now been at Amazon for six years in various roles (Copywriter, Copy Project Manager, Brand Marketing Project Manager, Sr. Project Manager). As of last month, I was promoted to a manager level, overseeing the Planning and Strategy team for Amazon Fashion Marketing. Though I didn't realize it in college, my strengths as a writer/storyteller are directly suited to marketing and the task of reaching and engaging with customers.
What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on
you as a professional?
During my junior and senior years, the writing faculty offered several opportunities for writing majors to attend career talks with professional world writers. I recall this series as a turning point for me, when I looked up from my homework and actually started to consider what kind of vocation I would pursue after graduation. Magazine writing had that same impact. I started to conceptualize what it meant to be a freelance writer/contributing writer as opposed to a staff writer, and I learned how to pitch a story (resulting in my first published article in Bitch magazine in 2011).
The Distinction in Writing program was also hugely beneficial. College for me was a fast-paced experience centered around short-term deadlines. Before working on my Distinction in Writing, I hadn't spent much time reflecting on what I was learning or being mindful about pursuing more out-of-the-classroom experiences.
Lastly, the Advanced Style and Technique course had a significant impact on me as a professional. The course was designed to give students the skills to become better readers and deeper critical thinkers. It changed the way I thought about myself as a communicator. I began to see how strong, clear, specific feedback could be the difference between a team or project’s failure and its success. Over time, I learned to ask for specific feedback if and when I wasn’t receiving it—as a copywriter at Amazon, this was a game changer. As the scope of my roles expanded at Amazon, I applied the tools I learned in Advanced Style and Technique to concepts beyond writing—I learned how to ask for and provide specific feedback on ideas, plans, decisions, workflows, and team structures. These valuable skills allowed me to quickly progress at Amazon, and more importantly, they allowed me to earn trust with my peers and superiors as someone who was always listening, engaged, and dedicated to learning and improving.
What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors
at Grand Valley?
Try to involve yourself in as many out-of-the-classroom experiences and programs as possible. I worked as a writing consultant and then lead writing consultant at the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors; attended and presented at writing center conferences like ECWCA; served as the Assistant Poetry Editor and then Editor-in-Chief for fishladder; volunteered to facilitate creating writing exercises for elementary-aged students at Shawmut Hills Elementary; participated in the Student Reading Series; attended writer series readings, and beyond. These experiences collectively taught me the most about myself (skills/strengths/interests) and were immeasurably more meaningful to future employers than my GPA.