👋 Meet, Jess Ayunani
The Path Jess Traveled
Jessica Ayunani, also known as Jess, is a Southern California native at heart. Though she was born in Indonesia, Jess spent the majority of her life in Orange County, just south of L.A. until making her way west to the University of California, Berkeley in pursuit of a city planning degree.
Upon graduation, Jess realized that urban planning was not the right career path for her. She quickly pivoted and sought guidance from her friends who had been working in tech. While figuring out how to break into the industry, Jess held many miscellaneous jobs, including being a Lyft driver. That’s one of the roles she enjoyed the most.
“That experience really, really taught me people skills in a way that a lot of people don’t have,” Jess says. “I have done over 1,000 rides; I’ve met people from all different backgrounds … startup founders, famous artists, and just random people who tell me their life stories in the span of 20 minutes in my car. That experience totally enriched my life in so many ways. And it taught me the value of human connection and the skills to be able to talk to anybody.”
This experience, followed by different coding bootcamps and starting a coding learning community, sparked a light in Jess, marking the beginning of her journey in elevating the working conditions through advanced tech.
Her first official role in the industry was as remote tech support in a startup based in New York. That’s where she built a foundation in software development before transitioning to the customer success side of the business, managing as many as 6 international Customer Success Managers at a time.
“My favorite part of my career and journey is working with customers, getting them to really see value in our product, working with them over time and seeing their growth,” says Jess. “I especially love to teach and inform customers and end-users how to analyze the data – deploying processes that make their lives easier.”
Warehouse Workers Need a Lift
While applying to Ambi Robotics, Jess interviewed with Stephen McKinley, Co-Founder and VP of Operations at Ambi Robotics. This interview is when everything clicked for Jess. At Ambi, we call this a moment of #AmbiMagic.
“I never thought I would be working in robotics. But then I talked to Stephen, who is one of my favorite people I’ve ever met. He made me realize at the end of the day, this position is actually about connecting with people,” Jess says. “Yes, technology is a part of it. Yes, Sim2Real AI is super cool. But, at the end of the day, my role is about working with people and building connections. That’s what I’m good at. That’s what I do. That’s what wakes me up excited each day.”
Today, Jess is a Customer Success Account Manager at Ambi Robotics. As such, her job is to support and ensure the success and happiness of customers through an entire workcycle. This means continuously working with product managers, communicating with engineers checking in on a weekly basis, and connecting with warehouse workers working alongside our AmbiSort systems.
Collaboration is central to what Jess does. When it comes to customers’ projects, Jess may have to work with many groups within Ambi Robotics – operations, sales, marketing, product, project management, and more – to deliver success to clients: “I’m working with both the mechanical team and the software team and the manufacturing team to make sure all of the robots installed at different stages are, are exceeding expectations” she says.
As she works with so many different people at Ambi, Jess has found “everybody is just brilliant at what they do. I am in awe of everybody,” she says. “Everyone is just so smart. And does what they do very well. But at the same time, we all work cohesively as a team, it is pretty amazing … There’s no ego.” She describes the culture as “humbly confident, very cohesive, very cooperative and collaborative.”
Her role “all boils down to empathy, not only for current customers, but for everyone around you,” Jess says. “Customer empathy really comes down to understanding how they feel and how things are going in their shoes. At the end of the day, when you remove the customer’s title, they are human beings. When you take the time to understand and ask about the challenges they face, you can work towards solutions that truly benefit them.”
Jess says the key to actionable empathy is “to be knowledgeable about the entire industry instead of just one product or solution. Having comprehensive knowledge and understanding of who your customers are, who their customers are, and what their business goals are, you can work together through collaborative innovation to land on the right solution.”
Going Beyond Building Good Tech
Jess says her transition into Ambi Robotics was seamless because of the shared values and vision between her and the company. Building relationships and opportunities to uplift an individual’s life are the key factors in Ambi Robotics’ mission, and what Jess enjoys most about her job. One of her most memorable job experiences came when the first AmbiSort system went live and picked up its first package.
“I was with my team in one of our facilities in Atlanta, educating newly titled ‘Robot Operators’ about how our systems will be helping them,” Jess says. “Prior to working alongside AmbiSort systems, they’d have a deep bin full of parcels that they had to scan one-by-one. Following each scan, they would have to walk over to the correct output location. This is highly manual, fatigue-inducing work, with immense pressure to sort at superhuman speeds. So we told them, ‘You don’t have to scan each one individually. Now you can manage a fleet of sorting robots.’ They got so excited. Seeing and hearing their reaction was a perfect reminder that the work we are doing at Ambi goes well beyond building cool tech.”
Moments like this motivate Jess. Witnessing warehouse workers see their jobs evolve into something more. She takes great pride in teaching Robot Operators how to use AmbiSort systems and upskilling their roles..
“Now you have this cool title of Robot Operator and hopefully, that will transform what it means to work within the four walls of a warehouse,” Jess says. “We’re taking (away) the hardest part of someone’s job … We’re taking away the mundane part of it, the back-breaking part of someone’s job. And not only taking that part away, but making their job a lot more interesting and meaningful.”
It’s All About People
Jess offers a few career tips for those wanting to follow her into tech success: first, “it’s very important to know how software systems work.” Next, have a “mindset of problem-solving. Finally, “break into the community and surround yourself with related people.”
“That was the very, very first thing I did when I wanted to when I thought I wanted to pursue [this] career,” Jess says. “I was lucky enough to have some friends who are already working in tech, so I just asked them questions. But if you don’t have anyone in your life, find communities like meetup.com … it can be nerve-wracking at first, but just put yourself out there; get to meet people. And you’ll find that there are so many like-minded people like you who want to break into the field, and you guys can help each other out.”
“If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There will be so many people who have been through what you’ve been through and will definitely be there to help you,” Jess says. “Surround yourself with people who can give you advice on the current things to take, or the current classes to take, (or) the current things to learn. Just try to find mentorship and community in that way.”
Meet Jess at ProMat 2023
Curious to learn more about our mission to empower warehouse workers? Hear it firsthand from Jess at ProMat 2023! Jess and our team of experts are ready to talk solutions. Click below to secure a meeting!