Blazing a trail: How Josh Vasquez found his place in the corporate world

Josh Vasquez

Meet Josh Vasquez, a Senior Account Executive and first-generation Mexican-American who has overcome some challenging encounters to find his place in the corporate world. Josh’s Amazon story is one of self-discovery, authentic living, and a determination to inspire others.

Watch Josh's story about his journey to Amazon Ads

Discovering my passion

"I grew up in a large, Hispanic community and had a mentor whom I met through my gym. One day he asked me, ‘Have you ever considered the corporate sector for a career path?'"

"At that point, I was strongly opposed to it," explains Josh.

"It wasn't until I joined a community-focused careers program that I had the chance to connect with people in the media and entertainment industry—and I knew that's where my passion was."

At a program conference, Josh heard a woman from a PR firm presenting.

"I immediately thought, 'I want to break into this,'" says Josh. "So I raised my hand and said, 'I don't have a background in entertainment; I know nothing about the industry. What do I need to do?'"

Josh secured his first big break at that event, but it hasn't always been easy. "I've worked with many amazing individuals, some of whom are still my mentors to this day. It takes a village to push you forward," adds Josh. "But leaving my mom and grandparents behind in California when I moved to New York was tough. You don't typically leave family in my culture, and it was a sacrifice for all of us."

Embracing curiosity

It wasn't just leaving his family that Josh found challenging. As the first Mexican-American person in some of the organizations he joined early in his career, he encountered racism.

"I try to live by the maxim 'be curious, not judgmental,'" he explains. "When you face a difficult moment and slip into judgment, it just confirms your bias and effectively ends the conversation.”

Instead, Josh strives to stay curious. "I’ve always asked questions in an unbiased way to get to know someone, and it's served me well. I believe curiosity is the catalyst for success."

Josh adds that this doesn't fully shield him from the harm he's experienced, but it allows him to keep moving toward his goals.

Time for change

Josh joined Amazon Ads on the recommendation of a friend who was already part of the organization and encouraged him to apply.

Initially, he hesitated because he lacked a tech background, but during the interview process, Josh had a transformative discussion with a senior leader who was also a member of the LatinX community.

"We had a wonderful conversation," he explains. "We talked about different perspectives and how diverse backgrounds really add a lot to corporate America. She told me, 'It's time to change things up,' and I couldn't agree more."

Unapologetically authentic

Josh joined Amazon Ads in 2021, and since then, it's been a whirlwind.

"I work as a sales lead for the Amazon Ads division, managing one of our largest telco partnerships," says Josh. "This involves extensive cross-team collaboration and due diligence to ensure that my clients' objectives are not only met but exceeded."

As part of a growing team, Josh has learned a lot from his own experiences. "I want to be part of—and eventually lead—a team with diverse perspectives, made up of individuals from various backgrounds, because we're all here to learn together."

"Being the first in any team or organization is challenging," adds Josh. "But you make it easier for the person behind you. If I had stepped away from any of the roles I've held because of difficulties, what would have happened to the next person? You need to be unapologetically, authentically yourself."

Reflecting on his career so far, Josh says, "I was never seen as the person who was smart or athletic enough. But to this day, my favorite thing is when someone tells me I can't do something. If they say, 'You can't work at Amazon. You can't work at a big tech company,' I'm like, 'Watch me.’ As my mom taught me, ‘Just because you don’t know the answer now doesn’t mean you won’t find it.’”

When asked if his mom is proud of him, Josh hesitates for a moment, then says, “It’s me who is proud of her. She raised me on her own, and I’m here because of her.”