5 March 2024

Meet Karena Scoggin: Amazon’s Road to Ownership Program is Seeking Individuals with Leadership, Problem-Solving Skills, and a Passion for Customers

By Ronald Smith

Let me introduce you to Karena Scoggin, the amazing brain behind Amazon’s Road to Ownership Program. This program is on the lookout for exceptional individuals like you who possess incredible qualities such as leadership skills, a knack for solving problems, and an unwavering dedication to customers.

Imagine being a part of a program that helps shape the future leaders of Amazon. I’ll be your guide as I take you on a journey through this incredible opportunity.

In this Road to Ownership Program, I want to find people who are up for a challenge – those who are ready to step up and make a real difference. We need leaders who have the ability to rise above problems and find innovative solutions. Are you ready to take the reins and steer us towards success?

Being in this program means we expect nothing short of excellence from you. We need individuals who are passionate about making our customers happy. Their satisfaction should always be at the forefront of your mind. So, are you ready to go the extra mile for them?

Now, let’s talk about some of the things we’re looking for in our potential candidates. Leadership skills are a must. We want someone who can inspire, motivate, and guide others towards achieving shared goals. Think you have what it takes?

Problem-solving is another crucial skill we value. As a member of our team, you’ll encounter challenges that require your innovative thinking. We need someone who can think outside the box and come up with unique solutions to propel us forward.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we need individuals who are customer-obsessed. This means putting our customers at the center of everything we do. From improving their shopping experience to providing top-notch customer service, we want someone who truly cares about making a difference in their lives.

So, are you ready to embark on this incredible journey with us? The Road to Ownership Program is waiting for exceptional individuals like you – those who can lead, solve problems, and prioritize our customers. We can’t wait to have you on board!

Meet Karena Scoggin: Amazon's Road to Ownership Program is Seeking Individuals with Leadership, Problem-Solving Skills, and a Passion for Customers

Last week, right before Prime Day, an incredible shopping event where Amazon made about $12 billion in sales, they made an exciting announcement. They revealed a brand new program called the Road to Ownership (RTO) initiative. This program is designed to assist individuals who have the perfect combination of experience and skills to start their very own delivery business.

The RTO program is an expansion of Amazon’s existing Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program, which they launched in 2018. This program has been instrumental in Amazon’s growth and has allowed them to collaborate with local small businesses. Together, they work to ensure that more Amazon packages are delivered efficiently within their own system.

So, let me tell you about this cool program called RTO. I recently had a chat on LinkedIn Live with Karena Scoggin, who is the Senior Program Manager for the Amazon RTO Program. And guess what? We also had Marvin Edgar joining us, a graduate from the first RTO cohort. He shared his experience with the program and how it led him to uproot his life from Florida and start a delivery business in New Mexico.

Now, let’s dive into a part of our conversation where we talk about the Amazon Delivery Service Partner program and how RTO fits into it.

Amazon Delivery Service Partner Program and Road to Ownership

Me: So, Karena, can you give us some insights into RTO and how it works alongside the Amazon Delivery Service Partner program?

Hi there, I’m Karena Scoggin! I want to tell you all about Road to Ownership (RTO). It’s a super cool program that we created to help amazing people like you become small business owners within Amazon Logistics in just 16 weeks!

Let me give you a little background. We have this awesome program called the Delivery Service Partner Program, or DSP for short. It’s been around for four years now, and we’ve had a blast! We love bringing in ambitious entrepreneurs who dream of running their own delivery company. And guess what? We support them with all of Amazon’s amazing technology and infrastructure. Talk about a head start!

Our DSP owners are doing amazing things. Right now, we have over 3,000 DSP owners all around the world. Can you believe it? They’re in charge of hiring their team of awesome delivery drivers, and they even have support staff to help them out.

Boosting your business smarts

I’m part of a program called Road to Ownership that’s all about helping people become successful business owners. I teach them the important skills they’ll need to lead and run their own Amazon delivery businesses. The program lasts for 16 weeks and includes virtual classes and on-demand learning modules. One of the best parts is that each participant gets a mentor who’s an experienced Amazon delivery business owner. They’ll help guide and support them throughout the entire 16 weeks.

Our goal is to empower these individuals to own and operate their very own small businesses as Amazon delivery service partners. It’s an intense training program that moves quickly. Participants continue their regular roles, like delivering packages, while also completing the 16 weeks of training.

Breaking down financial barriers

When we were creating this program, one thing we kept in mind was the potential obstacle of getting funding for startups. That’s why Amazon decided to invest $1 million in this initiative. And here’s the exciting part: once you go through the Road to Ownership program and become an Amazon DSP small business owner, you’ll receive a $30,000 grant to help you launch your business with confidence.

Brent Leary: Let’s delve into the significance of this for Amazon. It’s essential to consider how having a last mile solution that includes local entrepreneurs benefits both those individuals and customers who want their purchases delivered efficiently.

A fresh perspective on logistics

When I first started Road to Ownership, I listened to feedback from DSP owners. They were telling me about the importance of communication and the valuable feedback they received from their employees. Many of these employees had the potential to grow their skills and wanted more opportunities. That’s when I realized there was a need for upskilling. I wanted to find a way to provide them with those opportunities. That’s how Road to Ownership came about. It was a response to the feedback I received and the growing demand for future DSPs in our Delivery Service Partner Program. It was a chance to address both needs.

Brent Leary: So what does success actually look and feel like for you? And how do you envision it a year or two from now?

Karena Scoggin: We’re really excited about the amazing people we’re bringing into this program. The Road to Ownership is all about helping them grow and improve their skills, giving them the chance to build a successful career. Even if they decide not to become business owners afterwards, our hope is that the training they receive will make them better leaders and more effective in their roles. They can take what they learn and apply it to any job they choose in the future.

A diverse mix

Brent Leary: We’re actively reaching out to include business owners who have been underrepresented in the past, such as people of color, women, and others who may have felt excluded from opportunities like this.

RTO Participant Perspective

Brent Leary: Marvin, can you tell me about your background before joining the program?

Marvin Edgar: Sure thing! It’s pretty interesting how life works sometimes. I’m currently down here in Southwest Florida, but originally, I’m from Arizona. About three years ago, I moved to Southwest Florida to be closer to my family. I found a job in the travel industry, working for a well-known rental car company. I was working my way up the ladder when COVID happened. I’m sure I don’t need to explain how that affected the travel industry. So, I decided it was time for a change. Honestly, at that time, I was just looking for something to do. Luckily, there was an Amazon delivery station that opened just four minutes away from my place. I thought, why not give it a shot? I enjoy being outdoors and staying active while figuring out my next step. I ended up getting a job there with a delivery service partner in Venice, Florida. And let me tell you, the owner is absolutely fantastic.

So, here’s how it all began. I was just casually looking for something new, you know? I didn’t really have any specific plans or goals in mind. But then, as time went on, I started to realize that I actually enjoyed this new thing I stumbled upon. It got me thinking, maybe I could really do something with it.

Then, out of the blue, my owner (who’s been a great influence on me) suggested that I should really consider pursuing this new venture. And you know what? Their encouragement really fueled my excitement. I thought to myself, Yeah, I can totally do this!

As I started pondering over the idea, something big happened. Karena and her team made a huge announcement about starting a brand new program. It caught my attention and piqued my curiosity even more. And guess what? My owner reached out to me right away.

See, in this process, the owners of the existing companies like mine were actively involved from start to finish. It’s pretty cool, actually. So, apparently, around 900 people were nominated for this opportunity. And out of all those talented individuals, guess who made the cut? Me! I feel incredibly fortunate to be one of the top 30 selected.

I had an incredible experience. The support I received, the training I got, and most importantly, as Karena mentioned, the mentorship part was absolutely amazing. So, here I am. I’m actually getting ready to move from Southwest Florida to New Mexico to start my first week in September. I couldn’t be happier!

The Power of Mentorship and Support

Brent Leary: Wow. That’s great. Can you tell us a little about the relationship you had with the DSP you were working with? It seems like they really encouraged you to take this step.

Last Saturday was my final day, and boy, was it a memorable one! The send-off I had was absolutely amazing. I thought it would be a bit emotional, but I never expected it to be so touching. The support I received was just incredible. Now, let me tell you about this program I was a part of. As Karena mentioned earlier, they connected me with a mentor. And guess what? I lucked out big time – I ended up with not just one, but two mentors! One was my boss, the owner of the company I worked for, and the other was a mentor specifically assigned to me through the program. And you know what’s even better? The program mentor happened to be local, so I got to spend even more time with them. We talked all the time, and I have to say, it was way more than the required amount of time we were supposed to spend together.

A place to grow together

Brent Leary: It seems like you not only have a brand-new business, but also a wonderful group of people to connect with and support as you build your business.

Marvin Edgar: Yeah, for sure. The really cool thing is that we have people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and hearing their perspectives can really help you see things you might have missed as you try to grow your business. And just having that support is amazing. Like, I rented this place. What about you? How do you handle this? Oh, that’s a great idea. Our chat is still active and it’s going wild every day. So yeah, that support can seriously save you from a lot of headaches. Instead of trying to figure everything out on your own, you can just call someone who knows what to do.

The important lessons I learned from the program

Me, Marvin Edgar: You know, I’ve been a leader in the retail logistics world for over 15 years. I’ve worked for some big-name companies. But this program really opened my eyes to something important – it gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I realized that all the experience I’ve gained over the years has prepared me for this moment. And boy, did I gain a ton of confidence from this program! With the help of my mentors, Karena and her team, they really set me up for success.

Brent Leary: Hold on, let me circle back to Karena real quick. Let’s chat about the community part and the kind of people and role models who are involved in this program. They play a crucial role in making it a success, just like how Marvin experienced.

So what exactly are the things that make someone stand out as a potential small business owner? Well, I want to hear from DSPs who can nominate individuals like Marvin. These are the people who truly understand what it takes to succeed in this role. They have that special something, that grit, that sets them apart from the rest. Not everyone has it, but those who do, like Marvin and his fellow cohort members, are the ones we’ll be keeping an eye out for in future iterations of our program.