Meet Your Neighbor: Aymie Oliver Wedwick

Published 10:02 am Thursday, July 18, 2019

By Nacogdoches Miller

Sun Intern

Aymie Oliver-Wedwick is not your average soccer mom.

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She is always on the go, juggling her jobs as a program manager for Amazon and as president of the Winchester Youth Soccer League.

Wedwick took a moment to pencil in The Winchester Sun to talk about growing up in sports, its importance on the youth of Winchester, falling into a job, her love of the weather and the “organized chaos” she calls her life.

Winchester Sun: How long have you been involved in soccer?

Aymie Oliver-Wedwick: I’ve always been around soccer because my brother was the first one to start playing. He is younger than me, and I would help out, and then I started playing myself in rec (league) when I was about 12 and then went on to play select and even was on my college team my freshmen year.

I took a break, and then once I had my son and he was old enough to start playing year-four, I started to get involved in soccer again. First as an assistant coach for his team and then a coach and then I joined the board with WYSL and started getting even more involved.

WS: Are you originally from Winchester?

AOW: I’m originally from Florida. In high school, I moved to a rural town in Wisconsin, where I graduated high school and started my college career at UW-Platteville. Then I moved on to the University of North Dakota because I changed my major to atmospheric sciences and finished my degree there and ended up not pursuing a career in meteorology after I graduated.

I fell into a career at Amazon on accident, and I’ve worked for Amazon ever since. So, I moved here when the customer service center opened.

WS: How do you like that?

AOW: I love what I do.

I work on the customer service content team. So, my team is responsible for creating the help pages as well as any internal content that customer service needs to help customers.

WS: Do you get a lot of angry questions from people?

AOW: I don’t take calls from anyone anymore. That was my first job when I started at Amazon, but I quickly transitioned to an internship that became a full-time role working in content.

I don’t engage with customers myself. But I do try to find ways to make the customer experience better so they can self-serve. If they can’t self-serve, if they do have to contact us, the agent they’re talking to can help them effectively.

WS: How did you fall into a job with Amazon?

AOW: I graduated. And I needed a job because I was going to have to start paying on my student loans. I started there while applying to ‘real jobs’ in meteorology and also applying to grad school.

I thought it was going to be a temporary thing taking phone calls, but then I found this internship that turned into a career. So, I’ve been with Amazon for more than nine years now.

WS: How did you get interested in meteorology?

AOW: I was always interested in weather growing up.

In Florida, in school, you track hurricanes. They want you to learn all about the safety and the things that you should be doing for storm preparedness.

We would have to watch the news in the morning or check the newspaper and get the coordinates of where all the hurricanes were and we would bring them to school, and we would map them.

We learned about the weather that way, and my mom was always into it. So, if it started hailing, she was the first one to run outside and grab a piece so we could measure it.

I remember one time we were out fishing, and a waterspout formed right in front of us, it was weak and it went right over us and our fishing equipment. And I remember sitting on our fishing-poles so that they wouldn’t blow away.

I always had a passion for it. I was always interested in it.

When I went off to college, I originally started pursuing electrical engineering. I pursued that for half my college career then decided that wasn’t for me and changed.

Meteorology allowed all of the science and math and everything I had already done to transfer right over to that major and pursue something that I was more passionate about.

WS: Do you get to do anything with meteorology now?

AOW: The (WYSL) board of directors asks me what I think the weather is going to do to decide if we are going to cancel or not. So, that forecasting ability does come in handy.

I do try and do my forecast to try and predict what we should be doing for our decisions out at the fields and that complex. But that’s about it.

I sometimes go to my son’s school, and I’ll do the weather labs and stuff for them to teach them how clouds are made and things like that if something is going on at the school that’s related to weather I’ll go help out.

WS: How do you predict the weather before you all are going to do something?

AOW: I’m looking at tools on the web and everything like I would if I was still in school taking forecasting classes or still interning at the National Weather Service. I go, and I look at all those things.

First thing you always do when you’re going to do a forecast is you go and look out your window; you can’t blindly trust what the tools and the models are going to be accurate.

I compare what’s been happening to what models predicted, then look at what they are saying is going to happen. I see if I agree or disagree and I read what the National Weather Service is already saying.

I try and look more in detail for our area instead of the blanket statement, so I can try and have a better idea of what’s going to happen here and make my forecast from that.

It’s using the skills I learned in school and judgment and trends.

WS: Are you still going to grad school, or did you already graduate?

AOW: I did not end up pursuing grad school. I was happy with my career at Amazon, and I’ve been successful with that. I’m still successful with that. I still get to pursue new things internally.

As an intern that turned into being a content developer where I was writing the content. Then that turned into being a content strategist.

I was managing a team as well as looking at data, and coming up with a strategy for how we were going to organize our content, what content we were going to create, working with product teams to understand what they were going to be doing so that our content could grow with the business.

Now I’ve transitioned to work more on the tool side of things. So, instead of being involved in the creation and the planning for the content, I’m supporting my old team by working with the team that owns the tools they use to try and make their lives easier… My title right now is program manager. It’s hard to explain.

WS: How did you go from all that to being the president of the WYSL?

WOA: When I first approached the board, I knew I wanted to join and help them out when I saw the website.

I went to the website to look for information, I couldn’t find it. The website was this bright green and black with yellow and white text. The content strategist in me was triggered.

It wasn’t accessible if anyone was colorblind going in and looking at that website, they were not going to be able to read it.

My number one concern was that somebody would go to this and they would not have been able to see what was on the screen.

Then the information was outdated; it wasn’t organized in a way that you could easily find what you wanted. I approached the board and originally joined them and became the person for communications.

I took over the website; I took over the social media. I took over the email account and started with that.

And now when you go to the website it’s clean. It’s not perfect, but it’s working with the tools that I was stuck with where they built the website, to begin with.

It’s a nice clean white with black lettering so that anyone can go and read it. I think it’s a little bit more organized than it was before.

We also updated the logo and things as well, that was something I had proposed as well. Since I took over the social media, our Facebook following has grown from almost exactly 1,000 to now over 1,300 last I checked.

We see way more engagement on Facebook. I dabbled in Twitter and Instagram, but the community hasn’t responded to that, so I’ve been sticking with Facebook and keeping the website up to date, and that seems to be working on getting our message out there.

After being on the board for a year, year and a half, our president at the time Greg Herringshaw decided to step down, he had been on the board for several years and nominated me on the way out. So, I kind of fell into it. And I was happy to take that on.

WS: What does something like the youth soccer league bring to a community like Winchester?

A0W: It brings in an activity that the kids and the family can enjoy.

We have several families that they have kids of all different ages, and so they are out there all Saturday morning into the afternoon, having a blast being brought together, learning the sport together.

A lot of the parents haven’t played soccer themselves, so they are learning too.

When they get older, they get to travel and play other teams and stuff and get to experience it as a family.

I know I have plenty of fond memories with my parents driving me around to different soccer games and the car rides were as much fun as getting to the games was and playing then going and eating lunch together and everything with our teams and other families.

I think it builds another part of the community within the community.

I’ve met plenty of people myself through soccer, and my kids playing and volunteering that have become good friends of mine and bringing us together — being new to the community that was our way of connecting and becoming a part of Winchester.

I don’t know how we would’ve gone about that without going out and being a part of something like the soccer league or my husband and I going out and joining a gym and getting community through that.

I think any sport, whether its soccer or anything else, is important for kids in general. It teaches confidence; it teaches them leadership skills, teaches them how to communicate; it gives them an outlet.

Active people are happier. There is science behind it, plenty of studies.

Kids starting out playing sports no matter what it is, it starts to build those healthier habits and especially for girls, it also helps to develop their confidence in themselves and their self-image.

Getting to see the women’s World Cup team, seeing Serena Williams seeing all these female athletes they are getting to see all different body types. They get to see these successful, confident women with a strong work ethic. They see it and say, ‘I can be like that,’ and so they do it.

Kids have to learn how to deal with success. They have to deal with failure, learn ‘I failed at this, what am I going to do to be better.’

That’s going to carry over into different things.

Some studies show kids who do sports do better in school because you have to do well in school to participate in your school’s athletic programs, so they are more likely to do better in school.

They are more likely to live healthier lives. They are more likely to finish school. They are more likely to pursue college or higher education. They are more likely to get placed higher in their jobs because all those skills they learned out there on the field or in the pool or on the court, they are carrying that throughout the rest of their lives.