Pinnacle Award Finalist Max Peterson: ‘You Have The Power To Choose Your Own Attitude’ – WashingtonExec


Max Peterson, AWS

The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 11, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person Nov. 30.

Next is Cloud Industry Executive of the Year (Public Company) finalist Max Peterson, who’s vice president of international sales for worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services. Here, he talks key achievements, learning from failures, shaping the next generation of leaders and more.

What key achievements did you have in 2021 / 2022?

Over the last two years, AWS has worked closely with public sector organizations to help them meet their mission and make the world a better place through cloud. A few highlights that I’d call out are:

  • In September 2021, we launched the AWS Health Equity Initiative, a 3-year, $40 million commitment to support organizations globally that are inventing and scaling new ways to promote equal access to health care and address social determinants of health. In the first year of this initiative, AWS has awarded $14 million in cloud credits and technical expertise to help nearly 90 organizations around the world.
  • In December 2021, AWS launched its second Top Secret Region ⏤ AWS Top Secret-West ⏤ accredited to operate workloads at the Top Secret U.S. security classification level. With two Top Secret Regions, customers in the U.S. defense, intelligence and national security communities can achieve the highest levels of resiliency and availability essential to their most critical national security missions.
  • In June 2022, AWS and Axiom Space remotely operated the AWS Snowcone (a portable, rugged and secure device for edge computing and data transfer) on the International Space Station in a mission “first.”
  • Since January 2021, AWS has announced nine statewide collaborations with community colleges, 4-year institutions and high schools to help develop new training programs and create more pathways to cloud careers.
  • AWS has developed strategic agreements with the Greece, Singapore and Brazilian space agencies, focused on providing AWS tools and services that will support long-term economic growth, innovation and workforce education.

How do you help shape the next generation of government leaders/industry leaders?

In order to keep up with changes in technology, it’s important to build an IT workforce that understands what the new technologies are and help them stay ahead of the technology learning curve. That’s why AWS has committed to helping 29 million people globally grow their technical skills with free cloud computing skills training by the year 2025. We provide training opportunities through a number of programs, including the AWS Government Executive Education program, a 4-day MBA-style course for government leaders that shares insights from previous government transformations.

Personally, I’m passionate about mentoring and am a part of our formal mentoring program here at AWS where I get to invest quality time in helping others develop their careers. I also find it fulfilling to be actively involved with other organizations who are broadening access to opportunities for a more equitable future. AWS is proud to collaborate with Halcyon, an organization with a mission to make business and society more inclusive and impact-oriented, and I’m honored to serve on their board.

One of the ways that AWS works with Halcyon is to support its incubator programs for early-stage women-founded startups in underserved communities and regions around the globe to help world-changing ideas come to life.

What’s one key thing you learned from a failure you had?

You have the power to choose your own attitude regardless of the situation or circumstances.

Meet the other Pinnacle Awards finalists here.


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