Jamaican Cori Gordon, 28, has made history at the e-commerce company Amazon by becoming its youngest Delivery Service Partner. Gordon is the CEO of Cortoyou, a courier partnering with Amazon. Amazon introduced its Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program in 2018 to share the company’s logistics and operations experience with ambitious entrepreneurs.
Gordon, who is a native of Jamaica, had not planned for her career to develop in the way it has when she migrated to the United States in 2013, but after starting off in the retail and automotive industries and suffering burnout working more than 80 hours a week for someone else, she realized that she was made to be an entrepreneur. “I realized it was important for me to direct all those hours of energy into something I owned,” she said. The eldest child of nine, Gordon knew she was a leader, but had never thought she would be employing over 50 drivers and making history as one of Amazon’s business partners.
Before moving to the US, Gordon completed studies at Northern Caribbean University. Once she decided to become an entrepreneur, she went online to look for business opportunities that offered both a customer base and a clear path to success. She found that the Amazon Delivery Service Partner program was just what she was looking for and was impressed with the training and development resources the program offered.
Amazon’s DSP gives entrepreneurs the power to create their own last-mile delivery firms from scratch with the help of the retail giant’s infrastructure, technology, and exclusive services. In its two-plus years of operation, the program has seen entrepreneurs experience considerable growth. There are currently over 1,300 DSPs working throughout the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany. The program has also created 85,000 jobs.
Corto you, Gordon’s DSP, operates out of Amazon’s new delivery station in Staten Island, New York, and makes deliveries to customers in Brooklyn, where she lives. Gordon notes that the most fulfilling thing about being a DSP is that she can create jobs. She said she gets excited when one of her workers gets a new car or phone because she knows her company is helping them reach their goals.
Amazon announced a new diversity grant in August of 2020 to help remove barriers to entry for Black, Latinx, and Native American entrepreneurs who wanted to start a DSP. Amazon believes by investing in this program, it is creating a future for these communities. The grant provides $10,000 to each qualified candidate so they can build their own DSP business in the US.
Gordon hopes that her story will inspire other young people of color to investigate Amazon’s program. Her own journey with the company “has been amazing,” she said.
We asked Cori Gordon, How has your Jamaican upbringing influenced you in business?
“All the best parts of who I am were a consequence of my Jamaican upbringing. There are skill sets and talents I have that were cultivated through my professional exposure and creative endeavors in the United States; however, my industrious nature, indomitable spirit and abhorrence for excuses were nurtured through my Jamaican education and parental guidance. These are the qualities that transformed me from an independent contributor at two highly successful companies to an entrepreneur with ultimate control over my company.
Intrinsically, I’ve always been committed to excellence. I’ve never feared disappointing my family because they’ve never pressured me to consider their opinion. My family has always created a beautifully trusting space for me to naturally exist and evolve as I please. Because of this unconditional freedom, I decided early on to master any job I was entrusted. I give my employees this same freedom to be themselves. The result is an amazingly diverse staff whose perspectives are recognized.
As a student at Holy Childhood High School, I learned incredible discipline and self-control. What I may have perceived to be rigid daily regimen at the time, I recognize now was preparing me to develop the right habits to be successful. I’m grateful for this experience because discipline has been the ultimate transformer of my dreams making them a reality.
Similarly, the confidence that was instilled in me at Northern Caribbean University as a student leader and debater created a powerful, unapologetic leader. The woman who shows up in sales negotiations and strategic planning meetings was groomed in the classroom and executive meetings in college where I was given opportunities to develop my critical thinking and organizational skills.
Most special of all, my business persona has been inspired by my dad’s relentless pursuit of success in his enterprises and my mom’s unflinching fearlessness even in the face of fluctuating reward in business. Despite the uncertainty of the destiny of their companies, my parents showed me that commitment to a cause is always rewarded. Today, I still channel my mom’s resilience to sustain me when days seem unusually challenging and remember my dad’s dedication when moments are overwhelming. I remain inspired to invest in my business and my team because it’s the Jamaican way to preserve through any trial and finish what we start!”