Homecoming Q&A: Amy Swartz
Buffalo Homecoming staff report
Technologist Amy Swartz sees something unique happening in Buffalo she says is unrivaled for a city its size.
Her career in media sales has taken her around the country. She has worked for Google and is currently a facilitator in the sales academy at Oracle, based in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. In the role, she works to educate seasoned sales people so they can simplify technology’s solutions and benefits.
Swartz graduated from Clarence High School and SUNY Buffalo State.
Do you keep an eye on what's happening in Western New York’s tech and startup scene?
I really do. It is quite impressive what 43North has done. I like seeing the competition and winners each year. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are using tech to capture their audience and I don't see that elsewhere from a city this size – a lot of thanks should go to the smart and caring people we have in the region.
Speaking of social media, I am able to keep up with what's happening in WNY. For example, I see the advertising spots from West Herr that feature Steve Tasker and Josh Allen. It’s amazing work!
What's it like to see all that has changed in the region in recent years?
The medical corridor is a real testament to WNY and the commitment to the finest health care. Having friends and family that have been at Buffalo General and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute, it's phenomenal to see the continued evolution.
I have a fond memory of coming home to see the giant duck after Canalside opened. We also enjoyed watching a football game at 716 on that ginormous screen, as well as just being downtown. As always, the Buffalo area’s restaurant scene is second to none. I still enjoy the classics, too, such as wings at Duff's and sponge candy from Alethea's!
Do you stay in contact with friends and family that are still in WNY?
My best friends to this day live in Buffalo. I've come home every year since 1998 to see a Buffalo Bills game. Trust me, I'll find my way back this year, even if I have to sit outside at the Eagle House in Williamsville with a Molson Export.
How did your career initially take you away from Buffalo?
I never thought I would leave and it was hard to leave home. Initially, I left to go to Watertown for an opportunity with LM Berry. Later, I was recruited to San Francisco, Hawaii, Silicon Valley and Orange County, California.
I have proudly displayed my Buffalo pride everywhere I've lived!
What was working at Google like?
It was like watching “The Intern.” I am very appreciative for the experience and all that I learned. In my role, I traveled around North America and was a keynote speaker at many tech events. I got to work with our top partners and help them get their digital message across to their clients. To see what Google does for the world, including Waymo (the self-driving car) and Loon (the balloons that carry internet access to remote areas), was pretty cool.
On a selfish note, Google moved me to New York City – something I had only dreamed about. One of the reasons I accepted the position was to move back east since my father was getting older. I was able to spend a great deal of time with him in his last year.
How has media sales changed through the years?
Well, for starters, my media career started in Yellow Pages. Need I say more about change? The changes in the past 20 years are akin to the Industrial Revolution. Emerging digital technologies and social media platforms have completely transformed how businesses communicate with their customers. I will say that we are only at the beginning and there is so much more to come.
When I started selling Yellow Pages, I walked up and down Main Street in Williamsville. When I tell that to newer sales people they look at me like I have three heads.
The role of women has similarly changed. When I started selling, there were very few female outside sales people. Now as I look around, we have many women in leadership roles that are at the top of their game.
What are some of your favorite memories from growing up?
Oh, my goodness, there are so many. I enjoyed going to Guys Subs and Bocce Pizza, or for a late-night burger at Perkins or for French fries at Crystal Beach. Probably one of my best memories was when my sister took me to see Electric Light Orchestra, my first of many concerts at The Aud.