Leyland tennis coach’s community support celebrated by Amazon

Posted on - 8th August, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Charities, Education, Leyland, People, Preston Locations, Preston News, Proud Preston, South Ribble News, Sport
Jonah Ukpong recieving his award
Jonah Ukpong recieving his award

An Amazon employee who supports the community in Leyland has been named as a regional winner in the company’s national That’s BENtastic awards.  

Jonah Ukpong works at the Amazon delivery station in Leyland and joined the company in 2022. He was nominated for a That’s BENtastic award by a colleague for his work in Leyland and across the North West, which sees him provide free tennis coaching classes for children of all ages and abilities.

Now in its third year, That’s BENtastic is an awards campaign run by Amazon’s Black Employee Network (BEN) and recognises and rewards black employees, and those who support the black community, and have had a positive impact on society.

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Jonah’s support of his community means he has been crowned as a regional That’s BENtastic winner, taking home a prize package worth more than £500.

Jonah, who lives in Chorley, is an LTA accredited tennis coach and moved to the UK from Italy two years ago to continue his passion of offering tennis lessons to children. Jonah’s aim is to help children develop physical and mental skills through participation in sport. At Amazon, Jonah is also responsible for helping to organise events for the BEN affinity group and led celebrations at the delivery station during Africa Day in May.

“In my time in the UK, I’ve helped to coach hundreds of children here in Leyland and in other places like Bolton and Wigan and I’ve loved every moment,” said Jonah. “I believe that sport teaches children lots of different skills, from fitness and technique to teamwork and mental strength, and I am so passionate about giving many children access to tennis.”

“My coaching journey in the UK began by offering free tennis sessions to schools in the North West, where I gave lessons to 700 children and 50 adults every week. I also delivered free tennis and fitness sessions in LTA affiliated tennis clubs and in over 30 OFSTED registered schools. I tried to engage with children to be active and encourage exercising in different sports and fitness classes through fun learning while placing safety first.”

Jonah Ukpong recieving his award
Jonah Ukpong recieving his award

Jonah explains that joining Amazon represented his first job outside the world of tennis. Jonah, who holds a degree in biomedical science, had spent his career as a tennis coach in Italy before moving to the UK and joining Amazon.

“Going from tennis to Amazon might not seem like a natural move, but both worlds have some things in common. Tennis requires precision and attention to detail, and they are two qualities also needed at Amazon. I’ve enjoyed my role with Amazon since the day I joined. I’m thriving,” he said.

“I’ve loved meeting new people from a wide range of backgrounds. I’ve made friends from lots of different cultures at Amazon and I find it a very happy place to work. Finding a role like this, with people I love, is like a dream come true for me. It’s such a professional, supportive and inclusive environment.”

Alongside coaching tennis, Jonah is heavily involved in promoting the BEN affinity group at Amazon in Leyland. He welcomes new members to the group, helps organise events and plans celebrations for the BEN network. It’s his tennis coaching and his support of the BEN community that’s helped Jonah win a regional That’s BENtastic award.

“It’s a great honour to receive this award,” said Jonah. “This is something new for me and I’m very excited. I always try to have a smile on my face and this award will brighten my smile further!”

Ramona Williams, Chair of BEN UK Ops, added: “Jonah is one of the many fantastic BEN ambassadors working at Amazon across the UK and it’s great to recognise his efforts to support the black community inside and outside Amazon with this award. Jonah’s work in the community has a profound impact on many people and he is a much-valued member of the team at Amazon in Leyland.”

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The Black Employee Network (BEN) is an employee resource group, also known as an affinity group, at Amazon open to Black employees and allies. BEN’s mission at Amazon is to recruit, retain, and empower Black employees across the business. BEN UK Ops is a branch of the network specifically for employees in the operational arm of Amazon’s business. Through BEN employees have access to resources, networking opportunities and engaging initiatives to support their personal and professional growth.

Amazon has 13 affinity groups which play an important role in bringing Amazon employees together and creating a sense of community globally while encouraging inclusivity and diversity. These groups include the BEN, Glamazon, Asians@Amazon, People with Disabilities and Women@.

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