Inside John Kim's Exclusive Career Development Cohort

President, John Kim, recognizes the importance of spending time developing talent within HomeAway. With his President’s Apprentice program, he’s dedicating his personal time to help existing and future HomeAway leaders broaden their leadership footprint. These employees recently graduated from the program and they’re sharing the advice and learnings they took with them.

(The Alpha class from the Customer Experience and Partner Success teams. From left: Seleena Hoban, Shawn Stoller, Drew Cross, John Kim, Katie Winland, and Sarah Wilson)

(The Alpha class from the Customer Experience and Partner Success teams. From left: Seleena Hoban, Shawn Stoller, Drew Cross, John Kim, Katie Winland, and Sarah Wilson)

Q: What is something that you took away from your apprenticeship that you’re applying to your current role?

“The ability to form a better argument. As a group, we’ve been working on building a business case for HomeAway to implement. The process of forming a thesis, supporting facts and getting buy-in is very tough, but the skills and insights I’ve learned from John Kim have helped me suggest and support arguments to my team.” - Trey Briggs, Senior Software Engineer

“Do your research, then do some more! This program showed me how critical it is to dig in to understanding any problem you’re trying to solve with a scientific mindset and feverish curiosity. I use this daily to lead my team and we lean on the data and research to have more meaningful conversations with our partners.“ - Megan Hunter, Lead Account Manager

“Since participating in the Apprenticeship program, my role at HomeAway has changed significantly. Some of the most impactful takeaways were the power of leading with logic, being an organizer of thought and always encouraging others to poke holes in my argument. If I’m ever feeling stuck, I can hear JK saying, ‘Ok, what is the job to be done here? What do I want to accomplish?’ He said this so often that it became sort of a running joke amongst the group, but it’s such simple and sound wisdom! Starting with the end in mind allows me to build stronger branches of logic and have a vision that isn’t muddied by an infinite number of possible outcomes.  - Sarah Wilson, Customer Experience Specialist

Q: What’s the nomination process like and how you found out you were accepted?

“I was nominated by my director at the time. After the nominations, we were interviewed by Arin Bryan from the Learning & Development team, who asked us questions about our experience and what our career aspirations were. I then had a call with John Kim to discuss the program and see if I would be a good fit based on what his goals were. Then I was notified that I had been selected to participate in the first junior cohort at HomeAway and I was super excited!” -Katie Winland, Partner Success Team Lead

Beta Class from left: Trey Briggs (Engineering), Julie Bosshart-Lammers (Marketing), Megan Hunter (Partner Success), Andrew Cunningham (Product), Joshua White (Customer Experience)

Beta Class from left: Trey Briggs (Engineering), Julie Bosshart-Lammers (Marketing), Megan Hunter (Partner Success), Andrew Cunningham (Product), Joshua White (Customer Experience)

Q: What was your experience like working directly with HomeAway President, John Kim?

“John Kim says things that make you think differently for the rest of your life. I remember him asking us how we were feeling about our final presentation in which I answered ‘I just want it to be awesome!’ He then said to me, ‘That’s a fixed mindset.’ We read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck which honestly changed me mentally for a couple weeks in that I constantly counted the times in which my mind was in a fixed state rather than a growth state. I’m better for it only because John Kim called it how it is. You need to be open to the feedback and understand that he wants you to be the best version of yourself and a great leader.” - Seleena Hoban, Global Operations Program Coordinator

“JK inspired me to evaluate how I ‘show up’ for my job every day and how important it is to understand how you are doing now, then set up a plan to measure how you will continue to grow moving forward. It’s not enough to say, ‘I want to get better at x, y, or z.’ You have to put the time in and then figure out how to quantify the results and keep yourself in check!” -Megan Hunter, Lead Account Manager

Q: How did the career coaching session impact your personal career goals?

“The coaching sessions with John Kim and Learning & Development Specialist, Kylie Robin were incredibly insightful. John showed me how to be more intentional with my career by writing down my aspirations, what I want my reputation to be and how to align my week-to-week actions to get there. This helped me reevaluate where I was at in my career at the time and led me to work with my director to set goals. My sessions with Kylie helped me gain insights for daily self-improvement. Her general knowledge and thoughtful consideration for coaching me on leadership opened me up to new skills like communicating with confidence and compassionate directness. These sessions were invaluable and allowed me to take intentional steps to achieving my personal goals.” - Trey Briggs, Senior Software Engineer

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Q: Did you work on a specific assignment during the program?

“Our main project was creating our vision of ‘The Future of Sales and Service.’ I meta.  I can remember exactly where I was sitting the day JK gave us feedback.  It wasn’t pretty, but to be fair, this was the very first time any of us had ever attempted to create a strategic vision. After gathering information from some of the brilliant minds at HomeAway (and going through countless iterations), we presented our thesis to leadership and an audience of over 300. I’m immensely proud of what we accomplished! It’ll be an ongoing goal of mine to emulate JK’s seemingly effortless ability to deconstruct a pile of dirt and rebuild it into diamond.” - Sarah Wilson, Customer Experience Specialist

Q: Did you meet new coworkers during the program?

“The first junior cohort was from Customer Experience and Partner Success. A few of us knew each other prior to the program, but this experience really brought us together as a group. We still connect with each other in and out of work, I feel like we have become a family. We spent a lot of hours together preparing for our sessions and final presentation and we created lasting friendships. I’m so grateful for this experience it really taught me a lot about collaboration and I made friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life. -Katie Winland, Partner Success Team Lead

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A Day in the Life of a HomeAway Events Specialist

Meredith’s job is unique, so unique in fact she refers to it as the “unicorn role.” Positions like this are posted few and far between so when she found out HomeAway was hiring for an Employee Events Specialist role she immediately envisioned herself in HomeAway blue. While most new employees hope for a relaxing transition and plenty of time to get acclimated, Meredith jumped in head first on day one. Why? One of our biggest events was right around the corner, Austin City Limits Music Festival. She’s sharing her experience coordinating the HomeAway Hospitality Tent at ACL and tips for scoring a dream job like hers.

Q: How would you sum up your role in one sentence?

MC: I plan activities and events that contribute to the many reasons why Team HomeAway wants to come to work instead of having to come to work.

Q: What types of events do you help with?

MC: My first two big events were Day of Caring and the HomeAway hospitality tent at Austin City Limits. Next up is the Level Up Games.

Since this is a new role, we’re still working out the events where I will take lead and/or collaborate with other teams like Diversity & Inclusion, Facilities, Expedia Group, etc. We’re also working on the 2019 calendar and hoping to add some new internal events and other engagement opportunities into the mix!

Meredith and her manager, Jaime M. posing in the photo booth for Halloween.

Meredith and her manager, Jaime M. posing in the photo booth for Halloween.

Q: Give us two tips for someone wanting to start a career in events?

MC: First, volunteer to help out with as many events as you can! Then you’ll be top of mind if there is a need for an official events role. Second, no matter how much time and effort you put into producing an event, somebody has to get out on the dance floor to really get the party started. Don’t be afraid to be that person!

First time visiting the Expedia Group office in Bellevue, Washington.

First time visiting the Expedia Group office in Bellevue, Washington.

Q: What’s been your favorite thing about working at HomeAway so far?

MC: ACL was hard work, but amazing! Both of Nelly’s St. Lunatics gave me high fives during his show on the HomeAway stage, so I think that officially makes me a St. Lunatic now.

I also enjoyed seeing all of my talented teammates who submitted videos to the HomeAway’s Got Talent competition. It’s the first time we’ve done a competition like this where employees vote on the different acts and the winners get to perform at our annual holiday party in Austin. I’m looking forward to the live performances and hope that we get to do something similar again!

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to be part of Team HomeAway? Follow us on social media or visit our careers page!

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My 5 TakeAways from the Texas Conference for Women

Written by Jennifer Haston, HomeAway Customer Support Supervisor

I was privileged to attend the 2018 Texas Conference for Women thanks to HomeAway. It's my dream to speak there someday, but one step at a time folks!

One of the many things I love about Expedia Group and HomeAway is their commitment to knowledge and learning. Many programs are offered internally that allow for professional and personal development. It’s such a joy to be able to take advantage of these programs and the opportunity to attend conferences like this. 

There were 7,500 people in attendance at this year’s conference. Take a minute, drink that in.

7,500 attendees (mostly women) and it was great to see some men as well! 

The day started with a breakfast session with (Anne Grady) about balance being bogus. It really set the tone for my day because my normal habit in an environment like this is to take copious notes (which I never look at again) and really MISS out on the opportunity to BE there.

Luvvie Ajayi and I after her session.

Luvvie Ajayi and I after her session.

Anne asked us to think about what we would do to really BE at the conference. 

Some suggestions in the room were:

I was fed, motivated and ready to start the day.

There were so many takeaways from this conference, but for time’s sake I’ll share my favorite highlights.

  1. Always be early. This ensures that you’ll snag a good seat and it allows time to review the conference guide.

  2. "We need accomplices, not allies."- Luvvie Ajayi

  3. “Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. Big potential is what we can achieve together.” - Shawn Achor

  4. "Choose discomfort over resentment." - Brené Brown It's not comfortable to say no, especially for women. We want to do it all, have it all and be ALL things. If you say no, you will be uncomfortable in the moment, but you won't resent the person you shouldn’t have said "yes" to in the first place.

  5. Be bold and ask questions, it often leads to great discussion! This applies to individual networking, local meetings, and conferences.

If there is a conference for women in your state, I highly recommend attending. Also, encourage your company to sponsor employees to attend or sponsor a booth like HomeAway did at the 2017 conference!

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to be part of Team HomeAway? Follow us on social media or visit our careers page!