Step Up Up Mentee Program

Tanu Aggarwal | Software Development Engineer, Global Customer Operations in Gurgaon

It was started when one day my manager called me and said he has nominated me for the Step Up Mentee program saying it will give me an opportunity to build up my network and grow in my career and requesting me to submit the Statement of Purpose (SOP).

The idea sounds great as I was already struggling in figuring out what next?

So, I thought why not lets write the SOP and that’s is when I have realised it is so satisfying to revisit the journey you had so far. How have you grown over all of these years and all the more important is who all have been mentoring you, supporting you in your journey already. This made me realize how important a mentoring program could be and has made me more confident in getting selected as one of the mentees.

From the very first day the Step Up Mentee program started helping me in identifying my areas of strengths and weaknesses. All of the selected mentees were asked to take the psychometric test called DISC which was followed by an orientation session where all selected mentees shared their purpose of joining the program.

During this session Tanya Bahuguna and Pallavi Tondon helped not just understand the DISC assessment but also made me figure out the areas which are my strength and those areas which sometimes are my weakness. This was the first time where I was able to talk my heart out by relating to the assessment analysis and sharing how apt the assessment by seeing how have we been conducted myself so far at both professional and personal front.

Orientation session was followed by a session where we all need to come up with the themes which we would like to discuss and talk about throughout the program.

We come with these  themes

  • Building business acumen for strategic foresight and transitioning from tech mindset to a business mindset
  • The art and science of enhancing performance through feedback
  • Enhancing personal brand equity to fuel career ambitions
  • Building meaningful relationships through impactful communication

The best part of this program is being a group mentorship circle it has made me learn from each other experiences. It has always been great listening to the challenges what other mentee is facing and realising that in some way or the other you have faced such challenges too. Thus the techniques which are shared are helpful to others too.

Our first theme-based session started with Eman Barhoumeh, the VP of the Insurance and Assurance Business in Expedia.

She is a great leader, she has various ways to make us not just to speak up and give words to all the challenges we are facing, but also help us understand why possibly we could be in that situation and then trying help and guide us by providing various techniques.

She came up with a framework or a model to associate with each and every problem we raised. That has not only made things so relatable but also made me feel that I am not the only one facing these problems. And, these are known issues and concerns and there are solutions for it already. I just need to understand and apply in my daily routine.

Eman has conducted various working session to made us understand the perspective of other side of the problem too. She made us play the role and understand the point of view of all the parties involved. We have also been asked to apply techniques discussed during the sessions in our daily routine whether office or home. This has brought a significant change in my thought process in facing situation day to day basis.

This program is a wonderful initiative and has not only given us chance to learn how to grow as a better professional but as an individual too. And at the same time it has  also given us the opportunity to interact with different ECP leadership team and discuss with them our growth plan and seek their guidance.A big thank you for conducting this program.

Career Check-in: Divya Bhardwaj

Divya Bhardwaj | Supervisor, International Payroll in Gurgaon

What does your typical work day look like?

The beauty of working in a truly global & diverse environment – different time zones – is that there is no “typical” working day. There is a planned itinerary and then there is an unplanned one which spices up the day with new encounters. This is absolutely stimulating to the brain cells. But amidst all this excitement something that’s never off the radar is keeping a pulse of customer satisfaction through Service Now Dashboard.

What have you enjoyed most about working at Expedia Group?

It’s evolving each day – lightning fast! Working on multiple global & regional projects and initiatives sets a prodigious learning ground: “Fasten your seat-belts, we are in for a bumpy ride” – I JUST LOVE IT!

What makes your team unique?

The People! I love the One Team, Group First culture & the appetite for extraordinary customer service advanced from a diet of customer-centric values.

With my team in Tokyo

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Happy customers make my day and I strongly believe in “First Time Right Philosophy”. I am proud to have lived by both!

Who has influenced you the most?

The list is long & beautiful – all Women leaders starting from my working mother to business leaders like Indra Nooyi to political leaders like Hillary Clinton to my own Expedia Group leaders like Becky and Preet – keeps me going and motivated!!


Cultural day 2018 India

How and where do you find inspiration?

Crazy, but I am inspired by risk. An adventurous trip where the destination is yet not confirmed however the journey is bound to be exciting (full of potential failures & experiments)? That’s what gets my heart and imagination pumping

How did you learn to embrace failure?

Albert Einstein rightly said, “If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.” I have witnessed failures, but I am still on my journey to gracefully embrace failures. I believe in assessing potential risks and mitigating them to minimize the chance of failure.

Year end team lunch

What is your favorite piece of career advice?

Avoid being paralyzed by fear – Give wings to your thoughts and you will soar high. It’s a piece of advice I follow, too!

Tell us about your favorite vacation.

One of my most memorable vacation was with my family last year to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. From the multicultural town of Port Blair to picturesque pristine beaches, crystal clear water of Neil and Havelock Islands, Andaman offers a perfect choice for an exciting and peaceful vacation, and the more adventurous deep-sea diving – this place completely bowled me over for the second time.

What is your favorite weekend?

Lazing around in perfect peace in mesmerizing ambiance of my living room with my family (two naughty chirpy girls and a not so naughty husband) with some quick snacking & chit chat is the perfect weekend for me. Sounds cheesy maybe, but this comes as a gift of motherhood to me.

Career Check-in: Faisal Saiyed

Faisal Saiyed | Director, APAC People Services in Gurgaon

What does your typical work day look like?

In general, I have long days since I handle APAC. Being based in India, my first half typically is about engaging with my team, employees and managers in APAC. Evenings are often about hosting/participating in calls from US or other locations and thus I can often be found checking emails late in the night😊

What have you enjoyed most about working at EG?

The encouragement to think wide, to test and learn. There is a hugely supportive environment that allows one to risk failure without any negativity attached to it. Plus, I get to play out my role with a lot of freedom and autonomy.

What makes your team unique?

My team comprises of 6 nationalities and works across multiple time zones in APAC. They are incredibly passionate, driven and highly empathetic. I love their energy and ability to get stuff done.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

When we started off People Services team in APAC, there were many things that needed to align better. We were expending a lot of effort, but the impact on employees was sub optimal. Over the last 18 months, I am incredibly proud of the team that we have built, the technology interventions we have implemented and process excellence that we have fostered. While we still have a long way to go, we have already started impacting employees in a positive way. Our Employee experience is much improved and that such makes me incredibly excited.

Who has influenced you the mos?

Growing up, my father was a key influence in my life. Then, my wife and my daughter have two big influences on my life and I have learnt so much from them!

How and where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in little little things in every day. A kind gesture, a lovely song or beautiful scenery really charge me up. I often turn to poetry to sooth a troubled day. Finally, I am also inspired by how people surmount challenges and demonstrate an incredible will to live and live well.

How did you learn to embrace failure?

I have always taken failure ‘personally’ and often brood on it. Over time, I have pushed myself to ‘let go’ and not let my ego come in the middle. This has been a really tough and learning experience for me and I am still on that journey.

What is best career advice?

My most frequent recommendations in terms of career advice are two (i) strive to be awesome at the role that you are doing such that you are upheld as a role model, and (ii) create a wider spectrum of skills so that one is able to broaden one’s capabilities to take on different roles. That way, we can demonstrate excellence in the current role and have a bouquet of skills to offer that can help us go to new/different roles!

Tell us about your favorite vacation.

This has to be Scotland and Lake Districts in North England. Picture-post card perfect places, great weather and we had a lovely place to stay.

What is favorite weekend getaway?

I love the hills, so whenever I get a chance, I relish going into the mountains and spending some quality time.