Speaker Spotlight: Q&A with Jenna Prescott

Jenna Prescott | Recruiting Manager in London

Jenna Prescott speaks about her role in the technology sector and shares her thoughts on London’s Women of Silicon Roundabout Event, taking place 25-26th June 2019.

Jenna Prescott leads Tech Recruitment globally for two of Expedia Group’s brands; Hotels.com and Expedia Partner Solutions. Previously she was in tech recruitment at Sky where she began the Women in Tech meetup series. Jenna is very passionate about making technology a more diverse and inclusive place for all.  In her spare time Jenna loves to travel (mostly with the intent to try the local food!).  

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the field of recruitment?

I think most people in recruitment will tell you that it was not a planned move coming out of university! However working in a recruitment agency made me realise what I loved doing is working with people; delighting them with job offers and hard to find top talent. I took that to my first in-house role at Sky where I found my true love – tech recruitment! I think it’s my personal drive and passion that has allowed me to progress within HR functions to today at Expedia where I lead tech recruitment globally for 2 of Expedia Group’s brands, Hotels.com and Expedia Group.

What’s a typical day like for you?

What I love about my job is how varied it is and that means there often is not a typical day! In a day I will usually be having a catch up with a team member or a business stakeholder, check in on progress on the organisation of my next event, use LinkedIn to source hard to find talent, work with business or HR colleagues on various projects from diversity hiring to referrals and approve today’s posting for our LinkedIn page. Throughout this I will be keeping up to date with LinkedIn, posting updates and answering many slack messages!

Who is your female tech inspiration? What have they done and why do they inspire you?

I meet amazing female talent in tech who inspire me everyday! However here I have to mention Phoebe Greig and Misa Ogura who set up Women Driven Development in their spare time to build community and help move the dial when it comes to women in tech by creating sponsorship opportunities. Expedia Group were lucky enough to host the 2nd ever Women Driven Development Hackathon it was an absolute pleasure to work with this inspirational couple!

As a recruitment manager what is your top tip for people who are looking for their next opportunity?

Network! There are so many opportunities now to meet companies in their natural environments so if you think that company could be a great place for your next opportunity go to their next meet-up, Hackathon or visit their stand at a conference. This way you can speak to their engineers yourself and ask questions that are important to you. It’s a great way to gain a true insight into company culture!

What is your Women of Silicon Roundabout talk about?

We are talking about Diversity recruiting and what actions businesses can take to meet their diversity targets (I am sure there will be something on there on if we need targets too?!). The key takeaways will be actionable, tactical moves that everyone can use to influence tangible improvements in the diversity and inclusivity of their company.

What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech?

My advice would be to take opportunity, stretch yourself but most of all do something that you love and you are passionate about 😀

You can catch Jenna on Tuesday 25th June at 1:30 pm as part of the Hired panel on ‘Taking actions towards Diversity Hiring Goals’.

Open Internal Talent Markets Promote Opportunity and Employer Sentiment

Ryan Johne | Reporting & Analysis Manager, Expedia Group in Bellevue, Washington

One of the most stressful events in a professional’s career is changing jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US worker will have ten different jobs before the age of 40 – and that number is projected to rise!

Personally, I fall right into that average. I’ve had seven different roles across three different companies, and let’s just say I’m a far cry from my days of being 20-something. Each of my transitions has been for different reasons as well. I’ve left because I wasn’t happy, and I’ve left because I needed more money to support my growing family.  My most recent move in July was for a yet another new reason – more on that in a few paragraphs…

I’ve been with Expedia Group for over six years now, with no plans to go anywhere…from a company perspective. Expedia Group has a unique benefit that offers their employees a gargantuan pool of job opportunities across job functions, businesses units, and experiences.

At Expedia Group, we have an Open Internal Talent Market, which allows hiring managers to approach employees from other teams within the company. It also gives employees the chance to apply for internal jobs without the (sometimes) awkward conversation with their manager about looking for other opportunities. It may sound a bit unproductive to have several different business groups pining over the best talent in the organization, but it’s not. It gives employees a great opportunity to develop their skills while avoiding ramp-up time with a new company.

Most other large companies offer an open talent market as well, but together with the work/life balance and the rockstar benefits at Expedia Group, being able to try new roles and/or teams is, well…butter-cream frosting on an already delicious baked good (sorry – I’m such a dad).

Back to my most recent transition…

The past four years of my career, I was on Expedia Group’s Global Brand Marketing team. I ran ROI analytics for a large-budget TV advertiser. My college degree is in advertising and the bulk of my career is in analytics, so as one could infer, I had a BOAT-LOAD of passion for the role. To be frank, it was my dream job. I worked with wonderfully smart and fun people who had a similar passion for the advertising world, which led to excellent cutting-edge work, in my humble opinion.

A few weeks before my 4-year mark with the Brand team, I received an email from my [now] manager asking me if I’d be interested in exploring a new opportunity on her team. It was in the HR organization, which, to be frank (again), didn’t seem like a great idea given my history of being less than politically-correct at times. However, as she explained her vision for the team and for my role, I realized something: It’s not advertising I’m passionate about, I’m passionate about using analytics to solve complex business problems. This was a perfect opportunity to challenge myself and apply that mindset to a function with which I am not familiar at all.

So, I jumped, leaving the comfort of Brand Marketing for HR. I jumped, hoping a bungee cord made of analytics experience and dad-jokes would keep me from crashing into a rocky outcrop of uncertainty and potential HR nightmares, given my periodically insensitive humor. I jumped, and I’m so glad I did.

Something I learned along the way is taking risks, in general, to promote health and growth (actually bungee jumping, however, might not prove to be “healthy”). Someone once told me, “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing” – I’m a firm believer in that mentality. As we all know, growing up is a part of life. But it took this experience to make me realize “growing up” is one of the biggest parts of life…and it never really stops. Thankfully though, “growing up” during adulthood doesn’t include nearly as much voice change.

Let’s be realistic; all jobs eventually run their course and we all move on to the next challenge (remember, I still need three more jobs before I’m 40 to beat the national average!). However, given how many unique opportunities there are at Expedia Group, I have no reason to look anywhere but internally when the time comes, making those risks a lot easier to handle…and hopefully there’s no bungee jumping involved.