Expedia Cares: The best perk of working for Expedia Group

Kayla Ferdon | Global Campaign Manager, Orbitz in Chicago

Besides my actual day job as a Global Campaign Manager, my favorite thing about working at Expedia Group is Expedia Cares, our incredible charitable giving benefits, that extend well beyond just monetary donation match.

Before working at Expedia Group, I worked for a wonderful nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, that nonprofit didn’t have a physical office, and after a few years, I was craving a job that allowed me to interact with fellow humans, face-to-face, on a regular basis. An opportunity opened up at Orbitz, one of Expedia Group’s many travel brands, which sounded great, but I was hesitant to make the move from the nonprofit sector to a large, corporate company because I was afraid I’d be losing my ability to give back and feel fulfilled.

My concerns disappeared when I learned about the company’s incredible charitable giving program.

Most companies today have a corporate match program where they will match every dollar you donate to charity. Expedia Group goes well beyond that. They understand that not everyone can donate money all of the time. EG also matches the time you donate to charitable organizations.

For every hour you volunteer (that does not conflict with your work hours), you receive $15 (or local currency equivalent) in donation dollars that go into a bank where you can allocate the funds to the charity of your choice at any time.

I volunteer with the Human Rights Campaign, Chicago Scholars and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. If I spend two hours on a Wednesday evening helping one of my mentees from Chicago Scholars proofread her college admissions essay, and then two hours on a Saturday afternoon helping HRC organize their annual gala, I can log those four hours and donate the $60 in donation dollars to Chicago Scholars, HRC, a different organization, or split it between a few. I can also save them to build up a bigger balance for a larger donation to one organization. This is seriously my favorite work perk ever and I hit the maximum time-match benefit every year.

If that wasn’t enough, we also empower our employees to volunteer together, building community within the organization. Each September, we organize the Expedia Group annual Day of Caring, a day when all Expedia Group employees are given a day off of work to go out into the community, as a group, and volunteer. I’m a member of the Chicago chapter of the Expedia Volunteers affinity group and for Day of Caring 2018 in Chicago, we organized opportunities everywhere from the Greater Chicago Food Depository to animal shelters to beach cleanups to preparing for a bike race to fight AIDS.

Throughout the year, we organize other activities too, in and out of our office. This year for National Volunteer Week, we planned different activities each day for the whole week. Last October, we hosted a volunteer fair where we invited nonprofit organizations to come into our office and tell our employees more about who they are and how to get involved.

And I’m not done yet! Expedia Group also has this really special Global Ambassadors Program, a yearly organized trip where a few lucky employees are sent somewhere in the world and work to understand how we can support tourism and sustainable living in that area. It’s adventure and culture and philanthropy all tied into one, and I am dying to get invited. The ambassadors are selected at random from the pool of individuals who participate in any of our various charitable giving opportunities. Since I hope to stay with EG forever, I hope I’ll get picked someday.

I’m so thankful that I found an organization that allows me to work in, let me just say, the coolest office space ever, with some of the smartest people around, all while allowing me to feel good about our collective efforts giving back to our world.

Learn more about how Expedia Cares: https://www.expediacares.com/

Expedia Group’s Month of Giving: Changing people’s lives

Wan Nur Farihin Wan Rosli | Lodging Partner Associate II in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia

“Non nobis solum nati sumus.
(Not for ourselves alone are we born.)”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

Nongovernmental organization called Positive Living Community (PLC).I have always believed that by simply helping others it can boost up your mood. I have also always believed that we are living – not just for ourselves but for others.

At Expedia Group, I have found the best platform to do exactly that. I have been on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee for almost a year now and there is not a single day that I find mundane. From trying to promote conserving energy at the office to encouraging recycling, or even switching the snacks at the pantry from individual packaging to where we keep snacks in jars.

Last month, Expedia Group held the annual Month of Giving and Day of Caring. I would love to share how the CSR committee offered an opportunity for Expedians to spend their Sunday with elderly men living with HIV. They are being cared for by an amazing nongovernmental organization called Positive Living Community (PLC).

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Volunteering at a nongovernmental organization called Positive Living Community (PLC).It was inspiring to see a group of people who voluntarily run this place and care for this group of people who have been rejected by their families or have become displaced due to their illness. The thing that touched my heart the most was to see how all these men work together to maintain their houses by cleaning, cooking, looking after their backyard tea garden, and taking care of a small lake where they rear ducks and goats. We were informed that they sell the tea leaves in an effort to self-sustain their organization while the ducks and goats are there to cater food for themselves.

Volunteers smile for group photo with residentsAs an organization that has almost MYR 20, 000 monthly operational cost, PLC has been surviving only on voluntary donations and a small portion of profit from the health tea plant (Orthosiphon aristatus). I sensed a lot of love and sincerity from the residents, volunteers, and managers. Our group of 30 people from the Kuala Lumpur office came by a chartered bus and helped them by clearing out their tea garden for the day. We also went to visit a few of the houses where disabled residents were staying at and listened to their life stories. At the end of the day, the visit ended with a closing speech by the organization’s manager, Sabina Arokia. Sabina mentioned how we have helped a lot in clearing out their garden and how happy the residents were to have visitors who listened to their stories and interacted with them.

Volunteers pose for photo with sombrero hatsExpedia Group supports charity and volunteer work to help vulnerable groups, social movements, and/or environmental causes by matching our donations and volunteer hours. In one day, we were able to make a substantial difference, both in our volunteer hours and the money that Expedia Group donated to the organization. I am excited to see what our future plans in the CSR committee are to help this organization more!

sombrero hatAlthough a day seemed too short to be visiting this place, we returned to the office late that evening feeling satisfied and excited to do more with our lives. We hope that with our meager effort in helping and visiting them, we made a change in their lives.

In the end, it felt amazing to bring smiles to people’s face.

Celebrating Education in Tech: DojoCon 2018

Every year the CoderDojo community gathers for their global conference, DojoCon, and this year the event will take place in Kilkenny, Ireland. The CoderDojo foundation reviews bids submitted by clubs around the world and selects one of the clubs to host the conference. On behalf of her local club in Kilkenny, Expedia Group’s Margaret Ahearne put through a proposal and her submission was successful. She and the team in Kilkenny CoderDojo have spent the last 12 months planning a bumper weekend.

DojoCon 2018 is a celebration of education in tech and will have representation from over 14 different countries. On Saturday, October 20th delegates can sit and watch the main stage speakers, which will cover topics from virtual reality, game design, inclusion in tech, augmented reality, and women in STEM. Representing Expedia Group on the main stage will include Kristy Nicholas, who will be sitting on a Women in Tech panel. Nasreen AbdulJaleel and Connor Culleton will share the stage with Dr. Norah Patten, who is currently training to be Ireland’s first person in space, to discuss travel tech from global travel to outer space.

There are also 5 workshops covering design, creativity, coding, community inclusion, and robotics. Teachers and CoderDojo volunteers will leave the conference with the tools to educate and support their students.

From the get-go, it was non-negotiable to have 50% female representation of speakers and presenters, and the DojoCon team are proud to have lived up to this promise. Making technology accessible to all children was also a key, so having Nasreen and Connor representing the Expedia Group accessibility efforts was an ideal fit.

The conference will end with a hackathon on the Sunday for 7 – 17-year-olds.

Perfectly in line with what Expedia Group stands for, it was a no-brainer for us to get behind DojoCon and support the initiative as the main sponsor. Expedia Group is proud to have employees worldwide volunteering and mentoring in CoderDojo clubs.

The full DojoCon program can be viewed here.

Want to know why this Senior Software Engineer loves Expedia Group?

Urja Gandhi | Sr Software Development Engineer in Bellevue, WA

Being a Senior Software Engineer at Expedia Group, my typical workday is full of exciting stuff. It includes design discussions and white-boarding with other software engineers, architects, product managers, and engineering managers. Driving the end-to-end implementation of features in a full stack application, reviewing my peers’ code, mentoring co-workers & interns, and many times interviewing candidates for my organization is what my day is mostly filled with. Yes, if you’re an intern at Expedia Group, you get a mentor who will be dedicated to helping you throughout your project! Isn’t that awesome!? No fear of having to figure it out all by yourself!

This is one of the many things I love about my team here at Expedia Group – Whenever we encounter a problem, everyone wants to help out in finding the resolution. This culture of oneness is very refreshing to see and leads to everyone being a team player. That is one of the reasons why I have got not just one mouse at my desk, but three of them – one of which I refer to as a ‘visitor mouse’ (ha-ha) for my colleagues to use when they walk by my desk and we try out different solutions together on my machine.

What I really enjoy the most about working at Expedia Group is the endless opportunities I have received to wear different hats and get involved in various areas of technology. Here, I get to work across boundaries to lead new projects and get to build new skills. Being a lover of traveling, I can contribute to making the next generation of travel impactful in ways I never imagined before!

The best part is the tremendous support I receive from all over the Expedia Family for the volunteering initiatives I contribute to outside of work. When a co-worker found out about the University of Washington Husky Tech Industry Mentorship Program that I co-founded to mentor UW students, I was invited for a company-wide filming to celebrate and talk about my mentoring efforts. It was also great to be one amongst four Expedia Women Panelists at the ‘GenHERation discovery days’ event and empower over 50 young high school and college women to jumpstart their careers and be the next generation of amazing leaders!

I can proudly say that #LifeAtExpedia is awesome and #ExpediaCares truly!