aGROWda 2024: Celebrating learning and growth at Agoda

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aGROWda is back! At Agoda, continuous learning and development aren’t just buzzwords — they’re core to our culture. From career-enhancing opportunities to diverse learning platforms, we believe in taking charge of our growth, both in and out of work. 

This commitment shone through in aGROWda 2024, the latest installment of our annual learning event. Designed to unite Agodans across the globe, aGROWda provides a platform for sharing knowledge, learning new skills, and embracing a growth mindset.

The vision behind aGROWda 2024

The vision behind aGROWda 2024Karin Biran (left) and Jasmine Bakshi (right) from the organizing team

Things move fast at Agoda – it’s one of our values, after all! But having a “Go, go, go!” mindset can lead us to continually prioritize work over learning, compromising our growth in the long term. With aGROWda, we’ve carved out a space for everyone to pause, reflect on what’s missing, and get inspired to evolve. “It’s a yearly reminder to invest in yourself, and it’s in everyone’s calendars, all the way up to the C-suite, shares Karin Biran (Senior Consultant, Talent Business Partners), who is part of the Learning team involved in planning the event.

This year’s aGROWda was a four-day exploration through the theme of embracing change, featuring panels led by our senior leaders, departmental deep dives, and a special guest speaker. Organizing aGROWda has also been a journey for the Learning team, who continue to improve the event year after year. They emphasize the speakers’ personal stories because they’ve seen that people learn best from others’ experiences, especially their mistakes. The team also decided to reduce the number of sessions in 2024 and focus on those that previously brought the greatest value. 

Day 1: Becoming a Better Version of Yourself

As a company, we share a purpose of bridging the world through travel. As a diverse team, that often means bridging different cultures to achieve great results together. Day 1 was about upgrading ourselves, cultivating greater empathy, and becoming better collaborators in the process.

We kicked off with a panel discussion moderated by Swasti Pal (Principal Product Owner), featuring Jeffrey Lee (SVP, Customer Experience Group), Anna Suchopar (General Counsel), and Damien Pfirsch (Chief Commercial Officer). 

“If you keep doing the same thing because it worked ten years ago, it will probably keep working. But you’ll miss out on a lot of the positive impact you could have made. – Damien

The session focused on self-improvement and becoming better versions of ourselves. The panelists shared stories of the turning points that motivated them to pursue personal growth and how they made it happen, whether through parenthood, career changes, or cross-continent moves. This discussion set the tone for aGROWda, emphasizing the importance of striving to be better day by day.

Day 2: Exploring New Pathways to Evolve

After deciding to evolve, it’s time to figure out the path to positive change. That’s where Day 2’s theme came in, answering questions like “What steps should I take next? Who do I learn from? How do I evolve while staying authentic to myself?”

Our leaders, Idan Zalzberg (CTO), Mai-Linh Bui (CFO), Matteo Frigerio (CMO), Ittai Chorev (Chief Product Officer), and Andrew Smith (SVP, Supply), took the stage along with moderator Corinna Comerci (Director, Global Accounts Operations). The discussion revolved around finding new avenues for growth and development, highlighting strategies to adapt and excel.

“When you make a change, think of your support system. Turn to people who can help advise whether you’re making the right choice. That can accelerate the process and the positive outcome. – Mai-Linh

From reading biographies to finding great mentors and even building the ritual of daily running, our panelists shared approaches that have worked for them – and some that have not!

Day 3: Building Habits

aGROWda Day 3

For Day 3, each department hosted workshops to delve deeper into the themes introduced in the earlier panels and how they apply to our work. What’s more difficult than making a change? Making a change that lasts. Using the book “Atomic Habits as a framework, different Agoda leaders shared their perspectives on building habits with a lasting positive impact.

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. – James Clear

These interactive sessions encouraged everyone to share their experiences and learn from each other. It was a day of building practical habits that can be implemented in daily work, fostering a culture of continuous improvement within Agoda.

Day 4: Think Different!

aGROWda Day 4

Real growth requires us to remain open to possibility. That’s why we closed out this year’s aGROWda with guest speaker Duncan Wardle, former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney. Duncan emphasized the importance of saying “Yes… and? to ideas, creating safe spaces for brainstorming, and harnessing the power of curiosity. His talk was a powerful reminder that we’re only getting in the way of our growth by holding on to limiting beliefs.

Wrapping up aGROWda 2024

Wrapping up

aGROWda 2024 wasn’t just about hearing from leaders—it was an invitation to all Agodans to actively participate, engage, and take ownership of our growth. As we wrap up this year’s event, we look forward to seeing the impact of these sessions on our daily work and future innovations. Until next year, we’ll keep learning, growing, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible!

Are you interested in joining a dynamic, growth-focused team? We’re hiring!

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