Three things we learned during aGROWda 2023, our global learning event

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A love of learning is at the heart of our company culture. Agoda is dedicated to continuous learning and self-improvement, recognizing that growth extends beyond professional accomplishments. While we offer skill-based training and courses throughout the year, we also go further with our annual global learning event, aGROWda, designed to foster a mindset that embraces learning and celebrating our individual journeys.

This month, Agodans spent four days at aGROWda 2023 exchanging ideas, sharing experiences, and learning new tools to foster our personal and professional growth. We had two senior leadership panel discussions, three department-led workshops and an external speaker session, diving into everything from dealing with change to finding our purpose. Here are three of the lessons we’ll be taking with us. 

Remember the bigger picture

Felicia Tatang, a Project Management Secondee, attended the Finding Your North Star panel with Omri Morgenshtern (CEO), Mai-Linh Bui (CFO), Idan Zalzberg (CTO), and Damien Pfirsch (CCO) and found her biggest takeaway was to regularly take stock of her situation and goals.

Sometimes, when work becomes too overwhelming, we tend to forget why we’re doing something in the first place,” she explained. “So, stop for a while, look back, and ask yourself: ‘Hey, will these circumstances help me achieve my goals?’ This can help us to focus on what we want to achieve and remind us of our purpose. I’ll apply this to my work by focusing on my short-term goals and gradually achieving my bigger ones, all while enjoying the ride.” To this end, Mai-Linh also said that “Losing from time to time makes winning worth it,” a reminder that short-term failures serve an important purpose in the bigger picture.

Encountering challenges and stressful situations is an unavoidable part of life, and that includes life at work. But when it comes to facing these difficulties, perspective is everything. “Don’t panic and don’t stress, if you do that, you have done 90% of the job already,” shared Omri. Lukman Prasetyo, who also attended this session, said he found it “personal, surprising, and inspiring,” and left with a lot of advice to better navigate “work-life balances, work experiences, and how to accept dynamic situations.”

Be prepared to do the work

“My best advice is to get out there and do the work. Embrace the work, raise your hand, look for how to be impactful, and look for people that you can learn from,” shared Vanessa Wittman, this year’s keynote speaker and a five-time CFO across organizations like Glossier, Oath, Dropbox and Motorola Mobility, as well as a member of Booking Holdings’ board of directors. She explained that this mindset of diligence and curiosity has buoyed her throughout her career and allowed her to continue growing along with the opportunities she took on. “I was a consummate preparer growing up, and I still am. Take the approach that you’re going to be prepared, you’re going to do the work, and you’re going to keep your eyes open and looking for how to be helpful and impactful.”

Be a navigator of change

In times of change, people can respond in many different ways. They may become a victim: someone who panics and feels helpless or a critic who searches for reasons it won’t succeed. They might turn into a bystander who only waits for others to lead the way or the opposite: a charger who heavily embraces change without listening to feedback, often pushing others too aggressively to do the same. Ideally, they’ll become a navigator who sees change as a positive opportunity and approaches it with an open and curious mind. This is a contagious quality: when you have a navigator on your team, their positivity rubs off on everyone, making the team feel more positive and ready to adapt.

Matthew Greenburg, who led one of the departmental sessions on Dealing with Change, emphasized how navigators are likely to go far professionally: “Being a navigator is a leadership characteristic. That’s what we look for in future leaders or senior members of the organization. As someone leading a pretty large team, I want more navigators because change is super consistent, especially at Agoda, where we go through a ton of change. Having more navigators helps the team to move forward.”

Feeling inspired to start your own journey of growth and learning at Agoda? Good news: we’re hiring!

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