Life at Expedia Group Blog
Camilo Pires: Being the first wheelchair user in the Expedia Group London office
Nice to meet you, Camilo! We’re thrilled to have you on board. For our readers, please could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey?
I’m a new graduate here at Expedia Group, having graduated from the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK studying software engineering.
Throughout my degree, I discovered that whilst I enjoyed programming, I more enjoyed talking to different stakeholders and being involved in a product in all stages, which is how I fell into the Product Management field.
I’ve been a wheelchair user since birth and always have disability and accessibility at the forefront of all that I do.
What about the Expedia Group Graduate Program (EGGP) appealed to you?
I loved that there were two rotations where you get to experience different parts of the business to see what works for you. The Launchpad at the start of the program was amazing as it gave me a real insight to the business and my role, and of course meeting my fellow graduate cohort! It also gave me the starting point of understanding myself professionally.
I have never done Product Management before professionally and this is my first job in full-time employment since leaving university. Having no background, the EGGP was perfect in that it gives me all the skills I need to succeed in my Product Management career, with support every step of the way.
How is the Expedia Group Graduate Program (EGGP) so far?
I am currently working in eIT (internal IT for Expedia Group employees) in the DP&I organisation (Development Platform and Infrastructure) where I am looking at task management tools. I am really enjoying having an impact on the way that employees are able to do their work and do the best for our travellers.
One aspect of the EGGP I’ve found invaluable is the chance to experience all aspects of product management. This means that I am able to identify on the areas I am better and need improving on – providing me with the knowledge to hone my craft. Furthermore, the ability to rotate amongst teams is exciting as I get to experience how Product Management elements are similar/different when working in teams that are in a different part of the organisation and have other stakeholders.
Can you please tell us about your involvement with the Ability Inclusion Movement (AIM), Expedia Group’s inclusion business group (IBG) for people with disabilities?
I have been an AIM member since my first week at Expedia Group. I participated in a panel on behalf of AIM with members of other IBGs. This was an Expedia-wide event and gave employees the chance to discuss World Mental Health Day. This was a great experience, and it was a privilege to be able to participate in this having just joined Expedia Group.
I’m active in London for AIM and help organise and raise awareness of disability – both how it affects employees at Expedia Group and the wider society. I have hosted a panel discussion for the European Week of Disability Employment (which was a collaboration effort between the European chapters) with two external speakers. This was an amazing experience as I got to be part of a discussion on a topic I am so passionate about!
From when I applied, I wanted to be an advocate for disability within Expedia Group – like so many other great Expedia Group employees already are – and AIM gives me the chance to do exactly that!
What advice do you have for people with disabilities starting out in their careers?
Don’t be afraid to use your disability to highlight the impact you feel that you can make and the different perspective you are able to bring to the table!
I always believe that lived experience is one of the most valuable aspects of having a disability – everyone has a different perspective and that’s what makes the disabled community so important!
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for any adaptions or adjustments that you need to make your working environment perfect for you to do your best work!
What are your thoughts on the current state of inclusive travel?
Travel is one of the most inaccessible industries to people with disabilities and even though I want to love travel, I can’t at the moment. Being at Expedia Group, I see the chance to change that and truly power global travel for everyone, everywhere. The global reach of Expedia Group appealed to me. There is so much that can be done in terms of both making the experience more accessible for people on the web, as well as talking with partners to help improve travel for all – I hope to be able to support and champion these great efforts that that the team is already doing during my time at Expedia Group.
Any final words?
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have met Peter Kern, our CEO, as well as other senior leaders (Rathi Murthy (CTO), Ariane Gorin (President, Business Services), Jon Gieselman (President, Expedia Brands) and Michael Davis Velasco (Chief People, Inclusion & Diversity Officer) to discuss accessibility and my time so far at Expedia Group. They were very approachable and meeting them was honestly a pretty cool experience for a new grad!
I also wanted to add a final note to thank everyone at Expedia Group who has helped me settle in so far! From the Early Careers team who helped me right from when I got my offer, to the London facilities team who have been there for every minute of my office journey – thank you for all that you have done to make me have an equitable, enjoyable, and inclusive experience!
We are hiring! Check out our Expedia Group roles here.