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Career Check-In with Elin Mendola

Elin Mendola | Senior Market Manager in Sweden

Elin Mendola posing with a group of people outside in the sunWhat does your typical workday look like?

I’m an early starter so I’m usually the first one in the office. Knowing that coffee is a big part in the office, I always load the coffee machine so that it’s ready when the team starts their day. From there, all my days are different – but the one thing they all have in common is that I spend a lot of time with my team, coaching and supporting them.  I also spend time going through and analyzing numbers and results making sure we are pacing at the right speed compared to our goals.

What have you enjoyed most about working at Expedia Group?

I believe that the core values and culture within the company is very grounded and this is what makes the company so great. The constant change and the opportunity to grow and develop has been very important to me. I like that I have the opportunity to put myself into new situations and keep developing. I love working with people and to see them grow in their role and grow into new roles.

What makes your team unique?

Within my team, there is such a great commitment and cooperativeness from everyone. The team travels a lot but we stay in contact during the weeks and check in with each other often. We cheer each other on when it’s going really well and support each other on the tougher days. I see the support and the great communication my team members have with each other when reaching out for help or support. We also have a great time together both at work and outside of work.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Being that I am more of an introvert, I was a little bit stuck with this question… so I asked my husband. He said, “Raising two kids (one actual kid and one adult kid) while working full time”. Not the first thing that came to my mind, but we had a good laugh about it.

One of my greatest accomplishments came from when I was working at a hotel in Stockholm as a Sales and Marketing Manager. I accepted this role with some hesitation, not being convinced I would be able to do a great job. Imposter Syndrome definitely crept into my thoughts. Well, I decided to make it a mission to not only prove to myself that I could do this job but also do it excellently. When targets where given, I set up goals and steps for myself on how I was going to reach those targets.

After implementing short-term and long-term goals, I found myself consistently meeting or exceeding monthly and annual sales targets. I achieved sales growth in excess of market growth by at least four percentage points each year and I increased the number of room nights on corporate agreements by 12% during my first year with the hotel.

Who has influenced you the most?

I would say my husband who decided to not move on to be a partner at a big company but instead started as CFO for an e-commerce start-up company. Looking back on my career and the choices I have made for the last eight years, he has been very encouraging and supportive in my decisions. For many years, I was of the belief that you need to be 100% ready for a role and be able to know how to do that role. I remember when I applied for one specific job as a Sales and Marketing Manager that I doubted myself throughout the interview process. Even when I was offered the job, I wasn’t sure I was going to live up to the expectations of the company. But my husband believed in me and reminded me that I had the qualifications to learn and master this job. I took it, and as it turns out, I was really good at it! He has always pushed me a little bit outside my comfort zone and made me more comfortable with taking on new challenges.

How and where do you find inspiration?

This question really got me thinking. For me, finding inspiration is a continuous path. I don’t tend to search or look for inspiration, it’s just a part of my daily life. I find inspiration from different people, my family, podcasts, books, yoga, and meditation. This summer I read a lot of books and listened to podcasts. I think what is important when finding inspiration is having an open mind.

How did you learn to embrace failure?

I think we are wired to view a failure as something negative. Embracing failure does not come easy and I think it’s something you learn over the years. I grew up spending a lot of time in the stable with my horse and was very competitive from a young age, so I competed in show jumping. Being competitive, I went in with the mindset that I was going to win or at least do a flawless round. Did I win all the time and did I do it flawlessly? Of course not. I failed so many times both on training and in the competitions. I had a little bit of a temper as well and was not happy with my results all the time. I remember talking to my trainer and she said to me that failure is a stepping stone to success. If you learn to embrace the mistakes you make on the track and look at how you can be better, you will be successful. It took me a while to accept failure as something positive and to turn it around to something useful in my development.

This summer I listened to a podcast called Master of Scales where Reid Hoffman (Co-founder of LinkedIn) interviewed Barry Diller. In this interview, he said,

“If a person is not learning on the job, that means he simply can’t do his job”.

Failure is a part of learning and I believe that good things come from failure if you just acknowledge it and grow from it. I believe that failure teaches you things that nothing else can teach you.

What is your favorite piece of career advice?

If you don’t love what you are doing, leave it. We spend too much time at work and we do our best when we love what we are doing. Life is too short. Another advice is that sometimes we get blinded and caught up with needing or deserving a promotion/new title. I would say that they only way up on the career ladder might not be a step up, it might be a lateral move or even backward.

Tell us about your favorite vacation?

I’ve had a lot of great vacations over the years. The one that is really memorable is the one I made with my husband and friends to San Francisco and Sonoma Valley in California during the summer of 2011. We started in San Francisco for a couple of days doing some of the stuff you need to do as a first-time visitor (Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park). Then we headed up to Sonoma Valley. We stayed at different vineyards during the first week in Sonoma and enjoyed great wine and food. One place that we really loved was Healdsburg. It became so memorable that we decided to get married there 2 years later.

What is your favorite weekend getaway?

Spending time with my family. Going to the countryside outside Stockholm to a place that has activities for kids, great food, and a spa. There are a lot of great options just a short drive from Stockholm.

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