It’s About the Journey: Starting as an Intern with Software Developer, Alana Godinez-Evey
Across different years, locations, divisions, and teams, a whole host of our employees have experienced starting their careers on one of our Intern, Apprentice, and Graduate Programs (part of Emerging Talent & Careers at EG). We’ve explored some of these amazing and interesting career journeys to find out what the Expedians have experienced since the joining the programs, and what they’ve learned along the way.
Alana navigated her career at EG through the Emerging Talent & Careers programs into a full-time, permanent, position back with the original team she started with as an Intern in 2018.
Tell us about your current role & team
I work in the Media Solutions Publisher team and focus on improving our testing, and our documentation for this testing, so that if we come across issues further down the line it’s a lot easier to diagnose them, earlier rather than later. My role is also about informing other teams that we can partner with them for this type of testing, and generally speak with other teams a lot to help with our testing.
What has your career journey been like since joining as an Intern in 2018?
Overall, I’ve interned at Expedia Group three times on two different teams, starting from June 2018 – I even wrote a blog back then, too! I joined the Graduate Program in 2021 as part of its first cohort. Since then, I’ve experienced being a part of two different teams, including the Media Solution Publisher team and the Blossom Home page team.
As I’ve been at Expedia Group across five years, now, I have built some good historical knowledge which I didn’t realize I had until I became a mentor to a new Graduate, and they had questions for me. I think it helps me with mentorship and encouraging them to ask different types of questions, also. Last summer I was the mentor to two Interns and that for me was super exciting to see the path come full circle. She started as an Intern, asking lots of great questions, and has now grown hugely in confidence and developed her own successful career.
What were the benefits of joining both the Intern, and the Graduate, Programs?
You have a community of people that are your own experience level. It was nice to be able to have different experiences and have friends in different fields. But not only this, I think it’s also a great as a learning environment, with a support network. With that in mind, I think it’s also about adjustment: you have to adjust, and to me, the goal of being an Intern and a Graduate is to learn.
What advice would you share with an intern/graduate starting at EG?
- Learn from everyone
- Own your own career
- Ask for negative feedback
- Ask questions – find a way to ask questions and make progress
- Processes- make checklists
You can learn from anybody. It doesn’t matter how long they have been with the company or where they are in their career, they are going to have a different mindset so it is important to pay attention and to learn from others. As an Intern, or as a Graduate, you have a unique opportunity. Seek knowledge and seek help. For several years I felt imposter syndrome where I thought “I know nothing” but I learned to shift my mindset, and to own my own career. I am still working on this, truthfully.
Starting out, I thought work was only about making your manager happy, and being a team player, (working well in a team, and with your manager, is still a big part of it) but you also need to advance your career, too. So have career development conversations with your manager even if they seem like they would be super uncomfortable. Request negative feedback. If you are only getting positive feedback you are not going to improve and you are going to stall, so demand the negative, or constructive, feedback that doesn’t feel great to hear but will help overall. Some of the best feedback I got was to ask questions sooner, which is why I’ve incorporated it into my advice for others. Get feedback, lean on people, and its okay not to know things and to not be perfect.
I also learned that having a process for things is very helpful. When I am given a new task I have a process for how I go through to develop and make checklists to stay productive. Make sure you have a way to adequately ask questions and make progress to move forward in your work.
How have you learned to embrace failure?
Failure is welcome. I like to fail, not because its fun but I find at EG failure is okay and is not seen as a negative. You always learn a lot more from things that wrong than things that went well because you have to figure out why things went wrong and in doing that process you end up learning more about the space and the environment that you’re in. Failure doesn’t mean you don’t belong here or that you aren’t good enough. I feel really supported when I encounter failure. I’ve never been made to feel bad because something didn’t work, it’s always a great learning opportunity.
What do you enjoy the most about working at EG?
The people, its always been the people. There’s an openness where you’re not in your own bubble and we’re all here together. I remember my first internship here I had the routine of getting coffee every morning. It seems simple, but I was standing there getting coffee, and someone else was going through the same process: starting their day, making their coffee. They said “Hi”, we talked, had general conversation, and every day after that every time we would pass each other in the hall or anything we would say hi to each other. And I still experience that too while I’m making coffee and one kind gesture will turn into a 20 minute conversation. And I think that’s really special because I’ve worked other places where you don’t get that even after working there for a long time.
What do you think makes EG a unique place to work?
At Expedia Group, it’s about the team. It’s about the betterment of everything, for everyone. You get competition but healthy competition it is less on an individual basis and more of a team. It makes it easier to ask questions and grow and get to know the people around you when you are not competing with them for opportunities. The people culture aspect of “lets do this together and make it great because we did it together” is probably what makes it exceptional.
My team plays Mario Kart during lunch, we have potlucks, we celebrate people’s accomplishments and achievements. During our daily meetings we make jokes, and ask about our personal lives. It’s really light-hearted and it makes it easier to be yourself at work, and because you are being you it is easier to do better at your work.
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