Ciera deCourcy, Client Trainer with Egencia, and Emily Vignaux, Software Development Manager with Expedia, have joined forces to lead the employee resource group, Women at Expedia Learning and Leading — otherwise known as WELL. At a time when Expedia Group is expanding the presence of ERGs globally, deCourcy and Vignaux hope to continue the momentum gained locally to expand WELL’s presence within the office and community.
deCourcy has been with Expedia for the last two and a half years and Vignaux has been with the company for the last decade. While their time with the company has been expansive, their involvement with WELL didn’t start until more recently.
“I knew a little bit about WELL since the merger with Expedia, but I didn’t have the bandwidth to get involved or even attend all of the meetings,” said Vignaux. “Jasmine did a fantastic job as the lead of WELL last year on her own and definitely didn’t need my help, but I started to get more involved in the bake sale and some of the other WELL events. I felt that she needed some support so I wanted to step in as much as I could.”
On the other hand, deCourcy has served as an active lead for the Expedia Volunteers group and co-lead for the local Day of Caring activities in 2019. After gaining some experience leading volunteer groups, she started getting more involved with WELL after attending a networking event in the space.
“I attended a SheChicago networking event last year, and I really didn’t know too much about WELL. To be honest, I wasn’t super involved. However, I got to meet a few members of WELL and they all said, ‘You should really get more involved’,” deCourcy recalled.
deCourcy and Vignaux bring a great balance of experience and leadership with them as they join forces to lead WELL in 2020. Their collective goal for the year is to get the WELL brand out there and let the employees of Chicago know they’re not just a group that puts on fun events — they’re also here to be a resource for all employees as you build your life and career.
“I want to make sure that we’re building that support in the Chicago office, and thinking about how we start to spread that seed of an idea,” Vignaux stresses. “Women and minorities in tech need more people to listen, so how do we get people to understand that it takes action to make things equitable and we need everyone to be involved.”
WELL is focused on the present day — always asking themselves, “How are we improving the lives of people in the office right now?” deCourcy asserted, “Whether you’ve been with the company for years or you’re brand new, it’s nice to know that there are people here to be there for you. We want to be a friendly face in the office so you feel comfortable talking to us.”
ERGs like WELL are a pivotal factor in the decision making process for many candidates as they apply for jobs within the Expedia Group network. Creating more exposure and excitement around these groups really helps entice people to work at Expedia Group.
“It really helps build the culture. It has also helped influence people’s choices to come work here. We had someone come to the SheChicago networking event last year who hadn’t heard about Expedia before, we had this great event, and she decided to apply,” said Vignaux. “Having the ERGs is really a way to bring the focus of what’s important to us to the external world, and then we can attract the right talent and keep building our community here in Chicago.”
Participating in ERGs is also a rewarding and free opportunity for personal and professional growth within the company. deCourcy asserted that her experience working with employee groups, like Expedia Volunteers and WELL, has helped her develop the people management and organizational skills necessary for the next step in her career. It has also been an invaluable networking experience as she has expanded her internal network through the various events put on throughout the year.
With all of this in mind, WELL is looking forward to bringing thoughtful content to the women of Expedia over the next year. They’re laser focused on pulling in more organizations than ever before in order to expand the reach beyond the walls of the 500 W Madison office. Whether that is hosting women-focused groups, donating to organizations that empower women locally, or curating a panel of female leaders in Tech, WELL has the knowledge, connections, and support from their organization to achieve their goals.
Vignaux said, “We’re looking for engagement with the Chicago community on women in tech specifically — we have a really great relationship with Code Nation and GirlCon.”
As they spearhead what co-leadership looks like for WELL, deCourcy and Vignaux will be pulling from their separate organizations to expand the foundation of WELL in the Chicago office. With a handful of active members, WELL is looking for more people to get involved this year than ever before in order to broaden their impact.
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