Talent Spotlight: Donetta Adams Reflects on 4 Years at Navan

Talent Spotlight: Donetta Adams Reflects on 4 Years at Navan

Samantha Shankman

22 Nov 2022
4 minute read
Travel agent speaks with a couple.

Navan is revolutionizing the corporate travel industry—which is as important to our employees as it is to our customers. 

In an outdated market dominated by legacy players, there weren’t many exciting job opportunities in T&E before Navan. Senior Travel Experience Lead Donetta Adams knows this firsthand, having worked as a support agent with a corporate travel company before hearing about Navan. This month, she’s celebrating her four-year anniversary with the company. She’s had a first-row seat to the many changes the corporate travel space has grown through, and there’s nowhere she’d rather be.

“I love how Navan's culture creates a warm, sociable space, whether it’s your favorite ERG channel, culture committee events, day-to-day social interactions via Slack, or even a morning meeting connection,” said Donetta. “Navan's work culture is one where employees are continuously encouraged to work as a team, have each other’s best interests at hand, and provide the best outcome with every project. I believe happiness is based on gratitude, and happiness is a habit that needs to be modeled. This is present throughout the Navan culture.”

Four years is a lifetime in startup land, so Navan recognizes this milestone and its employees’ dedication and hard work with a $10,000 stipend to take the trip of a lifetime—preferably, of course, using the Navan platform to book flights, trains, and hotels. 

Employees are not required to self-fund their travel and submit for reimbursement but rather receive a one-time gross bonus in their paychecks. This increases equitable access to travel by eliminating out-of-pocket expenses and time constraints, enabling employees to take advantage of the gift. 

Donetta plans to travel with her family somewhere warm over the holidays to celebrate her four-year anniversary. 

A Career Built Around Stellar Service

Donetta had several years of experience as a support agent when her peers started to join Navan. After just one conversation with the company, she could feel the difference. There was excitement about the potential to change corporate travel and technology that would transform how she was able to work with travelers. 

Based in San Antonio, Donetta traveled to Dallas as part of the fifth training class. For context, Navan has hosted dozens of training classes in the years since then. She loved being a part of this innovative new way of approaching corporate travel.

“I loved spending time in Dallas and getting to know my teammates in person,” said Donetta. “We have a strong culture of collaboration among our distributed teams, and everyone is always willing to pitch in and help one another. But I still love traveling to Dallas to be together in person.”

One of the immediate differences she felt at Navan was the leadership team’s belief and support in her growth. While Donetta joined as a tier 2 support agent, today, as Senior Travel Experience Lead, Donetta oversees teams of agents and does assist travelers if the need arises.

She is currently in the interim manager program, where she’s learning more about a leader's role. This fantastic learning opportunity directly resulted from her manager’s encouragement and belief in her capability. 

Jessica Johnson believed in me and supported my career growth. It meant so much to me,” said Donetta, who has turned around and supported and encouraged her team members to embody the same confidence and growth mindset that Jessica passed on to her. 

This collaborative culture is part of the company’s core values, in which all team members work together for their individual success and the organization’s greatest good.

Where Technology and Talent Meet

Donetta has had one of the most interesting vantage points of the travel industry over the past three years, from record-breaking business travel numbers in 2019 to the quiet lull in 2020 and now back again to robust traveler numbers in 2022. 

“It’s been a wild ride,” said Donetta.

One thing that’s remained constant is her team’s ability to use technology to do what’s never been possible for agents in their position. Navan agents have access to technology that no other support team on the planet does: TravelXen.The proprietary end-to-end software gives agents direct access to traveler information and partner networks, enabling them to provide a world-class support experience. Navan guarantees that each agent's skills are enhanced by technology.

Donetta is continually impressed with how technology evolves to help her teams streamline their workload and become more efficient. 

While four years might seem like a long time at a startup or within the corporate travel space, given world affairs, Donetta plans on staying at Navan indefinitely.

“I feel like I was given the freedom to have more of an independent advantage when I joined Navan,” she said. “It’s been a great experience.”

Learn more about Navan's culture and check out our open positions.

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