Navan is committed to uplifting women throughout our organization, embracing equity through company values and involvement with nonprofit and community impact causes. As March is Women’s History Month in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, we’re profiling innovative women throughout the organization.
Today, we spotlight EVP & GM of Navan Travel, Nina Herold, who manages Navan’s business and personal travel verticals, leading product, design, user research, and operations teams. As a woman among the executive team at a hyper-growth startup in the male-dominated tech industry, Nina is now opening the door for others to do the same.
Nina joined Navan five years ago, and her vision, execution, and drive quickly made her an integral member of the leadership team. She moved from a business operations leadership role to Chief Product and Operations Officer before stepping into her current role. In those five years, a lot has happened, and Nina played an instrumental role in Navan’s success. She has a special knack for tuning into customers’ needs throughout the product experience.
For example, when the pandemic hit, Navan’s revenue dropped. However, the company still increased its revenue streams through product innovation and expansion by holding on to its customer-centric vision and making data-driven decisions during one of the worst economic downturns in history. Nina and the rest of the leadership team did this by:
Leaning on Navan’s expense offering: Navan Expense is a travel and expense management tool with accelerated market penetration. Released pre-pandemic, Navan could adapt it to keep up with the evolving travel regulations during the lockdown.
Taking advantage of remote work: Nina’s team at Navn realized the progressing need for offsite hybrid team meetings was undeniable. In response, they introduced Team Travel as an efficient solution for booking trips for entire teams.
Expanding into personal travel: Under Nina’s guidance, Navan expanded its business travel platform to include access to users for personal trips and gain market share.
Investing in its user base: Since COVID-19, Navan has acquired Reed & Mackay — to provide VIP white-glove travel services — and three additional businesses to expand Navan’s footprint globally. Through these acquisitions, Navan has appealed to different markets by providing tailored solutions for all user needs.
Nina leads with transparency. In September 2022, as bookings bounced back, Nina sent an internal email to the entire Navan organization outlining how teams across the company had prepared for this booking growth and the proactive steps each team could take to capitalize on that growth. It’s this candor and transparency that drives innovation at Navan.
Under Nina’s leadership, Navan Travel booking volume increased 3x in FY’23 compared to FY’22, and the number of unique users more than doubled YoY compared to FY’22.
This isn’t Nina’s first time on the frontlines of a hyper-growth startup.
After two years in finance, Nina joined Uber in 2014, just as it became a late-stage startup. There, she held leadership roles in product operations and logistics. She spent nearly four years scaling operations and working closely with product and engineering to launch driver-facing products and services globally. She learned the quick, nimble approach needed to refine a product.
During a recent SaaStr event, Nina spoke about what she learned from her time at Uber, “You have to be willing to react and change quickly when things don’t go as planned. Don’t prioritize expansion over solving the problems of your users. Evaluate how customers use that feature before expanding it and turning it into a product.”
Nina is a great example of a female leader whose skills are invaluable in Navan’s growth.