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Global moves fuel career growth at Navan

Navan team members grow through global moves

Samantha Shankman

19 Jun 2024
8 minute read
Navan team members grow through global moves

At Navan, we believe that growth doesn’t just happen at the desk; it thrives in new environments, cultures, and experiences — especially at a company as global as ours. 

Here are three Navan employees who embraced the opportunity to move cities, and even countries, to further their careers and enrich their personal lives. 

Whether it’s New York, London, Dublin, Paris, or beyond, our team members have ventured far and wide to bring their passion and dedication to new offices and challenges. Their journeys illustrate how Navan’s supportive culture and global presence can transform careers and lives. 

With dozens of offices across four continents, from Austin to San Francisco to Tel Aviv, dozens of other employees have exhibited adaptability, ambition, and the courage to step beyond their comfort zones and embrace a future full of potential.

Alicia De La Vega, Senior Commercial Account Executive, was living in Marseilles when she found an opportunity to join Navan as an SDR in Dublin.

Alicia De La Vega, Senior Commercial Account Executive, was living in Marseille when she found an opportunity to join Navan as an SDR in Dublin. She was passionate about travel and interested in innovative technologies, so the product felt like a natural fit. She’s since earned four promotions in two years.

“At first, I was curious to learn more, and the more I learned, the more I wanted the role,” said Alicia. It required a big move from Marseille to Dublin, but I was motivated to take advantage of this opportunity. I moved to Dublin for the product and the people. It was an exciting project and adventure.”

Alicia was also attracted by the possibility of working in different Navan offices over time, given the company’s multiple offices across the globe. 

“It was great to be based in the Dublin office, because team members from every team were there: salespeople, account managers, marketers. I could listen in on conversations or join training sessions and learn by being present in the office,” said Alicia. 

As the team grew in Paris, Alicia — Navan’s first hire from France — decided to move to that office. However, the relationships she created in Dublin continue to help her, and she’s now worked directly with colleagues in London, Amsterdam, and Dublin.

“My VP encouraged my move back to France, given my perspective on the market and the opportunities to continue growing in my role and career,” she said. “I saw a door open, and it was an important opportunity to take.” 

Alicia was promoted a few months after returning to France, where she could share her experience with new SDRs and meet more often with French customers. She profoundly believes in the power of in-person collaboration, especially at a fast-growing startup. “I think we miss out on a lot when working remotely,” said Alicia. “The time in the office is important for collaboration across the sales team and other departments.” 

Alicia believes that moving countries opens your mind and can be a catalyst for personal growth. 

“The moves from Marseille to Dublin to Paris opened my mind and helped me professionally and personally,” she said. “You learn adaptability when moving from one place to another.”

"I came to London and loved it," said Gabrielle Corona, Chief of Staff, EMEA Product & Strategy.

Gabrielle Corona, Chief of Staff, EMEA Product & Strategy, joined Navan in August 2019 as a mid-market account executive in the New York office. She had always worked in sales, so her first role at the company felt like a natural transition. 

“It was my favourite product that I had ever sold, and it was the best team that I had ever been a part of at any company,” said Gabrielle, reflecting on the beginning of her journey at Navan. “It was an exciting time, with every team growing quickly and an energetic culture in the New York office. It was an amazing chapter for me.”

But Gabrielle knew she didn’t want to work in sales forever. She wanted her career to evolve at Navan, so she looked at what excited her and where she thrived, and ultimately decided that enablement was the right path. 

“I loved the product, and I wanted to help enable people to sell the product well. It’s a nuanced industry, and there’s a lot to learn because we’ve built a unique solution.”

To take this step forward, Gabrielle moved to Navan’s headquarters in Palo Alto, where she reported directly to now-CRO Grant McGrail. She learned a lot quickly and had the unique advantage of looking at the business from multiple perspectives. 

“There was a lot of room for growth, bringing new ideas to the table, and building, which I thought was an exciting opportunity to have at this stage in my career,” said Gabrielle. 

Then, a new opportunity arose for Gabrielle: to step in as Chief of Staff for the CRO.

“It was a dynamic role, and every day was different,” she said. “I began to understand how teams are built, how to allocate headcount and understand productivity, and all the inner workings of the GTM teams. It was a completely different muscle, but I loved and thrived in the new environment.” She began taking on special projects with more autonomy when Grant McGrail stepped into the CRO role.

She dove deep into whatever high-priority project surfaced, connecting the dots between certain business areas. Last year, she had the opportunity to take on a three-month project in London, working alongside Michael Riegel, CEO of Navan in EMEA, and the enterprise sales team.

“I came to London and loved it,” said Gabrielle. “I spent part of my university time here and have always wanted to return. I jumped at the opportunity to step into a product strategy role in Europe,” said Gabrielle, who moved to London in April 2023 and still calls the city home today.

Gabrielle’s first task was to focus on the product, which she had immense knowledge of, and then look at the region to continue refining Navan for the European market. Her work led to a new role: managing the Navan travel product team in Europe. 

“It’s been a unique journey, and my roles have evolved significantly. Sometimes in life, you just have to jump and know that you’ll figure it out,” said Gabrielle, who found a work-life balance in London that she genuinely enjoys.

“I love the London office and working in the region. I see myself staying at Navan in Europe for a long time,” she said.

When Amanda Thompson joined Navan in August 2022 as Senior Manager of Enterprise Sales Development, she wasn’t expecting the opportunity of a lifetime to land in her lap.

When Amanda Thompson joined Navan in August 2022 as Senior Manager of Enterprise Sales Development, she wasn’t expecting the opportunity of a lifetime to land in her lap. 

Amanda lived in New Jersey and worked in the New York office, but she always thought it would be great to work in the London office one day. 

“I always promised myself that if London ever came up, if there were ever an opportunity to get there, I would do everything I could to take advantage of it,” said Amanda. “And then it came out of nowhere.” 

She was in the middle of a regular workday when a company leader explained that the team needed someone with experience to help grow the London office. They invited anyone interested to raise their hand. 

“A dozen of my colleagues Slacked me and encouraged me to go for it, and I told myself the same thing. I immediately messaged my boss,” said Amanda.

After multiple interviews, Amanda was offered the position of her dreams.

Relocation company Relocity helped Amanda get set up with a flat in central London and navigate the intricacies of moving to a new country, like setting up a bank account and phone number. 

“My contact at the relocation company was one of the first people I met when I landed in London, and it was so nice to see a friendly face, as she had been getting to know me over the past few months,” said Amanda. “She even showed me the app to download to figure out the Tube system.” 

The move was a dream come true for Amanda, who felt herself stretch and grow in her personal life as much as her professional life. 

“It’s cheesy to say, but it’s been a whirlwind. The London office was actively growing with new SDRs joining regularly, and I had the opportunity to teach them about Navan’s approach and how we get things done,” said Amanda. “It’s been a two-way street of what we can all teach one another as we established the mid-market and enterprise teams and got them to the point of flourishing.” The experience has exceeded her expectations. 

“I managed the enterprise team in New York, which was already a well-established one by the time I joined. I wasn’t creating anything new. In London, I’ve worked with the mid-market and enterprise teams, which function differently here. The workflow is different, and I’ve learned a lot and grown as a professional in the London office,” said Amanda.

“I’m learning to manage in a different culture, so I’ve found new ways of communicating with my stakeholders to build deeper relationships and accomplish goals. It’s honestly been fun and interesting to figure out.”

The culture of the Navan team across all offices also contributed to a positive transition and experience.

“We do a great job of hiring people. Everyone was so welcoming when I arrived in London, giving recommendations and inviting me to the pub after work. There was immediate transparency among the team, so it felt like I could come in and make an impact. They asked for my input rather than keeping me at arm’s length until I proved myself, which could happen at another company,” she said.

While leaving her family for the first time was hard, it’s been 100 percent worth it for the learning experience and the chance to broaden her horizons.

“I’m excited to travel and see more of the world,” said Amanda. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to move for work. There’s no better way to learn something new than to move outside your comfort zone and find a way to make it work. When I look back on my life, I guarantee that coming here to experience this with this team will be one of the highlights.” 

Explore open roles and start your own journey with Navan today.

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