Rochelle Richardson, VP of Data Transformation at TripAdvisor, is passionate about problem-solving and continuous learning. It is these interests that have led her career to where it is today. Starting her career at Xerox, Rochelle worked her way into process improvement roles, where she focused on utilizing data analytics to support engineering teams, introduce new products and ensure quality outcomes.
Rochelle’s skills – supporting organizations which have engineers creating quality products to effectively deploy those products while listening to the end customer – have transformed the outcomes for several companies, and she is now employing her expertise at TripAdvisor.
“I really wanted to work for an organization that was technology-based and provided a really cool mission out to our users. For me, it was great knowing it would be in a transformative state – I knew travel was not going to look the same in 2022 as it did in 2019. It’s been a really awesome opportunity.”
Improving Diversity and Inclusion Within the Tech World
Rochelle is passionate about improving representation from marginalized groups within tech, and has worked hard throughout her career to highlight ways that this can be done. Lending her skills to a research project by the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochelle saw the importance of harnessing potential at a young age. The study uncovered how vital it is for children in the early years of elementary school to see the available opportunities and build the confidence needed to embark on that career.
“We often say here at TripAdvisor that we want our teams to be representative of the of the community we’re serving. From an overall travel community, we’re serving all genders, all nationalities, all cultures, all you name it from an inclusion and diversity perspective, and specifically we’re trying to get women in to help bridge that gap. It’s super important to us, but it does go back to what is that pipeline we can draw from? And how do you kick that off early?”
These conversations are vital for improving representation across tech – only through building that pipeline and harnessing the potential of young girls at an early age can we reach a stage where those working in tech reflect the world around us.
Network, Network, Network
For those new to the industry, Rochelle’s advice is to never underestimate the importance of networks. These could be networking groups within schools, companies or on social forums like LinkedIn. Finding a group of like-minded people in a similar position to you will help you as you navigate your career. This is true for people of all diverse and underrepresented groups.
It is also really important to do your diligence when choosing the company you work for, being careful and selective and making sure that the fit is right for you. Looking for a supportive culture is key.
“For young women coming into the tech space, working for an organization such as TripAdvisor, that is very focused on diversity and inclusion, is going to be a different experience than some of the other tech manufacturing organizations that are out there. So find the one that fits you as an individual.”
Rochelle advises looking for a company that has that representation in terms of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ not just at the lower levels of the company but at board level too – because that speaks of a diverse culture.
The Future at TripAdvisor
It is easy for companies to become passive on the issue of diversity and inclusion – but that has never been the case for TripAdvisor, and they are actively working with colleges and universities to find and attract new talent from diverse groups in order to build that pipeline and continue to have balance as people evolve into higher roles.
“We try to get that full, representational slate because for us it’s diversity of all things, of color, gender, LGBTQ+, etc. But it’s also diversity of thought. Reaching a little further out, casting a wider net, to try to get that and then have that balanced slate works really well.”
In terms of data transformation, the opportunities at TripAdvisor are vast. The possibilities around harnessing the available data and using it to improve the business and drive quality improvements are huge – as well as the scope for personalization and monetization in terms of creating a highly individualized targeting program.
“For those of us not Google, or Amazon, it’s how do you create that? All the data says, if we have a very personalized experience on any respective site, we will go back there. And that will be the place that we keep going. And that translates into the health of the site, the health of the business, but also a happier customer, which is the most important.”
Over the next few years, TripAdvisor are focusing on global expansion, making this an exciting time to join the company with fantastic, creative tech projects to work on. With the opportunities for growth and development for women, people of color, LGBTQ+, those right across the gender spectrum, etc. Rochelle believes that TripAdvisor is a great choice for those looking for their first – or next – tech challenge.
“It’s one of the top places in my mind to work from a global diversity perspective. Plus, we’ve got a new CEO, and we’ve got change happening. It’ll definitely be dynamic. There’s a lot happening.”