Meet the Team: Megan Bianco

Sep 14, 2023

6 min read

There is immense power in being a consumer product that can be utilized by literally anyone. Every single employee brings something unique to the table to help us shape the business to best serve our members.

Tell us about you! (Where are you from, hobbies/interests, things you do outside of work!)

Hey everyone! I'm Megan. I was born and raised in Indianapolis but have lived all over the place - Waco, Milwaukee, Greenville, and Chicago - we now call Cincinnati, Ohio, home. We are grateful to be close to so much of our family.

Like many of us at Going, I'm lucky to spend most of my non-work time traveling. My husband also works remotely, so we go on longer trips to immerse ourselves and try to live like locals. We recently road-tripped through Route 66 and adventured through 19 National Parks along the West Coast. When we're not traveling, I love hiking and kayaking, going to concerts and sporting events (go FCC! ⚽️), using power tools to DIY around our 100-year-old house and have recently joined the hype of pickleball life and might be obsessed.

What does a VP of Operations do anyway? How did you get into Operations?

If you called my mom (shoutout, Janice!), she'd probably tell you I've been doing Ops since I was a kid. I've always been into hacking solutions to problems, researching, building spreadsheets, and finding more efficient ways of accomplishing my goals. I fell into Ops by way of Recruiting and HR - first in big tech then helping scale up two startups from ~20 people to 200+ people. I realized I love building and became obsessed with developing the perfect intersection of a high-performance business with a strong, team-oriented culture. When I joined Going, I realized I'd stumbled on to something incredibly special.

I used to joke that the line on your job description or offer letter that says 'and all other duties, as needed' was my job description. My role has evolved over the last four years - from being hands-on in projects across the entire business to now leading brilliant folks across different functions - Data, Finance, Member Success, Talent Acquisition, and People Operations. My role now is to first and foremost support, elevate, and advocate for my team. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time identifying how we can scale the business, support our members, and achieve our goals through a lens of risk management and efficiency.

What advice would you have for someone interested in a career in Operations?

Should you find yourself interested is the world of Operations, I’d recommend doing three things.

First, say yes to as many projects as you can, even those that make you nervous or you feel unqualified to do. Ops is different at every single company and if you can get really good at doing unique, poorly defined projects, oftentimes that no one else wants or knows how to do, you’ll thrive in a role like this.

Second is to get really good at researching. Most Ops people are generalists, so it’s helpful when you have a problem you’re solving to go really deep in it. Are you implementing a new policy for data compliance? Read the entire CCPA policy top to bottom and form your own perspective before you dive in to attorney-written synopses. Planning to expand internationally? Find someone in a parallel role to you at a similar company and buy them a virtual coffee to understand where to start. Most problems you’re solving aren’t one size fits all and are unique to your particular business. Soak in the knowledge of those in your network and dive in to the information all over the interwebs. The perfect answer isn’t always going to be there, but it’ll give you enough of a baseline to use your brain to thoughtfully solve the problems in front of you.

Lastly, learn finance. Companies, for profit and not, exist, employ people, build products, and solve problems for the world at large by relying on money. Understand deeply how your business makes money, loses money, and how you can play a role in influencing positive outcomes for one or both of those factors. That skill will be applicable to any business you work in.

What's your favorite thing about your role here at Going?

Only one thing!?

The easy answer here is the people - our team and our members.

There is immense power in being a consumer product that can be utilized by literally anyone. Every single employee brings something unique to the table to help us shape the business to best serve our members. This team has experience with organizations of all sizes and all verticals. They're all different types of travelers and have so many unique, lived experiences. No single playbook is used here, and the perspective to evaluate our decisions and the solutions we're building is done through this multi-faceted lens. We're constantly learning from each other, and I'm convinced it's why we've had the success we've had and will continue to have.

I'm also sure we have some of the kindest and most loyal members in the world. Our product can unlock some of the most incredible moments in peoples' lives - engagements in Banff, family vacations to Cambodia, solo trips to Peru, a first time out of the country to Paris. These stories are why we do what we do - to help people travel and experience the world.

Reaching Machu Picchu after two days on the Incan Trail
Reaching Machu Picchu after two days on the Incan Trail

What advice would you give to a candidate interested in working at Going?

  • Apply quickly. 🙂 I can't recommend the Talent Community enough to stay up to date on our open roles. We're thoughtful in the hires we make, so new roles don't open up frequently. When they do, we frequently have 1,000+ applicants in a week. Being one of the early applicants is an advantage.
  • Be ready to put in the work and speak to that in your interview. We're not the right fit for everyone. While we talk a lot about the trips we take and our time away from work, everyone here works incredibly hard. We care deeply about our members and this business, so there are weeks that are going to require more of you than your typical 9-5. We put in the work so we can fully enjoy that time away.
  • Become an expert and go deep in your respective field. We've reached the size where we need to hire specialists who are willing and capable of being generalists. We're big fans of people who think outside of playbooks and have found unique ways of accomplishing their goals - show us that. How can you show this to us? Be ready to highlight the incredible work you’ve accomplished in your career and speak thoughtfully to it. We want to hear about actions you’ve taken, projects you’ve crushed, unique angles you’ve taken to solve problems and what you’ve learned along the way. Showcase your performance, and don’t be afraid to brag about yourself - that’s literally the point of an interview!

Can you share a time when you used a creative method to foster innovation or encourage out-of-the-box thinking among your team members?

I'm not sure if I'd call it creative, but I'm a big fan of returning to basics when you struggle to think outside the box. I've found that when you're struggling to come up with innovative solutions, it's because you aren't actually sure what you're solving for. I encourage my team to define the problem before jumping into solutions. When you deeply understand the problem you're trying to solve, solutions tend to jump out at you much faster. If the creative juices still aren't flowing, there are two steps I typically take. The first is to step away from the problem - go for a walk or do something that excites or energizes you (pickleball, anyone? 😉). The second depends on how you process information best - just keep writing or just keep talking. Even if it's unrelated to the problem you're trying to solve, just keep putting things on paper or out in the world. I've typically found that there will be some nugget of inspiration in there that's pure gold.

What's your favorite travel destination and why?

I spent 2 months galavanting around Southeast Asia a few years back and fell in love with Vietnam. The topography is gorgeous, the food is incredible, and the people are arguably the friendliest I've ever encountered. I have so many positive memories there, but core memories were made in Tam Cốc because of the people. Every evening, the locals set up tables outside, poured tea, and smoked their pipes. During our evening walks, we were always invited to join. We couldn't walk more than 100 yards before being welcomed in like family - often so they could practice their English - which is much better than my Vietnamese.

Vietnam also has some bonus points for an extra special reason.

The first time I heard about Going was in Vietnam. We were heading from Da Nang to Ninh Bình on a double-decker bus in a lay flat seat with the entire floor covered in luggage so you couldn't get down. This sweet retired couple had been traveling for the last few years and told us they did so because of Going (then Scott's Cheap Flights). When I looked up the business, they had a role open that I was pumped for. The bus left us on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with no cell coverage (a story for another day), but when we finally made it home, I applied for the role, and the rest was history.

My husband, Adam, and I boating around Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam

Published September 14, 2023

Last updated December 28, 2023

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