Alumni Spotlight: Wendy White MBA 94
Vice President of Marketing, Egencia
After 12 years as a U.S. Army military intelligence officer, Wendy White spent two decades leading marketing technology teams at CenturyLink, Intel, Microsoft and Motorola.
For Wendy White, it’s all about the journey.
Her powerful resume includes 12 years as a military intelligence officer with the U.S. Army and more than two decades leading marketing technology teams at CenturyLink, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola and more. On International Women’s Day this year, Egencia—the business travel platform from Expedia Group—named her its vice president of marketing, tasked with leading all global marketing functions for the rapidly growing company.
What led you to get an MBA?
After being on active duty during the Golf War, I was at a crossroads: continue with military service or take a right turn into the corporate world. I decided an MBA would prepare me for either choice—and ultimately I fell in love with business.
What does being a collaborative leader mean to you?
No matter how smart or skilled, no single leader can make the impact of a team that is highly aligned around a vision and a mission. A leader helps create and carry the vison and sets the tone for how the team executes together.
The most exciting part is building great teams with deep functional and industry expertise and realizing our vision with company-changing results!
How do you collaborate at work to make an impact?
Today at Expedia I’m lucky to work in a culture that values diversity of thought but also realizes that shared and aligned accountabilities can be a real force multiplier in terms of market impact. We have a strong process of annual and quarterly goal alignment based on transparency, commitments and shared accountabilities. This often means the most important part of collaboration is deciding what you are NOT going to do—and then sticking with it.
What are the highlights of your career the last few years?
For the last two years I’ve had the privilege of being the chief marketing executive at Egencia, the business travel brand of Expedia. Along with a highly skilled group of marketing leaders, we are taking Egencia on a marketing transformation from regional focus to a scalable, global execution with an intense brand and revenue focus. The most exciting part is building great teams with deep functional and industry expertise and realizing our vision with company-changing results!
What are your biggest challenges in your industry?
Travel—and especially business travel, where I focus—is a highly competitive market but yet still full of growth opportunities. Companies that win are highly customer-centric with intuitive, user-friendly experiences; use smart innovations like machine learning and AI to create new value for clients; and build sustained partnerships based on mutual value. There is no opportunity to ease up on any of these fronts!
Which professor or course had greatest impact on you?
Right out of school I would have answered a specific marketing class that gave me skills I tapped into in my first few years after graduation. Today I know it was gaining a more well-rounded knowledge of business fundamentals and understanding how to use data in decision making. So hats off to Chi-ling Tsai, Michael Maher, Paul Griffin and the many others who contributed to that!
What are you seeing that future business graduates should be aware of as they start their careers?
MBA programs attract people with great ambition to have an impact on the their chosen field. Having worked in fast-moving tech companies and in intense startup environments, I know how easy it is to get caught up in letting work become such a driving force in your life. My best advice is remember to bring your whole person to work—and that means investing in your health, your family time and your other interests. Don’t let work consume you!