Today we are bringing you a little something different. You know about WeTravel’s mission – to make organizing and signing up for group trips and yoga retreats as easy as possible. But do you know the people behind the operation? The WeTravel office, located in San Francisco, is where most of our teammates collaborate on how to provide you, our users, with the best possible service. Let’s learn a little more about the team…
The WeTravel Office Team
Name: Jen Corley
Position at WeTravel: Director of Development – Yoga
What Were You Doing Before Working for WeTravel? I’m the team’s only native Californian. I went to college in Boston. I worked for 5 years in private equity then left to pursue Arabic and Persian language studies while getting credentialed as an RYT-500. I taught yoga while completing an MA in Islamic Studies at Stanford, and then worked as a business development consultant to Namaste Yoga and Wellness before joining WeTravel.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: A Google search for something totally unrelated to employment turned up the job posting. At the time I wasn’t even job searching! Happy accident 🙂
What You Do For WeTravel?: I act as a sort of ambassador to the yoga community, helping spread the word about what we do and hopefully connecting with teachers for whom WeTravel is a great fit.
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: The fun treats from our team’s home countries and travels around the world. People are always bringing stuff to munch on during our Monday meetings, lots of which are goodies I’ve never tried 🙂
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: I live in Oakland, but one of my favorite things about commuting across the Bay is that my husband and I will take the ferry home and have a glass of wine on board on nice summer evenings.
Position at WeTravel: Director of Yoga Happiness
What Were You Doing Before Working For WeTravel?
Just before joining WeTravel, I worked in People & Business Development at a big corporation in Germany, that’s where I’m originally from. I fell in love with San Francisco on my study abroad trip in 2013 and as I wanted to shift gears anyway, I moved to this beautiful city by the Bay in September 2015. So, I quit my corporate job and started a yoga teacher training right when I arrived in San Francisco. And a couple of months later I met WeTravel.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: I came across WeTravel via my yoga friend who shared her WeTravel retreat on Facebook. As a travel enthusiast and yogi I wanted to know what was behind such a great name. So I simply reached out to the founders and asked if they needed some help in the yoga sector. I was lucky that they were just about to find out if the yoga market was the right direction to go in. My first task was getting in touch with yoga teachers at the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco to find out if they would use a tool like WeTravel.
What You Do For WeTravel: I do everything to make yoga teachers happy when it comes to retreat organization. This ranges from tool demo sessions and customer support to flyer creation. I also make sure that our retreat leaders get to know each other by organizing community events for example.
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: I love the great atmosphere in our shared office space. Every once in a while you hear one of our office-mates laughing out loud (with earphones on) when they’re again watching user videos (we share our office with evertoon, an app where people can create cartoon videos).
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: I love the awesome climate all year round, the awesome yoga community and the innovative & creative spirit of the people I’m meeting.
You can follow Pia on Facebook.
Name: Charlotte Kiss
Position at WeTravel: Lead generator and sales support
What Were You Doing Before Working For WeTravel? I lived in Paris. I have a Masters in translation and worked 5 years at Cargill as their logistics and sales coordinator to develop the Health & Nutrition Department in Europe. I went back to school last year to complete a Masters in conference interpreting.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: I was looking for an internship in the US to enhance my english skills and wanted to work at a start-up. A former colleague sent my CV to their Californian friends and Johannes was interested in interviewing me!
What You Do For WeTravel: I reach out to church groups (Catholic, Christian, Jewish and Muslim) and meet them whenever there is an interest from their side.
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: I like the flexible hours and the fact that the focus is on outcome rather than hours spent at the office. I’m excited about meeting my leads!
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: People’s openness and optimism. Love after-work events that help connect with people and yoga classes. Getting sun everyday (not like in Paris!)
Name: Sander Sillavee
Position at WeTravel: Marketing Wiz
What Were You Doing Before Working For WeTravel? I’m from Estonia. I studied Tourism Management in Estonia and Finland and worked in tourism marketing and education marketing before I came here.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: I’m here with an year-long professional internship program. I got the connection with our CEO Johannes through his neighbor, who was here in the Bay area with the same scholarship program and it fit me perfectly since I was looking something in the field of Tourism Marketing.
What You Do For WeTravel: I like to say that I make Google love us. I work on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of our website and also do outreach, fostering relationships with different focus groups.
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: Everybody is always eager to learn from each other.
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: Diversity, Food and Yoga 🙂
Name: Johannes Koeppel
Position at WeTravel: CEO
What Were You Doing Before Working For WeTravel? I am originally from Switzerland. I worked 5 years for various airlines and for group travel operators. Then I moved to Swaziland to work for Doctors Without Borders. After that, I worked for Red Cross (ICRC) in Uzbekistan and Tajikista, visiting political prisoners and managing a team of 14. 3 years ago, I moved to California to do my MBA in Berkeley and started the company WeTravel.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: On a South Indian beach, when I decided that WeTravel must become a reality and this thought hasn’t left me since.
What You Do For WeTravel: Mainly product management and strategic planning, but also customer support and everything else a CEO does (Fundraising, HR, accounting, financial planning)
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: The relaxed international atmosphere we have going.
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: Being able to surf and snowboard in the same weekend.
Name: Garib Mehdiyev
Position at WeTravel: CTO
What Were You Doing Before Working For WeTravel? I have been in IT from my childhood. I used to compete in coding competitions from 13-16 years old. Then I studied computer science. In my first full time job I built Billing system for Internet Service Providers. After I worked as a technical director of a Bank. When I moved to San Francisco I worked DEV/SYS Engineer at fuze.com. Infrastructure has always been my passion.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: I co-founded WeTravel. Before WeTravel I started another travel app. After a certain time Johannes, me and later Zaky decided to join our forces and build WeTravel. And after couple months I quit my job and fuze and fully focused on building WeTravel.
What You Do For WeTravel: I am responsible for the technology side of Wetravel. Technology visionary, architect and engineer for Wetravel.
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: Working with team closely and getting things done.
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: I love everything about San Francisco. I don’t have a favorite part. Every part of San Francisco is a favorite for me.
Name: Zaky Prabowo
Position at WeTravel: Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer
What Were You Doing Before Working For WeTravel? I’m originally from Indonesia. I grew up in Bandung, a city in the mountain 2 hours from the capital city Jakarta. After undergrad, I worked for McKinsey & Company as a management consultant with projects in SE Asia and the Middle East – I got to travel! Then I worked in the Office of the President of Indonesia as a special aide where I had to do a various range of tasks from preparing slides for cabinet meetings to managing high-level delegation overseas travel – I got to travel again! At the same time, I cofounded Indonesia’s first and largest volunteer-matching online platform called Indorelawan.org. That was when I realized I really enjoyed growing an online platform.
How You Started Working With WeTravel: I met Johannes and Garib when I studied at UC Berkeley. I had been working for online platforms in the US, Israel, and Brazil in their growth and business operations. I was looking for an opportunity to start something that combines my passion for travel and online platforms so I was very happy to meet my co-founders there. We’ve worked really well together complementing each other’s skills!
What You Do For WeTravel: I’m in charge of the growth of WeTravel. The number of users and transactions on our platform are what keep me awake at night 🙂
Favorite Part of Working in the Office: My co-founders. My team whom I feel very honored and grateful to be working with. Tackling new challenges everyday.
Favorite Thing About Living in San Francisco: The weather! I can be actively outside and run/bike all year round comfortably.