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May 27, 2020

Leadership, Culture and the TripActions Mission

The TripActions approach to travel and expense management involves looking at business challenges--and opportunities--in a different, modern way. As the coronavirus situation has unfolded, we’ve worked with our customers closely to understand the new challenges they now face--which has led to even faster innovation, with a goal of supporting our customers’ unique and fast-changing needs so they can get their organizations back to business travel--safely.

Our CEO Ariel Cohen was honored to have the opportunity to share this approach with listeners of The Twenty Minute VC, a podcast hosted by Harry Stebbings in which startup leaders share wisdom, insights and experiences along the road to success.

The interview covered a range of topics including company culture--and how Ariel led the organization through a layoff in early March, when it became clear the pandemic would last more than a few months.

Taking charge in a crisis

“In times of crisis like this I would advise against optimism. Instead, take a look at reality and act upon it,” Ariel said. While this was not a pleasant part of the job, it was necessary to maintain the business. But Ariel didn’t lose focus on the core mission of the business.

“Business travel is a part of our life, and it is an important part of being human. It’s really important,” explained Ariel. Because of passion for business travel, his focus during the pandemic became, “How can I help businesses get back to business with TripActions?”

Customer Focus

TripActions immediately set out to build the tools that the team saw customers urgently needed. “We can provide a lot of tools to our customers to help to manage the situation.” Recognizing business continuity through COVID-19 was essential, the TripActions team built a coronavirus dashboard, additional duty of care tools, regional blacklisting, and a new TripActions Community, in addition to providing 24/7 global travel agent support for travelers caught on the ground away from home, or who had to reschedule upcoming travel.

While leading the team through this time, Ariel continued to focus on maintaining a strong and effective company culture that he sought to create from Day One. “Culture is not benefits. For me, culture is to be mission-driven and for everyone to believe in the mission and wants to win,” Ariel said. Innovation and a customer focus are core to that.

Advice for Up-and-Comers

Ariel shared how he would advise new entrepreneurs who are looking to launch their company--to prepare themselves for challenges right away. “You believe in the product, in the offering you have, in your company, and in your mission. Believing in it means you need to be very responsible. Delaying tough decisions will not help you to achieve your mission as a company,” Ariel said.

One of Ariel’s keys to success is perseverance. As he put it: “Never give up on your dreams and never settle. There is always a way to achieve it.”

Hear Ariel’s full interview on The Twenty Minute VC Podcast.

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