Sarah Gavin: 40 Under 40 2015

Head of corporate and consumer communications, Expedia

When it comes to global communications, Sarah Gavin certainly leads the way at online travel company Expedia.

As well as global PR, she oversees corporate comms, brand-level PR, and social media. Gavin worked her way up from director of PR and social media to senior director of integrated marketing, merchandizing, and communications to the lead comms role. In this position, she advocates the advantages of a robust PR program at every step, so that communications staffers are brought in at the earliest planning phases for everything from acquisitions to product releases.

She built a social media program essentially from scratch, spanning community engagement, advertising, and influencer relations across the globe, and led the 2013 launch of the Expedia Viewfinder travel blog, which serves as inspiration for travelers of all types.

Gavin gained international attention for the Expedia Find Yours campaign with a smart pairing to a timely topic, LGBT marriage, capturing positive coverage on Jimmy Kimmel Live and from The New York Times.

More recently, she’s managed high-level corporate communications around the proposed acquisition of competitor Orbitz.

"Balancing relationships with media constituents across all verticals, Sarah has a keen understanding of the appropriate audiences to reach, whether it is through the corporate or consumer comms lens," says one colleague.

In all of her work, Gavin builds upon Expedia’s credentials as a technology innovator. And it is paying off as the Expedia app earned a People’s Voice best travel app at the 2013 Webby Awards.

Prior to joining Expedia in 2011, Gavin spent five years at Waggener Edstrom. As a VP on the Microsoft Windows team in Seattle, managing news teams for the company’s Microsoft Office and Windows businesses, she helped the firm win a Platinum PR Award for Best Product Launch for Internet Explorer 9’s Launching a More Beautiful Web.

"She’s helped other PR professionals across the organization gain a stronger voice and identify a more clear advancement path," a colleague continues. "Through all of this, Sarah has set the stage for what it means to work hard while prioritizing the important elements of life: family, passions, and of course, travel." 

- The mother of four carves out time to act as a Girl Scout troop leader and support various after-school activities

- She developed a cause-marketing campaign, raising funds to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and offering customers coupons and other deals

- Gavin’s career began in the Southern California division of a Taiwanese telecoms company, where she averaged quarterly growth of 10% as a sales manager

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