Brittany Laughlin



New York University - Bachelor of Science, Marketing + International Business + Film Minor

Brittany Laughlin used to be one of those girls who couldn't make up her mind. At one point she was trying to narrow down her choices about what she wanted to do, and they were as wide-ranging as fashion and green technology! She finally found just the right balance in gtrot, a social travel company that works to make travel planning easier, where she is co-founder. In her role Brittany leads the quest to improve travel search by connecting users with friends who have been to (or are going to) the same travel destination to provide the best experience possible before and after your trip. Besides, who do you trust more than your friends? And if you are a traveler, there's no one better to trust than Brittany. She's traveled to all seven continents and has visited 35 countries!

Before joining gtrot Brittany worked at American Express where she helped launch the Lowe's Business Rewards Card and SimplyCash small business card products. While there, she was awarded the OPEN Innovation Award (twice) and was nominated for the Chairman's Award for Innovation.

Brittany loves traveling to new places, playing sports and spending time with her friends and family. She also is an active participant in the technology field and writes guest posts on the subject for Forbes. And if that doesn't sound like enough, you should see her goal list. Brittany makes a new one, and keeps crossing off those she's conquered, every year. Keep tabs on her. We're excited to see what she does next!

The goal is to focus on the good days and make them happen as often as possible.

How did you discover your current job?

I wanted to create an evolutionary travel site that connected trips and friends. I looked through more than 200 travel websites to see if there was someone already doing what I wanted to do. I reached out to 20 different sites, and realized I had a shared vision with the founder of gtrot. We joined forces to grow the company into the evolved social travel site it is today.

What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?

I do 75 percent of my job online -- connecting with partners, managing budgets, interacting with customers, hiring and marketing on the Web. The other 25 percent is phone calls, pitching gtrot at live events, speaking on travel and having in-person meetings. I travel a lot for business development, so the office scenery can change a lot since my business goes wherever I go.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

I get a thrill every time I see someone using or talking about gtrot. It's a rewarding feeling to see people loving a product you helped bring to life. On the flip side, although it's an entrepreneur cliché, there are always ups and downs. You can have a great day and feel you've made great progress, and then the next day something will fall through, and you'll feel like you're back to square one. The goal is to focus on the good days and make them happen as often as possible.

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?

I joined gtrot 13 months ago. Since then I've moved two times, gotten rid of most of my things, cut back on spending and lived most of the past few months in the office. I'm completely focused on building a great product, so a lot of personal and friend time goes out the window. I've made a huge effort to put friend and family time on the calendar, so although I can't be there for everything, I do have dedicated time to focus just on them.

What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?

It's important to give and take. I've received a wealth of information, introductions and advice from people across the globe. Although I might not always have something to offer, I do my best to return the favor and pass it on. Even within an organization you have to know when to compromise and when to hold firm to a decision. Entrepreneurship can be deemed lonely, but no business is built alone.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

Starting a business is hard -- I think it's a challenge for both men and women, and it doesn't necessarily get easier over time. In terms of the tech industry, it's filled with people excited about changing the way we use the Internet. Although there are a growing number of women, there are stories of gender discrimination and inappropriate behavior. Thankfully, I've only encountered trace amounts, and organizations are working to bring attention to offenders. I think it's important to not feel at a disadvantage for being different and to embrace that diversity to serve the real world, which is filled with both men and women.

Who are your role models?

I'm a huge fan of Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook and Marissa Mayer from Google. They are very public pioneers for women leaders in technology. They are highly respected authorities at two of the largest Internet companies, and they get things done.

Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?

"Dream big, work hard and smile often." Also, "I want to do everything." I think it's important to choose happiness and to continuously challenge yourself. Life is too wonderful to be unhappy.

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Learn as much as you can, and start talking to people. Blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable are the go-to for tech news. Start reading, figure out what excites you and jump in!

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Running the largest social travel site in the world and keeping a worldwide travel schedule.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Don't be afraid to test-drive a few different options. Before I got involved in technology, I was narrowing down my choices from fashion, green tech, marketing, film, travel, technology, social media and more. I realized a lot of the things I liked but didn't want to do full time to end up in the right one. The trial and error is worth it to find what you love.