Meet the HomeAway team
The HomeAway Story
Erica Chang, Senior Regional Director, HomeAway UK
As Senior Regional Director of HomeAway UK, Erica is responsible for overseeing the company’s two UK businesses, HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.co.uk.
Prior to joining HomeAway, Erica worked in Strategic Planning in the online luxury retail industry for Net-A-Porter and Richemont. Over the years, she has gained expertise in operations management, online marketing and product, strategic planning, and project management.
Before obtaining an MBA from INSEAD Business School in France, Erica worked in management consulting for Deloitte on various international projects for large fortune 500 companies across various industries.
Erica’s favourite memory from staying in a holiday rental: “The best holiday rental I've stayed in was in Paris with my fellow HomeAway colleagues on a business trip. The apartment was decorated in a way that blended modern style with typically Parisian ‘chic’. It had high vaulted ceilings with exposed brick walls and you could tell that the owner had furnished the flat to his individual taste. It had personality and flare. The location was also perfect and the sitting room was great for relaxing with a nice glass of wine after a hard day's work!”
Petra Friedmann, Vice President, HomeAway Europe
Petra Friedmann joined HomeAway in June 2009 to lead the European business.
With years of experience in the travel industry, Petra most-recently held the position of Chairman of the Board for Opodo France, a leading pan-European online travel agency. During her tenure, she launched and grew Opodo.fr, which now serves more than 1.3 million clients and has grown to be one of the three biggest travel agencies in France.
Prior to Opodo, she held leadership positions at online auction company, QXL-Ricardo, and European tour operator, Groupe Marmara, where she was pivotal in executing successful e-commerce strategies.
Petra started her career in Germany creating the travel agency, Adventure Tours, which specialised in discount flights, and launching a tour operator called Mosaic Reisen. She was a devoted student, earning her undergrad and master’s degrees from the University of Bielefeld and her Doctorate from the University of Bremen.
What's most important to Petra when choosing a holiday rental:
"The most important feature I look for is a view; it's a holiday for your eyes!"
Brian Sharples, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
Brian Sharples co-founded HomeAway with Carl Shepherd in February 2005. Since then, he has raised nearly $405 million in private funding and acquired 17 websites, to create the world's leading online marketplace of holiday rentals.
Brian is the former president and chief executive officer of IntelliQuest Information Group, a supplier of marketing data and research to Fortune 500 technology companies. While there, he pioneered the development of subscription-based statistical research services and electronic survey systems. He also completed two successful public offerings and the subsequent sale of Intelliquest.
An expert in technology brand strategy, Brian has counseled several leading companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Dell. He also created the IntelliQuest Brand Tech Forum Conference, which became an industry-leading symposium, and served as a consultant at Bain & Company early in his career.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in maths and economics from Colby College and a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Brian's favourite thing about working for HomeAway:
"The people who work at HomeAway are amazing and inspiring. We’ve been successful in attracting people who are passionate about our business, and seek to always make the experience better for our customers. There is no shortage of good ideas to make our service better for both owners and travellers, and as a result we continually challenge each other to push our limits and get better. That makes for a dynamic culture and a very rewarding work life."
Carl Shepherd, Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer
Carl Shepherd co-founded HomeAway with CEO Brian Sharples and oversees the company's worldwide corporate development efforts including mergers, acquisitions and key partnerships.
For six years, Carl served as the chief operating officer of Hoover’s Online. Under his management, the business developed into a leading source for business information online, culminating in an IPO in 1999 and the eventual sale of the company to Dun & Bradstreet in March 2003.
His career began as a consultant, working for what is now Accenture and establishing a practice based in the advertising industry. He also served as chief financial officer of magazine publishers Texas Monthly, Inc. and Hanley-Wood, Inc. Carl holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
What Carl looks for when choosing a holiday rental:
"We have three boys, who are five and seven years apart, so it is not a holiday for mom and dad unless we have at least three separate sleeping areas and no less than two TVs. We like roomy holiday homes with great views where the kids can spread out. Suzanne prefers not cook on holiday, but we love having kitchens available so that the kids can serve themselves breakfast as they wake up."
Brent Bellm, Chief Operating Officer
Brent Bellm holds the position of Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for leading the daily operations of HomeAway’s online holiday rental marketplaces in the United States, Europe and Brazil, as well as BedandBreakfast.com. He brings to the company a wealth of knowledge about international operations, internet marketplace strategy, and global payment solutions.
Brent joined HomeAway from a nine-year tenure at PayPal, where he most recently served as vice president of global product and experience responsible for product strategy, product management and user experience design. Prior to that position, he served as CEO of PayPal Europe for four years. Under his leadership, European business revenue tripled and maintained 40 percent annual growth rates in total payment volume. Brent joined eBay Inc. in 2001 as director of corporate strategy, where he had an active role in the acquisition of PayPal.
Early in his career, he worked for McKinsey & Company, focusing on the retail, e-commerce and payment industries, and Goldman Sachs in New York.
Brent holds a bachelor's degree in economics and international relations from Stanford University and a MBA from Harvard University.
The one thing Brent would like to share about himself with our customers:
"I’m a passionate traveller who has lived in 4 countries abroad and travelled to nearly 50. My favourite holidays are by bicycle in Europe."
Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer
HomeAway tapped Tom Hale to serve as Chief Product Officer (CPO), overseeing all aspects of product and technology on a global basis. Known for his passion for product development and enhancing the user experience, Tom is also an avid traveller and owns a holiday rental.
Hale has nearly 20 years experience in product development. Prior to HomeAway, he was the Chief Product Officer at Linden Lab from 2008 to 2010, where he led the renovation of all aspects of the Second Life experience.
Before Linden Lab, Tom was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures (a capital investor in HomeAway) focused on social networking and virtual goods marketplaces.
From 1995 to 2007, Tom held a variety of senior leadership roles at Macromedia and Adobe Systems Incorporated. At Adobe, he headed the Adobe Acrobat business and drove the redesign of the Acrobat user experience. At Macromedia (acquired by Adobe in 2005), Hale played key roles in making Macromedia the standard for web development, evolving the Flash Player into a platform for video, mobile content, and rich internet applications (RIAs), and starting up the company’s knowledge worker division.
Tom holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.
Tom's favorite holiday rental memory
"Our first holiday rental was with my entire extended family in Rhode Island. It was the first time we’d all been together with everyone’s kids and we cooked a giant meal. With kids on laps, food on the table, and everyone having a great time – it was the ideal travel experience for me. It is what makes working at HomeAway very rewarding."