Margo Georgiadis is on a mission.
Her previous transfers had her at Google where she held titles of president and vice president, as well as co-leading
Women@Google to advance women leaders and inspire girls to pursue careers in science and technology. At Mattel, she set out to make Barbie inclusive and diverse. She also sits on the board of McDonald’s and was a VP at Discover. Since 2018, her name tag has said Ancestry. “I choose companies not based on their size but their mission,” she says. “I’m driven at Ancestry by the ability to use technology to democratize access to everyone’s family history.” Mission accomplished.
ancestors on both my mother’s and my father’s side who were early settlers in the 1600s. They actively helped found this country. I was very much raised with the mentality that this country is great because people come into their communities and lead. This mission orientation was drilled into me from childhood. I am the beneficiary of knowing my history.
books will look back on this year as having a triple pandemic — a health crisis, economic impact and social issues. After the initial lock-down when everyone was getting food and toilet paper, Ancestry had a surge in 10 out of 10 markets. This pandemic started a re-centering for people. The moment of crisis became deeply reflective. Family and connection were at the forefront.
It was also a coming together for our company. We sat down as a leadership team and asked how we could use our assets and utilize our brilliant scientists for good. How could we help fight COVID? We kicked off an opt-in survey with our genomics network. This was the largest research study happening real-time related to the virus. We’ve collaborated with qualified researchers and shared the genetic indicators that show who is more susceptible to getting COVID and who is more likely to have a severe reaction if they do get it. We want to propel and advance discoveries for therapies, as well as help scientists and leaders have more information about who could be prioritized for a vaccine.
Our year has also been highlighted with being acquired by Blackstone for an enterprise value of $4.7 billion. Blackstone believes in the mission and future of Ancestry. We’re still in the first innings of this company. But truly the other things we’ve worked on this year are much more important to our employees and consumers.
I start my day reading and responding to emails from customers. I hear both the beautiful stories of how life-changing Ancestry has been for people, and I also hear ways in which we can improve. This puts me focused on the customer at the start of every day. Then I start my regular cadence of one-on-one meetings. When I’m working from home, I wear comfy pants and spice it up with fun shirts. For our Zoom meetings, each leader puts up a background of something personal to them. I like to hike, so I’ve put up pictures of mountains and Sundance. I grew up in Chicago, so I also share pictures of the Midwest. Our backgrounds have led to meaningful conversations.
It’s not just companies that are operating remotely. Parents are educating their students at home. We have a K-12 program that is accessible for free. It’s fun for parents and kids to discover together. This fall, many teachers are working remotely and using our products as part of their curriculum. They are helping students go on journeys.
The millennial generation has turned to Ancestry more than ever before. That had already happened as we improved our product, but with the gift of time the younger generation is turning to meaningful content experiences.
The beauty of Ancestry is that it’s not just for the young or the old. It brings all of us together. On Memorial Day, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of World War II. The Greatest Generation is passing away, and it’s an important moment in history. We collaborated with the Department of Defense and multiple veterans groups to put together a virtual Memorial Day parade and livestream it on YouTube and Facebook. Celebrities contributed and millions watched it. We also provide access to military records. It’s powerful to be part of bringing together our world in a year when the opposite has happened.
We’re grateful to be one of the authentic, meaningful content and experiences consumers are turning to in the chaos. And there’s so much more to come.