Program Manager, Employee & Community Engagement
From intern to global-employee-volunteer-program builder, Alicia has taken advantage of some massive opportunities at Groupon all while sledding down active volcanoes in Nicaragua and singing Cher songs during team karaoke outings.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
In November 2015, I had the pleasure of traveling to Nicaragua with 5 other Grouponers who won that year’s Volunteer-a-thon (our hyper-competitive month of service held every June). We traveled with Spark Ventures to work with a local organization, Las Tías. You can read more about our trip here. To me, the coolest part about experiences like this is seeing your peers fall in love with service. You see it click; and that moment is the best reminder of why I love what I do. Aside from the volunteer component of the trip, other highlights include volcano boarding (essentially sledding) down an active volcano and zip lining through a coffee plantation—both things I can safely say I never thought I would get to do at work.
How does your role impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
My role is unique in the sense that I don’t engage with small businesses or our customers on a daily basis, but my work directly impacts our shared corporate values—particularly “Community.” Our whole business is centered around building great neighborhoods and attracting customers to the gems of a local community. The work of our employee volunteers complements this nicely by getting directly involved in these neighborhoods through the work of our nonprofit partners.
What did you do before Groupon and how did you end up here?
This is really it! I had a few other internships with nonprofit organizations and worked on campus in the Student Leadership Institute prior to starting my internship at Groupon.
What’s your biggest accomplishment here (so far)?
Very early in my full-time role at Groupon, the three managers between myself and the CEO left to pursue other opportunities outside these green walls. This initially scared me, but it gave me the platform to turn my role into whatever I wanted it to be. During this ambiguous time, I worked my butt off and took on more responsibility than what I could have envisioned for myself at that stage in my career. I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally and can thank that time of growth for where I’m at now.
What’s your favorite local business?
What makes Groupon a unique place to work?
Here at Groupon, what you do matters. I got my start at Groupon as an intern and have had the opportunity in the past (almost) 5 years to build out a global volunteer program that has engaged over 5,000 employees in over 63,000 hours of service supporting the work of close to 650 nonprofit organizations. Even as an intern, my work and my voice was valued. I’ve gotten to build things. I’ve gotten to make things up. I’ve gotten to try a whole bunch of new things. I’ve gotten to define my own career and what I want to be when I “grow up.” That kind of trust and autonomy in employees, regardless of rank or tenure, is something truly special to Groupon.
Have you won any awards during your time here?
In Q4 of 2016, I won a “Groupon Green Award,” our internal employee recognition awards, for being “Intolerant of Mediocrity”…(award included winning some custom Converse All Stars, see below!)
As well as Awesomeness Tickets from my teammates for “Bringing the Best Snacks” and “Not Spilling Your Coffee.”
“Here at Groupon, what you do matters. I got my start at Groupon as an intern and have had the opportunity in the past (almost) 5 years to build out a global volunteer program that has engaged over 5,000 employees in over 63,000 hours of service supporting the work of close to 650 nonprofit organizations.”
Who or what inspires you?
I get to be a part of a lot of really cool events at Groupon, but the event that continues to inspire me the most is twice a year when we bring together over 100 Girl Scouts for a day of STEM education. Seeing so many young girls geek out over math and science is pretty neat.
Tell us about your involvement with Groupon for Veterans.
I got involved with Groupon for Veterans in the very beginning with a personal goal of building a more diverse and inclusive workforce for my brother by the time he gets out of the military. Little did I know, my involvement in this group would allow me to do one of my favorite things in the whole wide world—connect people. Employee engagement groups have the power to build community and connect like-minded people who otherwise may not have crossed paths. That then leads to people having conversations with and learning from people who don’t look like them, and that is an incredible thing.
What was your first impression of Groupon?
When I started at Groupon, I was a junior in college. My first interview was with a man wearing a tie-dyed Grateful Dead t-shirt, who would later become my manager and now my teammate. Next to my desk, there was an enchanted forest. And down the hall from that, there were swings hanging from the ceiling. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.
If you could do another job for a day, what would it be and why?
I’ve always thought it would be oddly satisfying to be a grape masher at a winery (assuming it’s like what I’ve seen in the movies); but after a day of mucky grapes between my toes, that would be enough of that.
What do your parents think you do?
I think my parents have a pretty good understanding of what I do, with my mom also working in the nonprofit space and my dad having worked in sales and marketing for as long as I can remember; but my younger brother, Sam, is really the one who’s confused here. I get calls from him in the middle of the day starting off with “Leesh, what’s up? What are you doing?” “Umm, I’m at work.” Sam currently serves in the Army and may never see a desk job, so I get a lot of questions asking, “What do you actually do when you’re sitting there looking at your computer?”
Tell us something about you that’d surprise us.
Last summer, I participated in a ten-week competitive karaoke league with other members of my Groupon team, soloing “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher and “Soul Man” by the Blues Brothers over the course of the season. Our team was robbed of the first place title but still took home the bronze.