HILLARY PROCTOR

Technical Project Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2010

It might surprise you to find out that some of our earliest employees who started in our Editorial department eventually took their skillset to the Engineering organization. Hillary is one of those people! What sort of skills allow for that interesting career move? She explains.

Tell us about what you do!

I was originally hired as a fact-checker in the editorial department and spent my first few years at Groupon as a site editor. I learned a lot about problem-solving under pressure and communicating with different kinds of stakeholders across the company. Both of those skills were key when I transferred to the engineering department for a role on the Application Operations Support team (better known as AOS). AOS handles technical triage and support for both customer-facing and internal applications globally, essentially bridging the gap between business and technical teams. It was a bit of a learning curve at first, but making the switch to tech was the most significant turning point in my career thus far, and I’m so grateful that Groupon afforded me that opportunity.

While in AOS, I was especially interested in coordinating cross-team collaboration and improving documentation, which I later realized was actually project management. After honing those skills through several types of projects, I recently moved into a role in the Engineering Project Management Organization (PMO), so I now get to manage cross-functional projects full time! Members of the PMO have been described as air-traffic controllers, or conductors – whichever metaphor you prefer, we’re basically the ones who orchestrate and keep track of complex efforts across many individuals and teams to ensure a project is executed successfully. We’re also obsessed with spreadsheets and Google calendar, both of which are close to my heart.

What’s the proudest moment in your time at Groupon?

I worked from our amazing Dublin office for six months to help train a new support team there. I’m incredibly proud of that opportunity and how it expanded my own perspective on Groupon as a global company. Plus, it was easy to love living in Ireland!

Take us back to 2010: what was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

I joined in May 2010, so it was a lot different back then! Near the end of my second day of work, everyone in the company gathered for a “mandatory meeting” that turned out to be a Cinco de Mayo…toast, if you will. I knew at that moment that my time at Groupon definitely wouldn’t be boring!

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Our technical projects bring together many teams and drive key strategic initiatives – whether it’s rolling out a new product, ramping up an engineering service, or overseeing a cross-platform campaign with our truly hilarious spokesperson. I know that if the PMO is working on it, it’s mission-critical. More broadly, I’ve seen a ton of growth and operational improvements in my time at Groupon, and I’m excited to keep making the experience even better for customers and merchants.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love trying new restaurants and blog about them at hillaryproctor.com. In fact, before I joined Groupon, I went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu to become a better-informed food writer! I wrote a few food pieces for Groupon as well, during my time in the editorial department.

What’s your favorite local business?

I’m partial to my neighborhood, Logan Square, so I’m going with Lula Cafe for food and Lost Lake for drinks.

What’s the story behind your track jacket nickname?

I have the full green tracksuit from the early days (I think the pants are considered vintage now), a 5-year black track jacket, and two platinum stars. HPro is a nickname that started in college, but I also made it my handle on HipChat, our internal chat room system. Every so often I’ll hear it out loud from someone I don’t know very well, and it takes a second to remember that it’s only because they’ve seen it in HipChat so many times!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

This haiku is dedicated to the PMO:

Talented colleagues – –

Managing cross-team projects

Rockstars? Herders? Both

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Too many to count over (almost) 8 years! A few that come to mind: celebrating women in tech with 15,000 others at my first Grace Hopper conference, watching multiple sunrises over Lake Michigan during early shifts at our temporary office space, going to Medieval Times and a horse farm for (two different) team outings, and having Thursday market lunches along the canal in Dublin. Oh, and I made a 5-second appearance in a Nightline segment way back in 2010.

But on a sentimental note, I’ve met some of my closest friends here, so that’s what stands out overall.

Have you won any awards in your time here?

Last fall, I won Engineering Operations Employee of the Month and received a (super soft) hoodie.

Tell us about your involvement with Women@Groupon and Groupon Volunteers.

I’m currently on the Women@Groupon leadership board. I’m in charge of finance, so I help ensure that we’re using our budget for maximum impact. Our W@G programming aims to empower women through professional development, networking, community outreach, and other events. I’ve really enjoyed supporting that mission and also partnering with other employee resource groups to build a more inclusive atmosphere. On the volunteering side, I’ve helped out with the Red Cross Disaster Relief Telethon, Scout Out Engineering, and Girls Who Code mentorship. I’m also passionate about participating in quarterly blood drives – my grandpa donated 22+ gallons of blood in his lifetime, so I donate in his memory..