Groupon Australia & New Zealand’s Annual Conference

Groupon Australia & New Zealand’s Annual Conference

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

2018 in ANZ: “The Year of Courage”

Groupon Australia and New Zealand celebrated their annual conference on Friday 2nd February, held at the magnificent Powerhouse Museum in Sydney with 120 guests from both countries in attendance. On arrival, all staff was treated to an awesome Groupon goodies pack which included a Groupon branded gym bag, pen, journal, and lanyard – Spoilt!

The day started off with Groupon APAC CEO Steve Traplin’s welcome speech, then kicked straight into the 2017 year in review and our 2018 goals, which brought to life to the underlying theme throughout the event: “courage”. For staff to have the courage to break their own belief barriers, break that glass ceiling, and to do and be a better version of ourselves than we ever thought possible.

There were group activities and paired goal-setting sessions with peak performance coach Mark Carter, plenty of motivational videos and even an inspirational speaker, Tristan Miller, who spoke about his journey of entering the record books when he became the first person ever to complete 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Tristan’s inspiring, “courageous” or insane journey (depending how you look at it) had everyone on the edge of their seats and really inspired all staff to push through their limits, have the courage to speak up, try something different, get out of the comfort zone, and be and try their best every single day.
The day wrapped up with a huge amount of awards and we continued the celebration at our next venue, Sweethearts, where we partied on a rooftop under the stars. There were even more gifts (Groupon branded beer coolers) an awesome DJ, photo booth, drinks and plenty of food. We sure continued the work hard and party hard reputation Groupon ANZ is known for.
It was an epic day and night for all, with staff leaving inspired and motivated to kick off 2018 with a bang!

Emily Wilson – Technical Program Manager, Engineering Operations

Emily Wilson – Technical Program Manager, Engineering Operations

EMILY WILSON

Technical Program Manager, Engineering Operations
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2011

What’s your favorite conference room?

Emily “Dubs” Wilson is one of the few Grouponers who has been featured twice on the People Blog! That’s how much we 💚 her Groupon journey. Get ready for an inspirational tale of growth and resilience from one of our favorite women in tech.

You have quite the Groupon story, can you walk us through your journey from 2011 to today?

I started off as a second shift customer service representative. I didn’t think I’d get the job; I am a certified music teacher. At the time, Groupon was committed to oddball humor, and most of the people I worked with were involved in Chicago’s improv comedy scene. The first person I sat next to now has her own television show! But my background in education ended up being an asset. I was really good at teaching customers how to use this new-fangled Groupon. It turned out I also had some intuition for how the website worked, why it didn’t sometimes, and how to find workarounds and teach my colleagues about expected behavior. My first manager put me on a special project that eventually became its own team. Our team grew together, going from supporting fellow customer service reps to any business team, from supporting the customer experience to any employee experience as well, and from using the site to testing it before major releases.

Eventually, as Groupon rolled out the front end component of our service-oriented architecture internationally, this team was moved into the engineering department. As our role became more defined, my desire to build and improve processes outgrew the work I was doing. I also missed the part of education that allowed for growing the people around me. I did so informally, of course, with my teammates. I was not chosen to be our team’s next manager, something I believed I had been clearly working toward since the team was formed. I started to feel like maybe it was time to make a career shift, and get back into education somehow. But I still had this nagging feeling that I had more to do at Groupon. I had “made it” out of the service organization, and I was close to being empowered to give back.

A mentor of mine helped me believe this, convinced me to stay at Groupon and helped me understand that the career shift I was looking for could happen here. She and my interim manager, my most trusted advisors at the time, collaborated on what an expanded version of my role could look like and presented the option to me. I would keep reporting to my interim manager (who would become our teams’ senior manager), and I would learn project management skills on-the-job. With this new role came greater autonomy. I started working more closely with the engineering team under my senior manager and did a scrum master certification course. To quote Stephen Colbert, “The process of process is process,” and I can’t think of a more process-y process than agile methodologies! While taking on a sort of scrum master role with the engineering team, I also began doing their product work.

“Emily’s passion for Groupon is electric. You can feel it when you’re in the same room, you can see it for miles away. Emily’s dedication to her job is infectious. She consistently makes me want to do better for our customers, merchants, and employees,” Alan Deitch, Director of Engineering

That summer, having learned in the previous year how important it was to always vocalize my career goals, I told my manager that my ultimate goal was to be a chief operations officer. Instead of laughing and bringing me back down to earth, which is what I totally would have expected someone to do, he took me seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he said people management was probably the next logical step toward that goal. Before I knew it, I was on my way to becoming an engineering manager. My team was small, but their skills were mighty. Having not been an engineer myself, we had to find our own ways to work together, put out quality products, and do so on time. My team met all of their deadlines in the time that I managed them, and I couldn’t be prouder.

We rolled out a global careers platform in line with the company moving toward a global applicant tracking system solution. We vastly improved an internal tool that has become essential to our business teams’ day-to-day efficiency, globalized an external-facing application, and so much more. The experience taught me that empowering your reports to do what they love (or connect what they have to do to what they love) and building a trusting relationship was the most important key to our success. Because the team was small and they were ready for more learning opportunities, a peer of mine and I decided the next logical step was merging teams. We did complementary work, and more team members to collaborate with was going to mean a stronger environment. I transitioned into a program management role, as I wanted to increase my technical chops, learn to be a more effective influencer, and learn to build long-term organizational strategy.

OK, so what’s your secret to success here?

The people at Groupon are definitely the reason I’ve been as successful as I have. I have something called a “Dream Boss” list. Before I understood the difference between everyone’s roles, I created this list as a way to identify those bright, shiny characteristics that I admired. Through the years, I’ve so far worked for, been mentored by, or been peers with them all. (Hot tip: Asking someone to mentor you is probably the greatest complement you can ever give them, and they’ll almost always agree to do it.) I’ve had amazing mentors and sponsors, people who saw in me things I didn’t recognize in myself. I’ve also had incredible mentees who, through our one-on-ones, have probably taught me more than I’ve taught them (shh!).

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

I don’t think I’ve ever asked someone to help me with something and heard “no.” We’re all busy, but we also all understand that without a grassroots effort to build strong networks at the company, we’ll never reach our potential.

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

Everything that I do has the end goal of empowering employees. From being an employee that was directly talking to our customers every day, I can confidently say that employees who are empowered to do their jobs efficiently, with the proper knowledge, and with empathy have everything to do with building that daily habit.

Work with Emily.

 

Check out our open Tech roles!

Tell us about your involvement with Women@Groupon.

I was the finance chair for Women@Groupon for a year. I wanted to learn some skills I hadn’t had the opportunity to learn elsewhere, and I wanted to work toward a more inclusive company culture. I mentored someone who became the co-chair for PRIDE@Groupon, and I have collaborated with a lot of the other ERGs as well. The thing about Women@Groupon is that all the other ERGs have women too, and I feel it’s our responsibility to raise each other up.

What’s your favorite local business?

Ba Le Sandwich Shop. Before I ever moved to Chicago, I saw Ba Le on Check Please, a conversational PBS show that features Chicago-area restaurants. I had a friend who was a theater critic, so we’d meet in the city from our respective suburbs so we could see a show for free, and we’d find the cheapest possible places to eat. I got a job before we got the chance to try Ba Le. When I moved to Chicago months later, I unknowingly picked the exact neighborhood where Ba Le stood. I stayed in that apartment for 6.5 years, and I ordered a veggie avocado (no cucumbers) Bahn mi sandwich at least once a week. Hmm, I might go there tonight!

Vim or emacs?

VIM. Because “:x”

What was your first impression of Groupon?

Having never imagined I’d “go corporate,” this place is a lot less “corporate” than my stint in public education.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

One of my favorite memories was completing Project Gemini, Groupon’s white label solution that allowed us to integrate the LivingSocial brand (and future brands) with our platform. I started at Groupon before we became a publicly traded company, and to not only see us acquire one of our biggest competitors but to be part of an engineering-wide effort was magical. We had great leaders working together and built a stronger technical community within our organization as a result. People stepped up to help one another, and we delivered quality solutions well and on time. I can recall a time when the engineering department, though it wasn’t alone in this, was perhaps a bit more ego-driven. The way this project was executed proved that we had, culturally, made a complete 180, and I loved being a part of something bigger.

What do your parents think you do?

“You know, Emily, you basically do what I’ve done most of my career,” my dad once said to me years ago when I was talking about how I envisioned the future of my support team. That was the first time that I (kinda sorta) understood what my dad does for a living.

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs

What’s the story behind your track jacket nickname “Dubs?”

It’s no secret that it isn’t easy being a woman in technology. I picked up the name “Dubs” (because my last name starts with a “W”) when I was on second shift. The majority of my colleagues during the day shift hadn’t seen me, but they had heard of “Dubs,” which gave them no indication of my gender. While I now proudly identify as a woman in tech, I am still attached to the nickname. Many of my close friends whom I met at that time period still refer to me as such.

What keeps you fulfilled and busy outside of work?

I love trying new things and “owning the experience,” especially when they challenge me. I’m someone with no childhood training who became a professional dancer, an incredibly weak swimmer who learned how to sail, and now I’m taking voice lessons. I used to get nervous when I would present to large groups, and I figured the only way to get over that was to do something that scared me even more: singing in front of another soul. I won’t be on stage anytime soon, but I love how much I’m learning about vocal mechanisms.

 

Meet the EMEA Risk Operations Team in Warsaw!

Meet the EMEA Risk Operations Team in Warsaw!

Would you like to get to know the Superheroes who save money for Groupon? Meet some members of the SSC Risk Operations Team from our Warsaw office supporting EMEA and APAC regions!

Piotr

I lead the Risk Operations SSC in Warsaw. I work with team members and other managers on projects that aim to develop the team and improve its main functions. I love the fact that I can work with many interesting people with different background and nationalities who together make this team better every day! Thanks to the work of my team customers receives safe service. They can trust us and our merchants and continue using Groupon as a daily habit.

“Fun fact about me? I love travelling and New York City is my favourite place in the world! On the other hand, if I could do another job for a day, I’d definitely go beyond Earth and become an astronaut!”

Paulina

I work on issues escalated from Sales, Merchant Services and Resolution Team, focusing on for high risk accounts which can cause potential refunds or bad customer experience. We are trying to find the best solutions negotiating with partners and Sales department in order to avoid financial loss. In my team we all work cross-country for EMEA and APAC regions. I mainly support the Italian market but I also help with the UK, Poland and Germany. Our department also verifies high risk categories, checks periodically accounts with high percentage of refunds or negative feedback and works on improving internal procedures. I love this job because it gives me an overview of different markets, allows me to work with so many different people and also makes me feel that this role helps to resolve some important issues!

“Outside of work I am a violinist and I used to give concerts with several orchestras around Italy!”

Krzysztof

I handle approval process, generate reports, write macros in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and solve Partner queries. What I love about my job is the fact that I can automate repetitive tasks via VBA & iMacros which allows me and my team to save a lot of time and it allows to mitigate human errors. Our work aims at improving the Merchant-Groupon relationship which directly translates into better customer experience. I was surprised to learn that as Groupon employees we are evaluated based on our actual work and results rather then the amount of time spent in front of the computer!

“I like Excel. A lot. I run macros at home!”

Laura

In the Reconciliations Team we solve disputes with partners and ensure operations are being carried out according to the terms and conditions agreed by contract with our Merchants. The biggest challenge for me is building relationships with partners and getting them to agree with you even if the outcome is not always to their advantage. I like the impact we make by communicating with partners and providing them with solutions to their problems, which helps building relationships of mutual trust.

“One thing you probably didn’t know about me? I lived in Romania for a year!”

Roberto

My job is changing a lot specially in the last couple of months, when I started with Merchant Escalations for Local Italy and my main tasks were solving merchants’ claims and preventing risky merchants from being featured; now I am also supporting other markets like the UK and Arab Emirates, I’m responsible for Travel Escalations in all EMEA, for some preventive risk activities such as the Mass DNR process and the High Risk Subcategories and I am also responsible for reporting on our main activities to the IVPs in all EMEA and ANZ.

“In our department everything is a challenge, we do not follow rigid decision trees and we always have to rack our brains in order to find the best solution for the issue!”

Annabelle

I work within the Reconciliation Team. Mainly, I am investigating and solving disputes with partners who are contesting financial deductions applied to their accounts following refunds issued to customers. Sounds important, huh? Whew! We’re working towards smoothing any difficulties that may arise with partners, to make our cooperation easier!

“If I were to do another job for one day, I’d like to be a true Superhero! Also, I can juggle fire.”

Miguel

I provide operational support to our legal counsels across EMEA. Our main goal is to advise the business and provide support in order to make sure we’re compliant with all the legal requirements within all the countries we are advertising (e.g. requirements for medical deals, advertising specific kind of products, cross border sales rules). A secondary function is to lead or assist in the resolution of all conflicts and issues that have gone wrong and that could end up in legal proceedings and ultimately harming Groupon’s reputation in the market.

“Fun fact about me? I speak English, Spanish, French, Italian and some Polish, too! Also, I have 40 direct cousins.”

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? The most random thing you’ve witnessed at the office?

Annabelle: It was Groupon’s 6th anniversary party, themed Havana Night: I’ve just joined Groupon a couple of weeks earlier, but my team was already super friendly and we had a great night! We can’t wait for the next Groupon party this Friday: the theme is Rock & Roll!

Piotr: There were many great memories during all these years! The most unexpected and random thing that I remember was when Groupon CEO, Rich Williams himself, walked next to my desk, I had no idea he was visiting Warsaw at the time!

What do your parents think you do?

Piotr: They know I manage the team that basically saves the money for Groupon 🙂

Krzysztof: My parents think I sell vouchers!

Paulina: No matter what I do, they are convinced that I work too much but they love Groupon cause it brought me back home from Italy!

 

Would you like to join the Team?

If you would like to join #TeamGroupon and become part of the Risk Team, check out our currently available roles within the Merchant Escalations Team or the Reconciliation Team, reach out to Małgorzata Cichy who is currently recruiting more of these Superheroes!

Carolina Gómez – Sales Graduate Program in Madrid

Carolina Gómez – Sales Graduate Program in Madrid

CAROLINA GOMEZ

Groupon Madrid Graduate Program
Madrid, Spain
Joined: 2017

What’s your favorite conference room?

Flamenco dancing requires technical precision, lightning-fast movement, and emotional intensity, which Carolina—a lifelong flamenco dancer—has now applied to her Sales role at Groupon.

What’s your favorite memory here so far?

My favorite Groupon memory was the Christmas party. I got to meet many people out of the office and it was really cool. I especially enjoyed my first weeks here, hanging out with other graduates and getting to know each other after work. The office here is by the Retiro park, so when the weather was nice we used to have picnics for lunch. It was awesome.

Tell us about what you do in the Graduate Program in Madrid!

I started working in the Inbound Department with the Graduate Program, where I received training and the basis of what Groupon means. One thing I liked a lot is that in just two months my managers knew me very well and had an idea of where I could fit in the company. I like the fact that they look for talented people, no matter what your background is or how much experience you have. I started with three other people with totally different profiles. It’s great to meet and learn from such a wide variety of experiences and see what is positive about each one for a sales position.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love hanging out with my friends and little trips or excursions during weekends to disconnect. My passion is dancing, I’ve been doing it for my whole life!

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be?

would be a professional dancer for sure. But let’s make sure that on that specific day I can perform somewhere!

What’s your favorite local business?

My favorite local business is a little bar/restaurant called Pez Tortilla. I can find in one place my 3 favourite things: croquetas, tortilla de patata, and beers from around the world. It is always packed but if you are in town, you should definitely check it out!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us. 

I’ve been dancing flamenco since I was 6 years old and I have my degree. Still today, I practice after the office and dance professionally when I get the chance.

Who or what inspires you?

My parents inspire me because of how much I admire their way of raising kids. But in general, people who are motivated in what they do inspire me. When you put your heart on something, you spread smiles and that is awesome. Some of my coworkers are like that and it means a lot to me.

There are a lot of great stories at Groupon—what’s your proudest accomplishment so far?

Well, after the training week in Groupon we took our positions for the very first time and we were pretty nervous. I had never sold before and that week I closed four agreements! I am proud of myself not because of the partners that signed, but because of the way I confronted a situation that was so new to me. I feel it says a lot about you how you act when you can get out of your comfort zone.

What do your parents think you do?

My mum thinks that what I do is very complicated. She repeats all the time that out of nothing we find contacts and businesses and she says,  “I couldn’t do it.” My dad says that I am very energetic person so I fit here. He knows the field and really believes that Groupon is the best “school” on the job.

So what brought you to Groupon?

Before Groupon, I was doing an internship while finishing my degree. I was in a strategic marketing department in Telefónica. There I realized that the sales department executing those plans/guidelines was crucial. This is why I started to look for sales positions in big companies. I found Groupon Graduate Program on Linkedin the same afternoon and it was literally a sign. I applied and the next day I got a call for the interview. Groupon is unique because here in local business we learn about every industry: restaurants, leisure, courses, beauty, and health. It is not common to become an expert in that many things at once. That is what sets Groupon apart from other companies.

Daryl Billingsley – HRIS Analyst

Daryl Billingsley – HRIS Analyst

DARYL BILLINGSLEY

HRIS Analyst
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015

If you ever need someone to talk HRIS -or- majestic birds with, Daryl is your go-to guy.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Every workday is a new experience.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it?

I provide support for Workday (HCM) system-related functions via configuration and/or reporting.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Initially, increasing efficiency by creating more of a collaborative work environment.

Who or what inspires you? 

People still believing in HUMANity and my awesome BBoyz (sons).

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

Did I really just see someone in shorts, flip-flops, piercings, and exposed tattoos in a corporate meeting?! I thought it was a young, progressive, and promising startup.

What’s your favorite conference room name?

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

Cost-effectiveness, increased efficiency, timeliness, and reporting analytics.

There are a lot of amazing stories at Groupon. What are you most proud of?

I’m always proud of my HRIS and HR colleagues, but I’m most proud of my engagement in helping Groupon assist in rebuilding communal efforts and increasing diversity.

Have you won any awards? 

AJ Iniguez (from the Employment Brand team) told me I was awesome once.

What do your parents think you do?

Play on my laptop between meetings.

So you’re one of the co-chairs of B.I.G.! Tell us about your involvement with the ERG. 

I joined B.I.G. in order to assist in rebuilding our communal efforts, champion inclusion and diversity initiatives, and provide tools for professional development for the minority population.

What did you do before joining Groupon?

I worked fort a liquor distributor!

You have a life outside of Groupon, obviously, so what keeps you busy outside of work?

Rec with my sons, sports with my friends, and mastering the art of understanding that everyone is probably right in their opinion (regardless of logic).  😉

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would record dope vocals in a professional recording booth. I’m sure my bath-time vocals would give people in the studio all the chills, as they give me the chills. (Brrrr, that dude is COLD!)

So why Groupon? What keeps you excited to come to work every day?

Groupon is unique in itself and there is something to be said in doing your part to increase a corporation’s overall efficiency. Plus, who doesn’t want to have the option of wearing shorts to work? 😉

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Wait just a minute – –

There is a flying G-Cat – –

Where’s the sunroof switch

(Very nice!)

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I love to watch majestic birds. No, seriously, they’re awesome.

LaTrice – Member Experience Manager

LaTrice – Member Experience Manager

LATRICE

Member Experience Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2016

LaTrice talks BeautyNow, moving up at Groupon, and her experience volunteering to help a local high school’s volleyball team.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

During my time as a Social Media Moderator, which was part of the Customer Support team, the department celebrated Customer Support Week. During that week, there were random celebrations, but the funniest thing that happened was Ronnie, the VP of the department, passing out ice cream on a motor scooter. It was a hilarious thing to see.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? 

My position aligns customers with the various beauty merchants through the appointment setting process.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Being part of the Customer Support team was a challenge because of the various projects we had, being able to adapt to the various needs of the business, and aligning with customers’ needs as well.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by many people. My mother, my older sister, and my best friend are amazing inspirations to me. They are women who—in spite of various restrictions and limitations—continue to persevere and inspire change in the world.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

Everything moves at the speed of light. Do not expect things to remain stagnant or rudimentary because things move fast!

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

We work specifically with local businesses in the BeautyNow area. The majority of our merchants are local businesses that offer amazing services which most clients would not find without aligning with the BeautyNow area of the app.

There are a lot of amazing Groupon stories. What’s your biggest accomplishment?

I am very proud of every goal I made in my original department. Through hard work and dedication to my tasks, I reached every one of them. At the end of my tenure in Customer Support, I was a Customer Support All-Star and I used my experience and diligence to move out of the Customer Service department into the BeautyNow area.

What do your parents think you do?

When working on Social Media, “You mean to tell me that you sit on Facebook and Twitter? At least you’re getting paid to do what you do all day anyway!”

Why do you volunteer with Groupon Volunteers? 

When I learned that Groupon supported Employee Resource Programs, I thought it would be a great idea to take advantage of the opportunity to meet and engage with members of the organization in various roles and capacities. I wanted to participate with Groupon Volunteers because it allowed me to be a mentor. Working as a mentor with the Spark Program, I partner mentored three young ladies at a local grammar school. Through various fundraising efforts, we were able to raise over $300 towards replacing the school’s volleyball team uniforms.

What’d you do before Groupon? How’d you get here?

A winding road through many retail and professional environments.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I would be a fashion stylist for a major awards show.

Nicola Cattarossi – Managing Director Southern Europe in Milan

Nicola Cattarossi – Managing Director Southern Europe in Milan

NICOLA CATTAROSSI

Managing Director, Southern Europe
Milan, Italy
Joined: 2013

Nicola has taken on many challenges in his time at Groupon, including overseeing the success of multiple countries in EMEA. But the biggest challenge he’s faced here? It might not be what you think.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Groupon Italy’s participation in the Milano Marathon in April of 2015.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it?

I’m in charge of the local business in Southern Europe; I work with a Central Team in London to ensure the alignment of the country strategy with EMEA. I work with my Sales Managers to transfer the strategy into actions and—my favourite—I get to spend time with merchants listening to their needs to verify how Groupon can support them. In my time at Groupon, I have been responsible for many countries in EMEA including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Poland, and the UAE.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Singing at a karaoke bar in Dublin with the European Leadership Team in October 2016.

Who or what inspires you?

Talking with people from different nationalities, religions, cultures, education, and ages because they see things from a different point of view and they help me to have new perspectives.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

For the first weeks I was a bit a shocked, as I was coming from a very formal and structured work environment and here in Groupon (it’s a bit less formal and structured…you know). But in few weeks I started to love this new world.  🙂

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

I have the opportunity to talk with merchants every week and be the ambassador of Groupon presenting them the most updated version of our value proposition.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here?

I’m very proud that Groupon Italia has been recently invited in Roma by the President of the Italian Republic (Sergio Mattarella) and awarded for the huge contribution to medical research thanks to our charity campaigns.

What makes Groupon stand apart from sales at other companies?

I love how Groupon is helping companies in their digital transformation.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am very jealous of my wardrobe, nobody is allowed to touch it.

Marco Caspani – Senior Merchant Marketing Manager in Milan

Marco Caspani – Senior Merchant Marketing Manager in Milan

MARCO CASPANI

Senior Merchant Marketing Manager
Milan, Italy
Joined: 2012

Marco is sort of an adrenaline junkie…so it’s no surprise that he loves working at Groupon!

Take us back to 2012: what was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

I was both scared and excited by the speed of the job, but the energy and vibes you could breathe in the Milan office in March 2012 is something I will never forget!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

The first Groupon party because it happened just 12 days after I joined the company and I thought, “Wow, my new colleagues are so awesome!”

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

Organizing 10 merchant events in 10 different cities in 5 days. That was a really crazy idea! We wanted to reach as many as possible merchants with a tour from north to south of Italy in the shortest time possible. So we planned two events per day: one at lunchtime and one at dinner in different cities, travelling like pinballs up and down the country. We succeeded in reaching hundreds of merchants in the most important Italian markets, bringing them the new features and tools we were launching for them, and generating a great exposure to Groupon brand in the local markets.

So how does the work you do impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Thanks to events and trade shows, we have the chance to meet hundreds of local business owners who want to attract new clients and increase their revenue and brand visibility. We help them reach their business goals and in turn grow their local communities.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m multitasking every day since I work on many projects for different European countries. I have to keep track of all the activities on every single project, working closely with my colleagues abroad. Then I spend some time on EMEA video conference calls for updates and project coordination. The most challenging part of my job is working simultaneously on several events and trade shows. For example, right now I’m working on two fairs: one in Germany and one in France and five events: one in Spain, two in Italy, one in the UK, and one in Germany…all happening between March and April! So you need to work fast and be able to switch even faster from a project plan to another one without missing any detail. But don’t worry, I always find time for a nice Italian lunch with my colleagues!

Do you have a favorite trade show you’ve attended?

My favorite trade shows are definitely the travel ones, the ITB in Berlin and the TTG in Italy, probably because I love travelling and I feel part of the environment at those fairs. Last April, we organized an event inside the Tower Bridge in London for a selection of our top merchants and it was something magical! Merchants who attended the event are still talking about it 😉

Have you won any awards in your time here?

I won a Green Award in Q4 of 2017 for the results I accomplished that year!

So what keeps you excited to come to work every day? (Aside from the awards!)

At Groupon, you have to chance to switch between sales verticals, so it’s like working for multiple companies, meeting completely different merchants and business owners. There’s always something more to learn and discover; you never get bored of it. And the energy that the Grouponers have it’s something unique. There’s a lot of green blood running through our veins!

We know you love Groupon…but you probably have a life outside of these four walls. What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love snowboarding in the Alps and riding my motorbike during summer time. I love TV series and movies and I’m quite addicted to new technologies and digital world. And I travel…I travel a lot 😀

Tell us about what you do here! What do you love about it?

I’m responsible for all the Merchant Events and Trade Shows at the EMEA level. It’s the coolest job in the world ’cause it allows me to travel, work with colleagues from all around Europe, meet hundreds of our awesome merchants, and spread around the brand and positive vibes of Groupon. It’s inspiring to see how many clients and merchants love working with us and how we are changing the daily habit in local commerce.

So before you were in Marketing, you were on the Comms team. Can you talk about how you went about making that move?

When I joined Groupon there was no Merchant Marketing team. After a few months, Groupon decided to increase the efforts on activities for our merchants so I started working at 50% on it. After a while, I made the decision to move from Comms to the Merchant Marketing department fulltime. It’s been a great opportunity for my career at Groupon. At the beginning I was responsible for the Italian market, then I started working for Southern Europe, and today I’m responsible for all of EMEA, managing the activities for all top European countries.

OK, but what do you parents think you do?

They think I organize parties all around Europe, which is fine with me!  😀

Tell us about your involvement with Groupon Volunteers.

I’ve been volunteering for half of my life, so I was excited about Groupon’s volunteer program and decided to join it immediately. We’ve ran a lot of marathons since I joined and raised bucks for many ONGs!

Take us back to your life before joining Groupon. What were you up to then?

I worked for an American PR agency managing the press office and communications for big brands like Visa, Activision, and Bang&Olufsen. It has been an amazing journey since I first got a call from Groupon—the new start up that was on everyone’s mind in 2012—and I decided to start this exciting new endeavor on the Comms team.

If you could have any other job for one day…what would it be and why?

I think I would be a motorbike rider, racing in the MotoGP championship ’cause I like the speed and the thrill of a nice turn.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I pushed my motorbike at 250 Km/h (155 mph) once and it was an injection of pure adrenaline!

What’s your favorite local business?

Ah, I could pick one for every European country I’m travelling all year long, but let’s say that Terme di Sirmione in Italy on Lake of Garda is something truly unique. A spa resort where you can regenerate your body and mind, pampering yourself with an unbelievable view of the lake. Watch it yourself if you don’t believe me!

Who or what inspires you?

I can say that working with hundreds of colleagues and merchants all around Europe is very inspiring! We are changing how people live their daily life—discovering local businesses, trying new experiences they have never even thought about. And supporting the local businesses bringing new curious clients to them, getting extra exposure to their brands in their cities and beyond. When I talk with our merchants it’s really inspiring to see what we are doing for them. We are making a difference!

Julie Szudarek – President, International

Julie Szudarek – President, International

JULIE SZUDAREK

President: International
London, UK
Joined: 2011

“Julie has a great and evolving leadership style, well suited to the complex, fast-moving, digital space of Groupon. We see Julie listening to, learning from and connecting people across the business, especially between North America and International, pushing us to become more global, more effective and more successful,” Cathy O’Grady, Senior Director of International HR

Tell us about what you do! 

I’m based in London and run the international business for Groupon. I have an amazing team who bleeds Green. We all love driving customers to merchants and providing value and discovery to customers.

What are you excited to take on in the upcoming year?

I’m excited to continue to grow and evolve the international business. I’m excited about a lot of the HR plans for 2018 which are focused on continuing to drive employee engagement at Groupon.

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

We work hard every single day to find the best merchants across local, travel, goods and coupons for our customers. Local businesses are the core of our community and the work we do for these businesses is one of the reasons I love working at Groupon; I love small businesses because they offer unique things to me as a customer. I’m glad we can help them thrive and obtain new customers.

Speaking of small business, what’s your favorite local business?

In Chicago, it is a place that my kids call ‘the fire place.’  it’s a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in Lakeview called Sakura Teppanyaki and Sushi, and it’s also a Groupon merchant.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite memory was doing a dance on stage at the Local All Hands in Chicago with Darren Schwartz.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen at the office?

When I was interviewing in 2011, a zombie was walking through the office. It was March, not Halloween. I’m not sure what was going on…

So, based on that experience, your first impression of Groupon was…

“Wow, this is a really crazy place.  A week feels like a day and like a year at the same time; I think there is a problem with the space-time continuum.”

What inspires you?

Seeing my kids learn and achieve new things.  My very shy 8-year-old daughter composed a song for her violin and played it in front of the whole school. It was a huge accomplishment for her!

What do your parents think you do?

Go to meetings.

What did you do before joining Groupon?

I ran revenue management and strategy at Orbitz. Aaron Cooper, currently President of North America, hired me. One day when I was on maternity leave with my 2nd daughter, I told my husband that I had to work at Groupon. Aaron called me the same day. I think the stars were aligned and it was fate that I ended up working here.

“Local businesses are the core of our community and the work we do for these businesses is one of the reasons I love working at Groupon; I love small businesses because they offer unique things to me as a customer.”

So now that you’ve been here for a while, what keeps you excited to come to work every day?

I love our value proposition, it’s very unique and one of a kind: drive new customers for merchants and save consumers money and help them discover new things.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I have 3 kids…. i’ll say no more. But seriously, I like concerts, going to the gym, and trying new restaurants.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

Field hand or farmer; I find things like cutting grass and doing outdoor physical labor very relaxing.

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us.

Many emails I write are completely contained within the subject line.

CTO Colin Bodell visits Groupon Berlin

CTO Colin Bodell visits Groupon Berlin

ENGINEERING

New CTO Colin Bodell & VP of Engineering Paddy Benson visit Groupon Berlin HQ

6 February 2018

The Berlin Engineering team meets with new CTO Colin Bodell.

Members first. Relationships matter. A philosophy Colin Bodell believes in and lives by, using his first year at Groupon to meet team members around the globe. As part of a world tour to our Tech hubs, Colin recently visited our Berlin office, where he met and spoke with our Engineers. Listening and asking questions leads to trust and gives a real sense of a shared mission at Groupon; this can make all the difference in the world to be successful as a team and improve the remote communication which follows ahead.

To kick-off the knowledge sharing, the Engineering team held a Berlin Engineering All Hands where they introduced their work, team members, and responsibilities in detail to the two leaders. Paddy Benson, VP of Engineering, and Colin also introduced themselves and the way forward. Afterwards, ample of questions were asked in a Q&A that allowed conversations to go in any direction: from shutting down old services, to possibly operating in the cloud in the future or GDPR—the new European data protection plan—many interesting topics came up.

As the team was curious to get to know the new CTO better, Colin shared his leadership principles as well for everyone to learn from:

Recognition – Meet your team members and recognise their great work.

Transparency – As an organisation, be as transparent and meaningful as possible.

Communication – The key factor for success.

Ownership – The owner of a project, topic, or feature is driving success, but are just as strong as all of its contributors.

In addition, Colin believes in execution! Planning is good, but we also need to get stuff done, turning every “should” into a “will”. To focus on the task at hand is a mantra to live by.

He shared his awesome tenets for communication, interaction & meetings, that he encouraged the whole team to read and comment on. Engineers appreciated the direct exposure to leadership through the All Hands and 1:1 sessions were a great opportunity to encourage teammates to talk to each other directly. Now everyone’s pumped to keep creating together.

Lindsey Womack – Human Resources Business Partner

Lindsey Womack – Human Resources Business Partner

LINDSEY WOMACK

Human Resources Business Partner
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2010

Lindsey has held many roles in her time here (we count 5), all of which have enabled her to make a positive impact on the lives and experiences of local merchants, her direct reports, and finally the employees of Groupon. (We’re sensing a trend here.)

Tell us about your job! What do you do and what do you love about it?

As an HRBP, I support my business groups by helping them retain and grow talent. I enjoy working with people and finding ways to help employees grow in their career.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on in your time here?

I worked on a project with many team members from the business, recruiting, and HR to update our Onboarding program. This was a challenging project because it was global, and we were working with teams in different countries and timezones to streamline our processes. We wanted to ensure the new hire experience is the same no matter what office or team you join.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

In 2010, there was a monkey dressed like Santa Claus that came to the office. There are always crazy things happening in the office and you never know what to expect: Zombies on Halloween, T-Rex running down the aisles, Steve Harvey, All-4-One singing in the lobby, the Abominable Snowman, etc.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I first came to Groupon’s office in 2010 just a few days after moving to Chicago from Florida where I worked for a small company. I was drawn to the energy of the team, which at the time was dubbed the fastest-growing company ever!

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

I impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit by helping the business grow and retain talent.

There are a lot of awesome Groupon employee stories. What are you most proud of?

I started in 2010 as a Sales Representative and have been through many roles at Groupon including Account Manager, Team Lead, Divisional Sales Manager, and Human Resources Business Partner. While in my manager roles, I created processes to streamline onboarding for new hires in Merchant Support and created a program for Merchant Development to ensure recent graduates of our Onboarding program had the resources (mentors, training, etc.) they needed in order to be successful in their role. I’m proud of the programs I was able to create in sales and the career I have been able to build for myself at Groupon.

Have you won any awards during your time here?

President’s Club 2014! Also—funny story about President’s Club—my husband also works at Groupon (we met in college, but ended up here together). When I had found out that I won President’s Club, I let my husband, Jon, know that he would be my plus one. A couple days later, they sent out an email to all of the winners to join in a celebration, and my husband was on the email, too! Turns out we had both won that same year!

You’re a member of Women@Groupon; why did you join? What do you get out of it?

I joined Women@Groupon to expand my network and meet career-driven individuals who could offer different points of view. In 2013, I applied for the first mentor program for W@G and had a great mentor from our Legal department. It was so helpful to have my mentor’s perspective while I was going through my career changes at Groupon.

So backtracking a bit, how did you end up at Groupon from Florida?

Before Groupon, I worked as an Education Consultant at an audio-visual integration company in Orlando, FL. I sold A/V equipment such as projectors, screens, interactive whiteboards, and clicker systems to schools. My sister lived in Chicago and I wanted to experience living outside of Florida, so I packed up and moved without having a job, which was a little nerve-wracking. My sister told me about Groupon being the fastest-growing company ever at the time, and I decided to apply for a Sales role.

What are you up to when you’re not working?

I love to travel and have many places on my “to go” list. I also travel to Florida quite frequently to visit friends and family. I like to explore Chicago, try new restaurants, and love going to Broadway shows. I’m usually looking for a new workout to try and I also recently took up an adult tumbling class.

What’s your favorite view from the office?

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would love to be a Cirque De Soleil performer and miraculously be able to do all of the stunts.

What’s your favorite local business?

Kibbitznest in Lincoln Park: it’s a cafe/bar with nostalgic games, coffee, wine, light bites, and CDs and records that you can play.

What do you love about Groupon?

I love what Groupon can do for local businesses. When I was an Account Manager, I spoke to so many business owners and heard great success stories of how Groupon helped their business. Many businesses were able to expand in product or services.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York when I was in high school; it is my favorite tradition to watch it every year.

Meet Artur: kickboxing and fantasy novels and hitchhiking… all in a day for our CS agent in Katowice!

Meet Artur: kickboxing and fantasy novels and hitchhiking… all in a day for our CS agent in Katowice!

ARTUR

CUSTOMER SERVICE
KATOWICE
Joined: 2017

You are one of the very first people who started within the Katowice bunch. How has your time at Groupon been so far?
It has been great! While working in Groupon, I’ve met interesting people from all over the word, e.g. India or US. Time spent with them was one of the best experiences since I started my job.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m 20 year old IB (International Baccalaureate) student from Poland. I like reading fantasy, watching movies, training kick-boxing… my greatest dream is to hitchhike through all continents!

And what made you decide to apply for a job @Groupon?
Lack of dress code (slippers are allowed!), lots of benefits and a brand new office in the heart of Katowice.

Is there anything that surprised you @Groupon?
Absolutely brilliant chillroom!

 

Groupon in Katowice? Nice people, cool office and great benefits

 

What is your job about?
My job is about giving customers answers to their questions, concerns… basically helping them and often making their life a bit easier 😉

What is the funniest conversation you’ve had with a customer so far?
So, there was a customer, who besides asking me about Groupon business, also asked questions about me, my dreams, age, homeland, if I want to travel… we can always expect interesting conversations here!

It’s more than 100 people in the Katowice office now. What do you think about how Groupon is already affecting the local job market?
I think Groupon made a great opportunity for a lot of people to gain experience and to allow them to work & study at the same time.

Tell us, what is your superpower?
I can distract other colleagues from their tasks. Works every time!

What do you like the most about @Groupon so far?
Lots of breaks during which I can compete with friends in Just Dance 😀

Do you have any advice for people thinking about joining Groupon?
Just give it a go and see for yourself!

What about some holiday?
Going to hitchhike through Northern Poland soon!