Chelsey York – Sales Trainer in Scottsdale

Chelsey York – Sales Trainer in Scottsdale

CHELSEY YORK

Sales Trainer
Scottsdale, AZ
Joined: 2017

How many people can claim they’ve played My Little Pony with Luke Skywalker?

We see you’re a member of Pride@Groupon. Why did you join? 

There are so many companies, especially in Arizona, that don’t show much support for the LGBTQ+ community. As a member of the community myself, it is important for me to be an activist! Groupon has been a great place to work in regards to being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. There is support, acceptance, and celebration. Especially in Phoenix, being accepted in the community is a huge win. It has been one of the most comfortable places I have ever worked; a place where I feel like I can talk about my family and share that with others without hesitation.

Why is it important for Groupon to champion and support Pride@Groupon?

There is nothing an organization shouldn’t support when it comes to identity or communities struggling to be understood. Awareness creates education and education creates understanding. With any person or group of people that struggle with being accepted, or understood, the biggest way to combat that is by teaching others the normalcy of what they fear!

Who are some notable figures you’d like to recognize for Pride Month?

Harvey Milk…just a thank you. I would also like to recognize the members of a lesbian group who donated their blood years ago (aside from nuns’ blood, it was said to be the ‘purest’ demographic of blood) to an AIDS organization fighting for our community’s brothers struggling with the disease.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite Groupon memory is a culmination of things! I absolutely revel in seeing our reps grow and gain confidence, especially when they’ve been struggling for a while or are going through a “slump.” Supporting them and being able to see them turn things around into a more positive adventure is what keeps me coming into work every day!

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

Is there really a typical day for a sales trainer?! One of my favorite parts of my job as a trainer is encountering new things and challenges every day! I learn as much as I teach. Being a trainer consists of training material, best practices, quick check-ins, motivating trainees, and pushing everyone to succeed, but it’s so much more than that! Helping people learn how to lead themselves to success is the best part of my job.

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

The most challenging thing I have worked on here at Groupon is making sure my process is as refined as possible to make sure I can be 100% when coaching others to be successful. Groupon has so much information! I am still constantly working to get better in order to support this office to the best of my ability.

Who inspires you?

MY KIDS! They are incredible human beings; how could I NOT be inspired by them! Also, Christopher Hitchens for his amazing ability to think reflectively and critically, Stephen Hawking for his brain and capacity to learn and analyze, and the universe…what an incredible place to live and what amazing species to work alongside.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

My first impression of Groupon Scottsdale was it was an incredible balance of hard work and fun. They have found a great balance in creating an environment that values hard work but also knows how to have a great time!

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

I am consistently reaching out to local businesses I visit on a daily basis, training sales reps to be effective in finding the goals of small businesses all over the country, and finding ways to help reps impact their businesses in a more positive way. Small businesses can always benefit from extra support, and to participate in giving them a lifeline is worth it!

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

I can’t brag! I can give as much coaching as I possibly can, but it’s 100% up to the Business Development Representatives to implement what we teach them. If I can brag about anything, it’s about my amazing reps!

What do your children think you do?

“Mommy teaches grownups because they didn’t learn enough in school,” my 7-year-old daughter, Kaydence.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

Before joining Groupon, I was a sales trainer for a law firm helping people repair their credit…I loved it! I came to Groupon looking for growth and a new experience and it has more than delivered!

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? What are your hobbies?

I play some massive Skyrim, Call of Duty, as well as classic Nintendo games. I’m a professional UNO player and I read a ton of books about outer space. I am also currently getting my psychology degree. Other than that, my kids and I have some kick butt times together as my best friends. My girlfriend and our kids spend the majority of our time playing, laughing, and adventuring. Why else live?!

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

I would be an astrophysicist. I would love to research and learn more about my most passionate hobby. (I am horrible with mathematics, so I’m sure a day is a likely timeframe as I would probably be fired…)

What’s your favorite local business?

Are we serious right now!? THE TACO STAND IN LA JOLLA CALIFORNIA. Want to dispute it? I will not be taking counterarguments until you have eaten their fish tacos….

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

Groupon allows autonomy and personal goals and timeframes. Given the fact that I love to add personality to my job, I need a place that nurtures that and allows my professional self, as well as my silly self to marry well.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

The world needs a change —

Let’s start a revolution —

Local biz unite

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I used to play My Little Ponies with Mark Hamill…aka Luke Skywalker. My mom was one of his best friends. Also, I was Bigfoot for my daughter’s best friends birthday (picture added) and all the kids think he is real now.

Celebrating Juneteenth with Blacks in Groupon & Allies

Celebrating Juneteenth with Blacks in Groupon & Allies

BLACKS IN GROUPON
June 19, 2018

Celebrating Juneteenth 2018

with Blacks in Groupon & Allies

Blacks in Groupon honored Juneteenth by sharing food and history with our members and allies across the organization in Chicago. Everyone came together to learn about the history of Juneteenth and the significance of the food and drinks that were chosen, specifically as an honor to our ancestors, their perseverance, and strength. We were joined by members across all the ERG population including Groupon for Latinos, Pride@Groupon, as well as several members of the recruiting and human resource teams. Rounding up the evening, we also were visited by COO Steve KrenzerWe are thankful for all of the support we received for this event and look forward to bringing more inclusive and diverse energy to our Groupon family!

So what is the story of Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a celebration held every year on June 19th to acknowledge the Emancipation of the slaves of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Though President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the enslaved of those states were not told until June 19, 1865. With their newfound freedom, those who were formerly enslaved celebrated with certain foods, drinks, and clothing that had been restricted from indulging in as slaves. The celebratory food included barbecued meats, collard greens, red sugar water, etc. It was important for them to be allowed to gather and break bread as a family.

These celebrations continued for many years until those free of enslavement were harassed and killed when they tried to come together for a joyous occasion. However, times have changed and descendants are able to freely acknowledge the freedom of their forefathers. Many people don’t know what Juneteenth is or why it’s an important historical event which is why Blacks in Groupon & Allies wants to bring awareness to this holiday. It’s important for us to celebrate the great works and enduring strength of our forefathers by keeping the tradition of Juneteenth alive with traditional food and music; enlightening others with critical past events so we may all have a better understanding of how we—as dignified human beings—should move forward to ensure and promote growth and humanity for this country overall.

Written by BIG members LaTierra Randle and LaTrice

Chiara Coppola – Senior Recruiter in Milan

Chiara Coppola – Senior Recruiter in Milan

CHIARA COPPOLA

Senior Recruiter
Milan, Italy
Joined: 2011

Groupon veteran Chiara feels like Groupon Milan is her second home—a feeling she gets in part from the understanding and fun people she works with every day.

What teams do you recruit for?

I hire for all of our roles in Italy, but I primarily hire for our Sales organization.

What are some best practices for candidates to keep in mind if they’re interested in applying for a job here?

The #1 thing is that candidates should only apply to roles that they’re interested in and qualified for. Also, learn as much about Groupon as possible by checking Groupon.com and reading employee stories to learn more about what it’s like to work in Milan.

What inspires you?

I am inspired every day by the energy of our company. The relationships I have with my colleagues is great. We work hard but also have a lot of fun. Most important is we share success and difficulties together. That, for me, is a very inspiring way to work!

What’s unique about the teams you hire for?

I recruit for all kind of roles in Italy, but mainly sales roles. The synergy with the hiring manager is unique. Candidates really have the opportunity to learn about the role and the company and learn about the challenges and expectations of the role. In this way, they can have all the info to understand if they really fit the culture and the position. In my opinion transparency, from both side, is the most important thing during the recruiting process.

What are the top questions you get asked by candidates?

The most commonly-asked question is about their career path. Considering that the majority of our managers came from sales roles in Groupon, it is a pretty easy question to answer.   🙂

Another question is about onboarding and training. Candidates are usually very excited to work with, as they recognize we are in a challenging market, so they want to learn as much as possible before joining the field.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I joined Groupon in 2011. I was “shocked” by everything: the open space, the energetic people, the fun attitude to the job. New deals, new processes, new products took shape every day. I suddenly understood I was on another planet; a very different company from my previous ones.

OK, so you’ve been here a LONG time. What keeps you excited to come to work every day?

I have been working for so long that I feel I’m at home! Plus, at Groupon everything is a rush, so you don’t’ have a chance to become bored. The people are the best asset at Groupon and working closely with all these energetic professionals is very inspiring. In the end what I love most about my job are my colleagues.

Anything a candidate should know about how to work with you or what to expect from the recruiting process? 

They should expect to be questioned about the business during their interviews. We often role-play sales scenarios with the hiring managers, so they must come well prepared about Groupon and our business model.

Tell us about your Recruiting team! How do you work together as recruiters? 

My team is spread all over Europe. I have one colleague or more in each country in which we operate. We work really well together, sharing our experiences and best practices. And when there is an unusual workload in a country, you can always count on your team member for support.

What’s something that candidates are surprised to learn about your hiring team? Or Groupon in general?

They are always surprised by the informal environment, the flat hierarchy, and the culture that allows everyone to make a real impact on the business. And they are also pleased to learn about the free coffee and fresh fruits available for everyone.

Tell us about the Milan office!

The vibe is very friendly and welcoming. What might surprise someone about it is the understanding and synergy among people; it is something you can breathe in as soon as you first step into the office.

Ready for your next move?

Why should a candidate join Groupon Sales over another company?

Sales is a tough job, so if you have the opportunity to have fun while doing it, why not join us?

What’s the #1 thing you wish all candidates did?

Enjoy the recruiting process and decide to join us!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

I still remember the first Groupon party I went to. I had been working at Groupon for one week and was still getting accustomed to this crazy new world when I was suddenly at this event with a lot of young people, exhibition dancers, and an open bar…which I later found out is normal for Groupon parties.

Another great memory came a few years later at a team-building event that took place around Milan. Everyone from the Milan office and all of outside sales from Italy were involved in a lot of trials to prove their ability and win a competition. I don’t remember what my team ranked, but it was great fun and we laughed a lot!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

Every each month I try a new activity. I took at least one class of boxing, scuba diving, swimming, gym, dance, yoga…now it is riding time!

Heather Wilson – Senior Financial Analyst

Heather Wilson – Senior Financial Analyst

HEATHER WILSON

Senior Financial Analyst
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2017

Heather proves it’s possible to be both a Finance professional and a stunt driver in movies. Who says you can’t do both?!

Why is it important for Groupon to champion and support Pride@Groupon?

It is important for Groupon to support Pride@Groupon because there are unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and without supporting them, Groupon would be missing the opportunity to nourish its workforce. Also, it’s just the right thing to do.

Why did you join Pride@Groupon?

After being exposed to the overall culture at Groupon, I knew that I wanted to become actively involved in an ERG. As an out lesbian, I knew that Pride would be an ideal fit and I also saw room for improvement within the ERG.

Why did you decide to seek a leadership position in Pride?

Being Co-Chair of Pride@ has been a very rewarding experience thus far, giving me several opportunities to go outside of my comfort zone and grow as a leader.

How will you be celebrating Pride, both personally and professionally?

For Pride Month, I will be attending several LGBTQ+ events around the city, volunteering, and getting acquainted with the local Chicago LGBTQ+ community.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

Groupon is a very fast-paced environment that gives its employees both freedom and ownership. You are encouraged to drive change and own various processes. Overall, it is a very supportive company with lots of opportunities to learn and grow.

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

Groupon Goods is the entry point for many Groupon customers. Being the designated finance business partner for Goods, I help support this channel and in turn grow the Groupon customer base. I get to build out tools and reports that allow the Goods operation to have the best quality products to entice new and current customers back to Groupon. I also work on forecasting sales, calculating bonus compensation, sizing up the impact of various projects, and working with the business to understand the financial implications of decisions.

What’s challenging about your work?

The pace at Groupon can be challenging at times. New projects and priorities are constantly coming up on top of the standard responsibilities. This forces you to be adaptable and try to work smart, not hard, as much as possible.

Up for your next challenge?

Where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here? What keeps you excited to come to work every day?

Prior to Groupon, I worked at the American Red Cross as a Business Analyst. After spending several years there I was ready to move into a more fast-paced environment and also wanted to dabble in the tech industry. The fast-paced environment and constant change keep me excited about my work at Groupon. Also, my co-workers make it such a welcoming atmosphere which adds to my overall excitement about work.

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

I would enjoy being a car and motorcycle mechanic. I grew up racing motorcycles and building cars, so I love working with my hands. Mechanical work is also rewarding in that you have a finished, working product at the end of a project.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I once worked as a stunt driver in a film!

Andrew Stonehill-Brooks: Senior Human Resources Manager in Dublin

Andrew Stonehill-Brooks: Senior Human Resources Manager in Dublin

ANDREW STONEHILL-BROOKS

Senior Human Resources Manager – ER
Dublin, IE
Joined: 2017

From Dublin BBQs to cucumber sandwiches with Her Majesty, Andrew fills us in on his Groupon journey and creating supportive spaces for the LGBTQ+ community inside and outside Groupon.

We see you’re a member of Pride@Groupon. Why did you join?

When I joined Groupon, one of the first things I noticed in Europe was the strong leadership coupled with a strong employee base. We had an opportunity to strengthen the bridge between the two, and my outside experience in Diversity and Inclusion drew me to our ERGs. I honestly believe that these resource groups can play a fundamental part in ensuring that employees are empowered to make change and have a voice at the highest levels of the organization. I could see the willingness from senior leaders, and the eagerness from employees so I helped to create the Pride@Groupon team for International at our Dublin HQ.

What’s your role in Pride@Groupon?

Co-Chair

Why is it important for Groupon to champion and support Pride@Groupon?

Groupon already does value and support all of its Employee Resource Groups. It’s imperative that the business supports its employee base through groups like Pride as it empowers LGBTQ+ persons and their allies to work together to build something special. Without it, the employees feel unheard and often misunderstood.

What makes Pride@Groupon unique?

The team’s resilience and perseverance its so amazing. It can be tough to get these things started, and the Pride@ team have done a fantastic job so far.

How are you celebrating Pride Month?

This year, Groupon is Silver Sponsor for Dublin Pride…so I could not be any more excited!!

Who are some notable figures you’d like to recognize for Pride Month?

If we are talking historical, Oscar Wilde is probably the one that stands out the most for me. He has links to my home and to my new home in Dublin. Present day, it would definitely be my co-creator at the charity I work with, Lorna McArdle. Her tenacity and resilience really have been the beacon of light the team there needed to build something great from scratch and make it work despite all the odds.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

My favourite Groupon memory has to be my first month in the company celebrating our employees at our summer event in the Dublin office with a beautiful BBQ in the garden and some “interesting” singing on the karaoke machine. What would we do without the social elements?

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

In a nutshell, I am here to make sure everyone is treated with Respect, Integrity, and Inclusion in everything that we do. I spend time working with our international leaders to roll out best practices across the international teams, build solid and productive relationships with our Employee Representatives/Work Councils, ensure our Employee Resource Groups get the things they need, and support Local HR teams/management with their people agendas. The thing I love the most is the variety in my role and the commitment that the company shows to making Groupon a great place to work. As I said, variety is the most exciting part of my role so I honestly cannot tell you what a typical day looks like, as I have yet to experience one.   😉

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

4 Letters….GDPR! It has been a monster project across the business, but something that everyone has taken very very seriously. It was an experience to work on such a large scale, international project. From understanding the various new requirements in the regulations to engaging with internal and external counsel on the rollout, to building our processes, to supporting our local teams with an understanding of the implications and impacts on our employee experiences. At times it felt like there was no end to the project… but I am thankful to the rest of the HR/Legal team who have helped to get this over the line without completely losing our sanity!

Who inspires you?

My line manager Cathy O’Grady. She will go mad when she sees this as she rarely likes to take the credit, but it is well deserved. She really champions each and every one of her team members to grow in their roles and more broadly across the business. She is not afraid to “get her hands dirty” and stands by your decisions. What inspires me the most with Cathy is her honesty and integrity in getting things done without compromising on her values. Something I aim to be.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

My first week was crazy…lots to learn and the pace of the business is fast.. so you have to keep up. Having said that, the team around me were there every step of the way. It was a lot to take in, and it can feel like you are learning as you work. If I had to sum up the experience in three words, I would say Fun, Fast, and Flexible.

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

Everything that I do is for our employees and making this the best place to work for them. That, in turn, ensures our employees enjoy what they do and put their heart and soul into making the best experience they can for our merchant and customers. Ultimately, our employees are the voice, vision, and future builders of our platform, so we have to get it right for them first so they can get it right for everyone else.

What do your parents think you do?

My parents think that I travel to different offices all the time to make sure Groupon employees have enough food, drink, games, and parties apparently.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

I was in the UK. Brexit was a trigger for me to review my options and take the jump to a different country. I wanted to retain access to Europe but keep close enough to home. You could call it a “trial-run” to see how I cope living somewhere new.

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? What are your hobbies?

I continue to act as Chairperson for a charity that I co-created in England called “Support U.” The charity is a resource centre for the LGBT+ community and acts as a safe place for those that need help with all things LGBT.

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

I would be President of the US. Nothing too crazy, I am just keen to know whats really going on in those secret squirrel missions/bases.

What’s your favorite local business?

I would have to say so far my favourite Groupon local business has been my dentist, White Smile Dental. I started my braces on a Groupon deal, and they have been fantastic all the way so far. A real gem and a fantastic deal.

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

Honestly, Groupon is such a young company so my role has a big opportunity for impact, and I see almost every day how the decisions I make and actions I take directly improve the lives of so many Groupon employees.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

In May 2016, I was one of the specially selected people to attend a tea party at Buckingham Palace with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It was a wonderful day and I still cannot get over the lack of cucumber sandwiches!

Chris – Sales Manager in the UK

Chris – Sales Manager in the UK

CHRIS 

Sales Manager United Kingdom Joined: 2010

From blushing brides to trampoline parks, Chris is always on the lookout for the next big trend to make Groupon the hippest habitat for local businesses.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

Getting the first-ever wedding package deal featured is my favourite memory. My managers were not so sure how well the offer would sell, so I personally worked with the couples to ensure the process was smooth for the soon-to-be newlyweds, the business involved, and Groupon. The offer sold 31 weddings for £2000 in just a weekend and made national and local press.

What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

I work in the Midlands region bringing new businesses onto Groupon’s local pages with great offers ranging from restaurants, hair and beauty salons, and leisure activities like adventure golf and trampoline parks. A typical day involves face-to-face and telephone meetings, sourcing new businesses on the ground, and perusing social media to ensure my recent signups are happy and have been on-boarded successfully.

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

The beauty industry! I need to work on understanding all the options involved in beauty and hair deals when I’ve never dealt with the industry before. I don’t know how women deal with all the different options, salons, and services. Makes my head spin!

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I thought the business model was so simple it’s crazy it hadn’t been thought up before. I knew I had all the skills to perform excellently on the job and I just needed the business to take a chance on me.

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

I’m always searching for the next fad or trend; getting these onto the Groupon platform will ensure the end user comes back time and time again.

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

When the national sales figures were released in 2011, I was the UK’s #1 for the quarter.

Have you won any awards? 

I’ve been in the President’s Club three times!

That’s awesome! What advice would you give to a future Groupon Sales rep to have the success you’ve seen?

My advice would be to stick to the basics and don’t overcomplicate things. Keep doing the daily activity of phone calls, emails, lead sourcing, and knocking on businesses’ doors while remaining resilient, and the results will come. You need to remain confident in your own abilities, listen to what business partners want, and match a Groupon offering to theirs to achieve their goals.

What do your parents think you do?

When my mum calls me while I’m working from home she thinks I have the day off. (I genuinely am working, really, even when the Spurs are playing, I swear…)

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

I didn’t have a job, per se. I had recently left my job selling confidential waste disposal to businesses…yawn.

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

Groupon is the world leader at what we do. Any move would be like a side step or demotion. I’m really happy here.

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? What are your hobbies?

Keeping fit going to the gym, watching the Spurs (almost) win trophies, playing golf, traveling around European cities with the odd long-haul location thrown in and drinking gin…sometimes at gin festivals, sometimes wherever I am.

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

I’d be an astronaut! I’d take a picture to dispel all the flat earth rumours, plus I’d like to experience weightlessness.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

I’m Chris of Groupon – –

Selling great deals since the start – –

Cut me I bleed Green

Ravi Chellam Ponnusamy – IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator – Chennai

Ravi Chellam Ponnusamy – IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator – Chennai

RAVI CHELLAM PONNUSAMY

IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator
Chennai, India
Joined: 2013

As a global coordinator of all things IT, Ravi continuously strives to achieve a high level of performance while also enjoying the people that he works with.  He’s the consummate Grouponer.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

There are so many of them! Meeting my managers—Karin and Kelly—when they visited the Chennai office in 2013 is one of them. I also really loved my first visit to the Chicago office. Finally, I loved meeting my current manager Brian Burden and our Global IT Head Iain Phillips when they visited both Chennai and Bangalore offices in 2018.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? 

I am the India Team Lead and Systems Administrator for IT Support Services. I’m responsible for the day-to-day IT operations of both Bangalore and Chennai locations and serve as lead providing global coverage to our employees. As a Systems Administrator, I partner with the Global Help Desk and key business stakeholders to identify opportunities to automate processes, thus streamlining the way we work and simplifying daily life.

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

I have worked on a lot of projects, all of which have posed different challenges. My most recent challenge has been helping to lead the Windows 10 1709 upgrade. The project involved a lot of reporting, cross-departmental collaboration, and coordination amongst local team members.  After a lot of hard work and energy, I’m happy to report that we successfully upgraded over 2k computers globally!

Who inspires you?

Both of my managers. Karin Swanson for when I was a helpdesk analyst and Brian Burden, my current manager.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

That it was very open and friendly.

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

Groupon IT provides the systems, servers, and networking which are the backbone of any IT organization. Our work enables all teams to do their daily jobs effectively and connect with local businesses.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

I was a Systems Administrator at Syrma Pvt Ltd. where I worked on the night shift. While I was watching TV, I saw an ad for Groupon. When I searched Groupon, I saw there was an opportunity in IT available, so I applied for it.  I was interviewed by the US recruiting team and after interviewing with some IT managers over video, I was selected, and boom I am in Groupon.   🙂

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work?

I like to play XBox, watch ghost and crime stories, and I also have a stamp collection.

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

I have three answers for this because it has changed three times during my life. When I was a kid I wanted to become a military officer. Then, when I was a teenager I wanted to become a cricketer. But now  I am happy with my current role and would like to move higher up in the IT ladder.

What’s your favorite local business?

Ice cream shops 🙂

IT obviously exists at other companies…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

You don’t get a team which is so friendly just anywhere. Our managers support us in every way so we can move to the next level. That is the difference.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Groupon is the place —

Managers are Fun —

I would love to work for them

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am not always satisfied even when others are very happy with the final result of a project I do. I have a certain level that I want to achieve. That is me.

chennai badge

Pride@Groupon: LGBTQ+ 101

Pride@Groupon: LGBTQ+ 101

June 2018

Presents

                                                LGBTQ+ 101

The LGBTQ+ acronym

L: Lesbian

G: Gay

B: Bisexual

T: Transgender

Q: Queer/Questioning

+: Other groups, such as asexual, intersex, pansexual, polysexual, etc.

Rainbow Flag

The rainbow flag was originally commissioned by politician and gay activist Harvey Milk in 1978 as a cultural representation that would unite the LGBTQ+ community. The original was designed by Gilbert Baker and had eight colors on the flag and each symbolized a different value:

  • Pink for sexuality 
  • Red for life
  • Orange for healing
  • Yellow for sunlight
  • Green for nature
  • Turquoise for art
  • Indigo for harmony
  • Violet for spirit

The flag was met with praise and proudly used in San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. It was later put into production and simplified to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Today, the flag is recognized worldwide as a symbol of the people who make up the LGBTQ+ community.

So what is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is used to describe the gender(s) to which a person is romantically or sexually attracted. Heterosexual means being attracted to a different gender, while homosexual means being attracted to the same gender. For many, sexual and romantic attraction is not 100% oriented towards a single gender, which is what it means to be bisexual.

That leads to an important follow-up question: what is gender?

Gender describes the social construct specifying certain ways we can identify and express ourselves to fit a role between what is conceived to be “boy” or “girl”. Similar to sexual orientation, it exists as a spectrum with some identifying fully one way or the other and others identifying somewhere in between (or outside of). For someone to be transgender means they do not fully identify with the gender that matches their biological sex. Conversely, a cisgender individual is one whose gender does match their biological sex, though they may still identify with the social and behavioral norms that are considered to be more “masculine” or “feminine.” Cisgender individuals may even purposefully bend these norms in order to deconstruct the rigidity of gender roles. This is an area where drag culture developed from.

If sexual orientation and gender are independent of one another, why do we group them together? (LGBTQ+)

As a united LGBTQ+ community, we stand together because of the shared experience we face as sexual and gender minorities who are disadvantaged by heteronormativity, which describes the widely held belief that people fall into just two distinct genders and that heterosexuality is the only norm. It appears everywhere in the form of any institutions or normalizing practices that privilege cisgendered heterosexuality as fundamental and discriminate against those outside. Together we share the experience of being queer, which is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender.

Why are allies so important?

Societies are and should be configured to support the needs of the majority. To create a society which is inclusive and supportive of all people the needs of minority groups need to be met as well. This means that in practical terms civil rights issues are minority rights issues. In a democracy minority groups have less political power by design, which means that if the rights of those minorities are to be protected, those communities need the support and the votes of those in the majority. The best way for allies to contribute is to be aware of the issues faced by others, provide support at an individual level by listening and acting on their values, think critically about how minority needs can integrate with the broader social fabric, and vote accordingly.

Why Pride month?

June has been an important time for us as LGBTQ+ individuals, as it marks the anniversary of an event that acted as a paradigm shift for LGBTQ+ rights and recognition: the Stonewall Riots. For years, the LGBTQ+ community was continuously targeted and punished for who they loved or the gender with which they identified. This came to a head in the 1960s in New York City.  The Stonewall Inn—a known gay bar in Greenwich Village—was raided by NYPD on an almost weekly basis. During one of these raids, in the early hours of June 28th, 1969, the heat was starting to turn up, police started harassing patrons, and many from the bar were starting to resist. A riot soon broke out and ended up lasting many days, emanating to the surrounding neighborhoods. This event acted as a milestone to the struggle and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community.

The following year, a parade in New York City was organized to mark the anniversary of the riots and reminding others that we as the LGBTQ+ community need to be recognized, appreciated, loved, and respected. Year after year, more cities joined the movement to mark the occasion, with many of these parades later becoming integral to cities’ identities. While communities and peoples’ perspectives have changed and evolved since then, it is important to reflect on our history and celebrate ourselves and the community at large.

With every Pride parade, we have marked the occasion with huge strides in LGBTQ+ rights, most recently with the recognition in the United States of same-sex marriage. However, as of March 2017, only 23 of the 195 countries of the world countries recognize same-sex marriage and as of August 2017, 73 countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality. These days, we are marching in solidarity for our LGBTQ+ family who do not have a voice while still reminding our communities at home that we are loud, need to be heard, and need to be accepted.

Learn more about the Stonewall Riots:

What’s Pride@Groupon?

Mission: Pride@Groupon strives to ignite passion within its fierce membership, by supporting the queer and ally community with respect, integrity, and inclusion while continually pushing to make life less boring.

Vision: Pride@Groupon will be an Employee Resource Group with strong engagement and support from its community internally. Externally, Pride will be a voice for its underserved consumer/merchant segment and attract a diversified workforce through outreach and partnerships. Exemplifying that diversity is not simply ideal to strive towards, but is necessary for a business to thrive.

 

The authors of this blog post are proud members of Pride@Groupon and are composed of LGBTQ+ people and their fierce allies:

Heather Wilson – Co-Chair

Kevin McIntosh – Co-Chair

Leandro De Oto – Culture Chair

Dominic Vernasco – Marketplace Chair

Sarah Hill – Finance Chair

Nicole Calcagno – Communications Chair

Duncan Deutsch – Seattle Site Lead

Owen Buehler – Bay Area Site Lead

Travis Cohen – Chicago Site Lead

Ellen Stammers – EMEA Analytics Lead in London

Ellen Stammers – EMEA Analytics Lead in London

ELLEN STAMMERS
EMEA Analytics Lead
London, UK
Joined: 2017

Pronoun: She/Her

Navigating the local nuances of international markets with Ellen, EMEA Analytics Lead in London.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

The one that stands out the most is when Julie Szudarek, President of International, delivered drinks while on a motorized cool box! It was just so random yet perfectly Groupon.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

I work in the Analytics function of the Revenue Management team in London. I’m responsible for building and maintaining many key Tableau dashboards and reports that are used across the business. We also work on key analysis pieces that help drive business decisions. I love the fact that the role allows us to work with teams throughout the International business and across all areas of the business from Marketing to Local, Goods, Getaways, etc. The great thing about working with so many teams is we can build relationships with each team which helps us solve problems more efficiently.

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

Some of the projects we work on come over from the US and these are probably some of the most challenging projects we face. We first have to identify whether we have everything we need to create it for the International business. Then, we have to work through expanding it, from being focused just on North America to include all our International countries with the various nuances each country brings. I love the challenge! It’s really fulfilling when you reach the end of each project, especially when you thought at one point it may not be possible!

Who inspires you?

As cheesy as it sounds, I would have to say, my parents and my partner. My parents always told me I could do whatever I put my mind to and I try to live by that. My partner is my other big inspiration as he spends more time living and breathing his profession than anyone I know (even in his spare time). He has this continuous drive, ambition, and determination that I am constantly in awe of.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

That everyone was so friendly and welcoming.

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

We help with supply analytics to help deliver great supply that keeps customers coming back. We also work closely with Marketing and Merchandising teams to help give exposure to the amazing content being sourced.

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

I got nominated for a Green Award so that was pretty special.

What do your parents think you do?

I think my parents just tell everyone that I do stuff with data!

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

Before joining Groupon, I was working as an e-commerce analyst and prior to that, I spent four years working at LivingSocial. I saw a job advertised at Groupon and contacted one of my old LivingSocial colleagues who works at Groupon and he actually suggested that I would be happier in a different role. I was invited in for an interview and the rest is history!

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work?

When I’m not at work I like to spend time with my partner, friends, and family. I love photography so when we travel I’m often with camera in hand. Cooking is another one of the things I love as well as dining out…especially when you get a Groupon deal for an amazing restaurant!

Work with me!

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

Dog walking! I love dogs so the opportunity to spend an entire day walking around parks sounds like a dream especially since having our own dog isn’t possible just yet.

What’s your favorite local business?

Our local greengrocer. He always has a smile on his face and is so happy to see his customers!

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

What makes my role at Groupon unique is the variety of teams I work with and the vast array of projects I’m involved with. No two days are the same.

Tom Eijssen – Senior Business Development Manager in Amsterdam

Tom Eijssen – Senior Business Development Manager in Amsterdam

TOM EIJSSEN
Senior Business Development Manager
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Joined: 2010
It’s always exciting to hear stories from Grouponers who have been around since the earliest days of the ‘pon. Today, Tom talks about what it was like to join during the “cowboy days” of Groupon in 2010 and how his career has evolved over the last 8 years.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

I remember the early days of Groupon in 2010-2011. We had just launched the platform in the Netherlands and had strong targets to close at least 20 deals per month. The Samwer brothers from the Rocket Internet group in Germany came to the Groupon Amsterdam office to organize a 121 with every sales rep. Luckily, I had signed enough deals per month to get my contract extended. Of course, I always enjoy the famous Groupon Amsterdam parties and the subsequent long drives home “back to the south” the morning after each one.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

I’ve been working for Groupon Benelux’s travel department now for six years. Before I joined the Travel team, I worked on Local sales and led a team of four account managers. Currently, my main responsibilities are reaching out to new business hotels and farming relationships with existing ones. What I love the most about my job is being able to ”own your own business” within Groupon Getaways. You’re entirely responsible for your own revenue, campaign forecasts, and running your own business. And since 2010, I’ve worked remotely, which means I have a professional home-based office and travel 1-2 times per month to our headquarters in AMS / Brussels.

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

Every day is challenging, but the most challenging project was a transition in our teams 1,5 years ago here in EMEA. We were split up into hunters (business development) and farmers (account management) sales roles. Later this year we will go back again to hybrid sales roles which means we will get our ”own shop” back. The hunter role was a really nice learning period and I think we will grow furthermore with our current knowledge and experience in the field for the future.

Who inspires you?

Betty Bajwelcwajg, my interim manager from France during my hunter period. She is really a motivational person who got me back on track regarding reaching targets. Number 1 is Gerhard Jansen, our director in EMEA, he is really doing everything to make sure everybody is happy. Chapeau for these two!

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I was hired in 2010. At the time, Groupon was only active in the USA and here in Europe we had MyCityDeal. Groupon bought MyCityDeal just a few years later. I started when the company was a startup. It was fun working with energetic people with crazy sales targets and a highly driven culture. Looking back, it was really a stunning time. My first impression was like: “Ok, let’s do things and make sure things will happen.” It was a cowboy culture. I never expected I would still be here after eight years, but it’s true, I’m still a “Grouponer.” Great people and managers helped me decide many times to keep going and be green, maybe forever.

Groupon has changed a lot since 2010…what’s it like now?

Groupon has evolved upwards and become a more mature, professional company with more structure. Even in 2018, though, things still change a lot, but the most important rule is that change is good.

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

I approach hotels and convince them to work with us on an extranet campaign in EMEA instead of using the old vouchers system. It’s a much better experience for customers, Groupon, and myself in personal development. Also, because it’s a mobile-friendly extranet system means we’re on the right track. The more hotels we can provide to our customers, the more we can impact growth in Getaways.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

Before Groupon, I was working in sales in the gym equipment industry. I was called by Tom Dalic a CEO in 2010. After one meeting I signed my first 3-month contract for MyCityDeal, which later became Groupon.

Sales roles obviously exist at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your job at Groupon unique? 

Of course, the product: Groupon delivers a unique product in the marketplace. As a salesman, the bonus is of course really good compared to other companies, I think. If you overperform in sales you can earn a lot at Groupon. Also, Groupon is really stunning; I never thought I could work for such an amazing brand worldwide. The culture and the people make life less boring.

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

When I succeeded in reaching and surpassing my targets YoY and MoM in my hybrid role. This was reflected on my five-year Grouponiversary with a lot of presents from my team and of course my black Groupon track jacket.

Have you won any awards in your time at Groupon?

Yes, the Green Award; I won an iPad and Groupon Credits.

What advice do you have for someone who is just joining Groupon Sales?

Believe in yourself and act like it’s your business.

What do your parents think you do?

Um good question, ha! They know for sure I’m dealing with hotels. Maybe I need to give them an update on what we do in 2018 within Groupon Getaways.  😉

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? 

Visiting friends, going out with my children, and spending quality time with my wife. Going on trips to Belgium and Germany and working in my garden so I can really relax and come back to earth.   😉

What’s your favorite local business? 

Restaurant de Leuf—a local Michelin 1* resto which is always live on Groupon. And of course, I signed it first!    😉

Tell us something that might surprise us about you. 

On Sundays, I love hanging out with our family Labrador dog in the forest and letting her swim and play for hours.

CTO Colin Bodell’s first of many visits to Groupon Bangalore Dev Centre

CTO Colin Bodell’s first of many visits to Groupon Bangalore Dev Centre

CTO Colin Bodell’s first of many visits to Bangalore Dev Centre
ENGINEERING
CTO Colin Bodell’s first visit to Groupon Bangalore Dev Centre

Colin Bodell’s first of many visits to Groupon’s Bangalore Dev centre instilled great confidence in the talented engineers working far across the globe toward Groupon’s long- and short-term strategies. On the first day of his visit, he addressed all of the engineering teams present in Bangalore: Platform and Data, Goods, Marketing, Customer Support Engineering, and Data Science. As part of his presentation, he introduced himself, his vision, strategy, and philosophy.

The key takeaways were:

  • People and relationships: his investment in people and building relationships in order to build a great team
  • Execution through ownership: his belief in getting cutting-edge execution done through ownership
  • Diversity: why and how he has been a leading proponent of diversity through forums such as Grace Hopper
  • Engineering links back to Groupon’s strategy: seeing how Bangalore engineers’ daily work can tie back to Groupon’s multi-year strategy
  • Communication as a key to success: he talked about his communication tenets

Over the next few days, he spent time diving deep into the major programs run out of Bangalore and meeting one on one with engineers. He listened intently and asked questions to the engineering teams and individuals in order to understand their achievements, aspirations, motivations, and explain his strategy in return. Engineers were super motivated by Colin’s energy and by having the accessibility to an SVP-level leader for the first time in Groupon Bangalore. 

It was not all work though. He also attended a potluck along with the engineering teams, met with all the diversity engineers of WiTB, and offered to extend any sponsorship/support to the group. On the last evening, we had a chance to see more of his fun side during an evening poolside dinner where he shared anecdotes from his past experiences, his journey, etc.

Lekshmy P R – Software Development Engineer in Bangalore

Lekshmy P R – Software Development Engineer in Bangalore

LEKSHMY P R 

Software Development Engineer – Push Marketing Engineering
Bangalore, India
Joined: 2013

An exciting innovator on the Push Marketing team, Lekshmy makes sure that Groupon’s communications are impactful and drive people to the website.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

The 2017 Grace Hopper Conference in Austin, Texas. It was my first time travelling internationally. It was amazing to meet all the wonderful women working in Groupon Engineering from around the world. It was a very well-organised event by Groupon. A gang of 60 women from our offices across the globe came together with the goal of hiring and branding. We were one of the Gold sponsors, with a grand stall next to LinkedIn and Microsoft. We had 8 iPads where the students could check themselves in and attend their interviews.

Can you talk more about your experience at Grace Hopper and what you learned as an engineer?

I attended multiple sessions by leaders from other companies like Google, Amazon, etc. The person who inspired me the most was Anna Patterson who won the Women of Vision Award. She was a mother of three but still led the Artificial Intelligence team at Google. Her journey was something I could really relate to. Her speech had a really big impact on me as an Engineer because I always thought that married life could challenge my career as an engineer. But after meeting all those successful women who have great careers along with wonderful families, I was so moved and inspired. My perception totally changed.

Each time I heard those amazing women speak, all I could think about was when I would be able to present a session at Grace Hopper. My career goal is to have a journey that’s significant and inspirational enough to encourage women to stay with Engineering and not shy away from a career in Tech.

 

What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are now?

I joined Groupon as a fresher. Since then, Groupon has moulded the engineer inside me to think outside the box, learn, experiment, attempt, fail, and succeed. My first role was really challenging and exciting. As I had prior experience with RoR in college, I was paired up with my mentor to design, develop, and roll out a content management system that could run the customer support page FAQ and the first level of the questionnaire.

This was my first experience in designing a service with such a scale. Perhaps the first time I dealt with the real-life problems of scaling, caching memory leaks, etc. As I was a fresher just out of college, my designs were reviewed and revisited multiple times. I had to redesign and redo my coding multiple times. After six months of design, implementation, and testing effort, we were able to successfully launch the service to production. Though it missed the initial deadline of five months, I was on cloud nine. Those six months were a great learning experience to learn more about the systems, frameworks, and real-life challenges at Groupon. I’m really thankful to my mentor for trusting such a big assignment to me as a fresher.

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

I work as a developer for Push Marketing team in Engineering. We handle sending emails, push notifications and SMS. I love the way Groupon challenges its engineers with new and innovative problems. I deal with one of the most important services in the Groupon Push flow. My service takes care of sending emails, push notifications, and SMS to customers. We deal with multiple services to pick the relevant deals and the best offers available for a customer.  

The service is developed Play Framework using Java. It handles a scale of 8KTPS. We send almost 300mm emails and 100mm push notifications every day. We use rabbitmq for the asynchronous queuing of messages before they are processed for sending.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I love swimming, dancing, singing, driving. If not any of these, I will just go shopping.   🙂

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?

Of these 4.5 years at Groupon, there were many exciting and challenging tasks I got to work on. The most challenging one being establishing the performance of a legacy system that handles a scale of 8KTPS. Debugging, analyzing, configuring the infrastructure, load testing, and slowly improving the performance without affecting production were all challenging tasks.

Join us in Bangalore!

What was your first impression of Groupon?

All I knew was that Groupon sold restaurant and spa deals.

What do your parents think you do?

They think I am like those geeks who spend 90% of their time on laptops, like they normally see in movies.

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

My team and I ensure that the right deals reach the user every day without them having to search through millions of deals.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I acted in two episodes of a TV serial. As I pursued dancing and singing from a young age, I was a regular performer for various events at school and club programmes. One day when I was around 10, one of my neighbours who was directing a dance-based TV series gave me an opportunity to perform in two episodes.

Have you won any awards during your time here? Green Award, team award, etc.?

I have won four quarterly awards, Question of the Month AwardGEEKon Local Award, and the most important Employee of the Year Award.

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

Groupon invests a lot on an employee’s personal development, be it the mentorship program, personal growth programs, training sessions, or workshops. We have many committees where we can have discussions about tech. Sometimes people just ping on HipChat to get together for a table topic discussion.

What’s your favorite part about your team’s Software Development process?

We have a very direct impact on the business’s bottom line.  The emails and push notifications we send drive business to the website. The variations in the open/click rates of our emails with each feature are exciting as they signify the impact on revenue.

We see that you are a member of Women@Groupon.  What do you like about being in this ERG?

Women@Groupon Bangalore is a very positive forum that has widespread activities like mentorship programs and training for women. The togetherness among the women in coordinating various activities brings a liveliness to the office.

What’s been surprising about working here?

Be it a fresher or a senior, Groupon has challenges and opportunities for anyone who would like to try out new things in their career.

Vim or emacs?

VIM. More user-friendly commands than shortcuts I feel.

Name your favorite programming language.

Ruby

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs