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.

Hannah Bright – Management Accountant in London

Hannah Bright – Management Accountant in London

HANNAH BRIGHT

Management Accountant
London, England
Joined: 2017

Favorite view from the office?

Self-proclaimed Excel geek and Accounting lover Hannah shares how her experience at a Big 4 Accounting firm prepared her for a career at Groupon.

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

I am part of the EMEA Accounting team based in London. We look after the accounting for various entities in EMEA. Right now I work primarily on our Belgium and United Kingdom entities, as well as on various tasks for our EMEA region. What I love the most is that it’s a fast-moving environment so it never gets boring. For example, I was recently given the opportunity to travel to a couple of the other offices such as Paris and Warsaw. It’s been busy but has also been so to great meet and work with new people.

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

Straight out of school I joined the School Leaver Program at Ernst & Young. I was just out of school when I joined EY, and working for one of the Big Four at 18 was a bit of a shock if I’m totally honest; I definitely was not ready to balance working long hours as well as studying for my accountancy exams. I was really devastated when it didn’t work and was a bit lost with what I wanted to do as I always had my heart set on the world of Accounting.

I then joined a Mini Prime Brokerage on the accounts team. This was the opposite of my previous experience: a small firm with about 50 employees in total. Here I learned more than I could have ever imagined. I became a huge Excel geek and by the time I left I was running the month-end process for the company, it was a huge responsibility. I was there for over two years, but when I heard of the opportunities at Groupon I couldn’t miss the chance. I felt like I had a career opportunity at Groupon rather than just a job.

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

Groupon is continuously growing, there is always something changing and something new is always on the horizon. It can be challenging at times, keeping up with the changes but I get to work with some really experienced colleagues that are all for sharing their knowledge which allows our team to grow so it’s a great opportunity. I am again, studying for my accountancy exams and Groupon is invested in my professional development. It is a different environment to my previous experience which is much more suited for me. I get the support of colleagues who have been through similar experiences which is a huge help when finding a balance between work, studying and everyday life.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite Groupon memory was our trip to the We Work festival. A number of us were invited by the company for an all-expense-paid weekend trip. I got to spend a weekend with my colleagues/friends, and the biggest highlight was that I got to see Florence and the Machine which was always on my bucket list! It was a great way to network. Another one has to be the Halloween Quiz we had. Our team name was the ‘Skelle-tubbies’. We had the best masks that moved when you spoke, we won best-dressed team!

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

When the new Revenue Recognition Standards came into place recently, we had to amend the way we recognized Business Developer’s Commissions in EMEA. There was a lot of challenging work in the beginning but it’s been really rewarding. I worked to develop this new process, and I post entries across multiple countries which has been a first for me.

Who inspires you?

A bit different, but Ellen DeGeneres is an inspiration for me. She is commonly known for being a talk show host but she is much more than that. Her career was not plain sailing and she was awarded a Freedom Medal from President Obama for her courage. She speaks for those who feel they can’t, uses her platform to gift generous donations to those in need, isn’t afraid to be different, and she stands up for what she believes in. We need more Ellens in the world.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

In all honesty, I was nervous to work for a big company again… but I was so relieved it was a completely different atmosphere. My team is great and they were so welcoming when I joined.

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

Like I mentioned before, the most challenging task was probably my biggest accomplishment in the last year. It was a new revenue recognition that hadn’t been done in Groupon before and I got to work with many teams across EMEA. I have also recently been chosen to help on the cash reconciliation transition to the new team in Poland. I’m really excited to travel and meet new people. I get to share what I have learned in the last year. I’ve surprised myself with how much I have learned and how far I have come.

What do your parents think you do?

And I quote… “Sum things up.”

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’m most often socializing with my friends or family. I love food, so it normally includes going out for dinner or cooking new recipes and hoping for the best!

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

I would probably find a job where I could play and look after dogs all day, that would be the dream!

What’s your favorite local business?

The Goudhurst Inn, a local pub. It does the best roast dinners!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Nothing is better – –

Than a “bright” sunny day in – –

Summer in London

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

You can spell Hannah backward and forward. (Cue the laughs.)

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Steve – Finance Manager in London

Steve – Finance Manager in London

STEVE

Finance Manager
London
Joined: 2012

Last year, a few members of our Chicago-based Finance team had the chance to relocate to London in order to establish a center of operations for international finance. Steve was one of those lucky Finance Managers who made the move, bringing his expert karaoke skills across the pond to Groupon’s London office.

So tell us about your job! What do you do every day? What do you love about it?

I work in the Financial Planning and Analysis organization, which forecasts our performance and helps communicate our results to senior leadership.  We’re responsible for all countries outside of North America. It’s very interesting to interact with the folks who are running the business day-to-day and to see their perspective on what makes their business tick. Learning happens on both sides of the table. The exposure is great as we have meetings with everyone up to the CEO.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

We had a mariachi band come to the office one day to play for us. They were fantastic; it’s the kind of randomness that makes working at Groupon fun and unique.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by the hard work of the team that reports to me. They have incredible drive, passion, and dedication to moving the ball forward on new projects and making us work smarter every day.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I was really impressed with how passionate everyone was; my team’s function was relatively new when I joined, and everyone was excited to establish what our focus should be and how we could push forward our team’s mission. I think that kind of “blank slate” made the first few months—which are normally stressful or slow in a new job—super fun and engaging.

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

My team’s work is used by the leadership as a source of truth to help them understand how their decisions are shaping the results of the business. The finance team is always working to understand how customer behaviour is reacting to a change in how we operate or a new product we offer.

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

I think taking over the international FP&A team earlier this year was the biggest challenge. I had never done FP&A before, and the team was also relatively new to the business. We also need to work across a few different time zones, as my manager is in Chicago and we also look after Japan and Australia.

Your role exists in other companies, so what makes your job at Groupon unique?

For me, it’s always been the great way that finance works day-to-day with the leadership teams operating the business; we aren’t in our own silo but instead part of the greater team. This leads to great opportunities to get your thoughts heard and to help with key decisions.

What’s your biggest accomplishment while working here?

18 months ago, a group of us from the Chicago office relocated to London to help establish a centre of operations for the international finance team. We were able to transfer some of the knowledge and process we established in North America’s business, as well as learn a whole lot from the business leaders in our EMEA and APAC businesses. I think it was a great success and we’ve been able to build a stronger global team from the project.

What do your parents think you do?

I’m not sure, but I hope they think I operate a giant coupon printing press, monitoring ink levels and stressing out about card stock quality…

What’d you do before Groupon and how’d you get here?

I was in investment banking prior to joining Groupon. Investment banking was super presentation-oriented as opposed to a ton of analysis, which was the piece I was more interested in. I wanted to work in a more casual and fast-paced environment, so I was drawn to Tech. I actually just applied straight through the website and got a response the very same day! I remember being the most formally-dressed person in the building when I came in for my interview and was surprised to find that a lot of the other people I interviewed with had similar backgrounds to mine. They came from more traditional finance roles and then switched over to the tech industry.

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

Maybe a head chef? I love food and wish I was better at making some for myself!

What’s your favorite local business?

It has to be “The Orange Buffalo.” It’s a Buffalo wing food truck in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London, and it reminds us of home!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am the finest karaoke performer on my team.

What are you up to when you’re not at work?

I love to travel; I just reached 33 countries the other day. Living over here has opened up the door to a ton of cheap flights to great places. Since moving here I’ve traveled to France, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Poland, Morocco, Japan… the list goes on!

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Ricardo Rehkopf – Director of Global Payroll & Shared Services in London

Ricardo Rehkopf – Director of Global Payroll & Shared Services in London

RICARDO REHKOPF

Director of Global Payroll & Shared Services
London, UK
Joined: 2013

We had no idea Ricardo was such a big deal in the payroll world. He has been featured in Payroll World Magazine where he talked about how Groupon manages global payroll and compliance. Today, he’s on the blog talking about his global team and his love for travel and cooking.

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

The work that my team and I do globally—essentially making sure that all employees and vendors get paid accurately and on time—contributes substantially to satisfaction, motivates productivity levels across the entire business, and thus helps Groupon better achieve its overarching business objectives.

What’s your biggest Groupon accomplishment?

I’m very proud that my team and I were able to standardise and centralise all of Groupon’s payroll processes, covering all countries in all their legal, financial, procedural, and organisational complexities paving the way to effectively utilise one single system. I am also very proud to have done the same for our AP Shared services in India. They’re a fabulous team to have and are now processing all international AP and employee expenses for EMEA & APAC.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

This past summer, we went on a treasure hunt to discover London around our office. Looking for clues, finding the treasure, and having a few drinks along the way was a lot of fun!

Who or what inspires you?

My friends and family inspire me, as well as some famous entrepreneurs and writers, like Richard Branson and Paulo Coelho.

So what’s your job like? What do you love about it?

I work in the Payroll department and International Trade AP Shared Services, managing all of our countries around the world. I make sure all payroll processes are in place and that we all get paid accurately and on time. I have a team helping me with the payroll operations based in Bangalore, Milan, London, Paris, and Dublin, and my team in the International Trade AP Shared Services sits in Bangalore.

I’m based in London and I travel to all the different locations where my teams are, I also travel to Chicago where my manager is: Jenni Weinacht. I love my job because it is fun, every day is different, I like the different cultures and diversity I work with, and my team is so great to work with.

Working at Groupon has provided me with exposure to a great deal of network outside and inside Groupon and learning experience in the e-commerce industry. I’ve been a panelist to a few payroll events and seminars in the payroll world and I’ve also featured in the Payroll World Magazine in May last year.

What do your parents think you do?

They think I’m a lawyer…

So what’d you do before Groupon and what brought you here?

I am a true payroll veteran with more than 20 years under my belt having worked for different organisations in North America and Europe. I focus on strategic payroll issues and efficiency gains in global payroll and payroll/HR software systems. Prior to Groupon, I worked for Thomson Reuters, Avid Technology, Celergo in the UK, and CPEhr out of California.

As a payroll veteran, what makes Groupon a unique place to work?

Groupon is simply a cool and flexible place to work. The people make all the difference and that is where Groupon differentiates itself as an organisation. There are so many great people working here who are intrinsically motivated and dedicated to being successful. Personally, I truly enjoy the freedom of applying my skills in creative ways.

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

I’d love to be a restaurant chef at a Michelin star restaurant. I have a great passion for cooking and experiencing beautiful food in a social setting.

What’s your favorite local business?

NOPI, an Ottolenghi restaurant in Central London.

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

The most challenging part of my work since being at Groupon was transitioning all countries to a single payroll provider as well as supporting the HR team in implementing a new HR system. Nevertheless, it was great fun doing so.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I love spending time with my partner traveling different countries and places. My favourite pastime is cooking and dining out, and spending time with friends. I also like playing paddle tennis and doing yoga, and during the winter season, I enjoy skiing.

What’s your favorite office view?