Martha Szatkowski – Senior Director, Global Risk

Martha Szatkowski – Senior Director, Global Risk

MARTHA SZATKOWSKI

Senior Director, Global Risk
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2013

If you’re looking for an inspiring leader—or a workout buddy in Chicago—Martha, Senior Director of Global Risk, is your go-to.

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

This is a tough question to answer in a short way! I oversee a Global team that is made up of three main functions: merchant escalations, recoveries, and analytics. That doesn’t totally capture our mission and overall work, of course. I could go on in depth but it’s so interesting that I don’t want everyone coming to me and asking to work on my team.  🙂

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

I am challenged every day in my role. That is what has kept me at Groupon. On the worst or most stressful day, I leave thinking…wow, I learned so much today and I am humbled by all the amazing and smart people that I get to learn from each day.

Who or what inspires you?

Generally speaking, passionate people inspire me–whether it’s a passion for work, family, the arts, etc. If I am getting more specific, my mom and dad have been the most inspirational people in my life. Each of them has a beautiful story–from coming to the U.S with almost nothing to accomplishing so much and more than I could ever imagine both professionally and personally. Their energy, strength, and passion for life have always been contagious.

Speaking of your parents, what do they think you do?

I explain Groupon a lot to my mom and I still don’t think she knows! My nieces and nephews know I work in an office with a cat spaceship and to call Aunt Martha if they ever get in trouble. I think that last part is because my siblings don’t know how else to explain what a lawyer does or what someone in the Risk field does!

Were you referred to Groupon by anyone?

Yes, Silvija Martinjevic!

You recently celebrated your 5-year Groupon anniversary! Take us back to 2013: what was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

When I first walked in the door on that first day of work back in March 2013, I thought…what am I doing here?! I had always worked in a traditional office environment as a lawyer so the open platform, all the themed areas in Groupon, the cat spaceship…all of it was so different. However, the one thing that struck me above all of the differences was the energy–I could feel the energy of the office and how people enjoyed their jobs!

So after working in a more traditional environment, then coming to Groupon, what keeps you coming to work every day? What makes your work here unique?

The general Risk field is different at all companies. Groupon is unique because if you work hard and want to take on more and things that may not specifically fall into your field, you are encouraged to do it. I have had the opportunity to take on many different tasks/roles within my overall Risk role and more projects than I can count. I work daily with many different cross-functional teams. Why do I stay at Groupon? My extremely supportive manager and awesome team keep me at Groupon. Every day is different and challenging.

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

Part of my job is to get the best merchants on our platform and then to keep our customers coming back to the site to buy amazing deals on all our lines of business.

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

I am a spin class fanatic and I love to make my friends workout with me–ask anyone on my team…I’m always looking for workout buddies! I love to cook and have been trying to learn how to play guitar. I have a very big family and we are spread out from the midwest to the west coast so I spend a lot of free time trying to see them all!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I can’t think of just 1 memory that is my favorite…but the most random thing is the day I walked into an elevator with the Abominable Snowman.

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

Honestly, my biggest accomplishment is being part of building a successful Global team. I have been lucky to work with a team that is so passionate, smart,  and hardworking on a daily basis. I am also proud of being asked to Chair Women@Groupon in early 2017. It has been a wild ride working to empower women (and men) in a time where women have such a strong voice in this world.

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

I practiced as a lawyer specializing in complex medical malpractice litigation (yes, I know totally makes sense that I came to Groupon!). A very close friend of mine was and is still working at Groupon–she introduced me to my former boss and after meeting at Motel Bar for lunch 5+ years ago, we left our meeting talking about an open role. The rest is history.

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

I love to cook and am obsessed with Top Chef…for one day I would love to know what it’s like to be a real chef in a restaurant somewhere in the West Loop of Chicago.

What’s your favorite local business?

Cycle X in the West Loop and La Colombe in the West Loop. Spinning and coffee…that’s pretty much how I make it through the day!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I used to sing as a kid–from voice coaches to theater to even taking classes in college. I always knew I wanted to go to law school but I thought maybe I could do Broadway on the side! Only kidding, I always knew I wanted to pursue a law career but briefly had a musical passion. Now, all my friends who know I used to sing try to (unsuccessfully) get me to do karaoke!

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Megan, Senior Reconciliations Specialist

Megan, Senior Reconciliations Specialist

MEGAN

Senior Reconciliations Specialist
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2012

Today, we talk with Megan about the women at Groupon who have helped grow her career, what it’s like to work in Risk, and how her team supported her in a recent quest to snag Demi Lovato tickets via a radio contest.

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

I work with merchants to reconcile and negotiate payments owed to Groupon. My team takes on a lot of projects, so I appreciate getting to work on ever-changing issues. My typical day usually consists of following up with merchants, checking payment logs, and responding to in-house tickets with requests for tax validations and account status updates. I usually drink two cups of Earl Grey tea while working on these tasks.

And what’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here so far?

I worked on a project that dealt with tax indemnification for a subsidiary company and prior to that, I didn’t know that was a thing. I was able to team up with members of the Tax and Legal teams to get the accounts reconciled.

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

I work with companies that use Groupon as a marketing tool. When I’m able to reconcile accounts, Groupon and local merchants are able to continue working in harmony to establish the daily habit.

What are you most proud of in your time at Groupon?

I’m most proud of how my contributions to my team have grown over the past few years. Last year, I was able to recover and reconcile more than $6.5 million for my team. The entire team goal for 2017 was $3 million.

You’ve been here for a while now – what keeps you excited to come to work every day?

I’m still at Groupon because of the people, particularly my managers. They have been completely supportive of my professional and personal goals. I’d especially like to give a shoutout to two of my managers, Martha Szatkowski and Christy. They have been with me since I started on Risk. I interviewed with them both in order to get the temp position in ’14. I was honest with Martha about my desire to stay at Groupon on the Risk team and she took steps to make sure that I had a place. Christy has been a great direct manager in terms of allowing me to explore and grow my role within the team. We’re able to have “radical candor” which allows us to communicate in a way that is productive. Martha and Christy have both been supportive of my leadership goals within Groupon with W@G and with my outside leadership goals of becoming more involved in the mental health community. I currently volunteer with NAMI Chicago and DBSA – an opportunity I found through VolunteerMatch!

What’s your favorite spot in the office?

What’s your favorite local business?

Hazel—a boutique in Ravenswood. If you get a gift from me, there’s a 90% chance it came from this store.

Tell us about your involvement with Groupon’s Employee Resource Groups. Why did you join PRIDE@, Women@, and Groupon for Latinos?

I joined to get to know my co-workers from other departments. I also really enjoy the community service that each organization does. I’m currently a co-chair of Community & Volunteering in Women@Groupon. I’ve really appreciated the individual contributor panels that W@G presents. In those panels, we’re able to hear from employees who have been able to grow and develop their careers within Groupon. For example, one panelist started in inbound sales, then moved to Risk, and is now on our Corporate Counsel. (Her name is Danielle Cary, and she’s awesome!)

So where were you before joining Groupon?

I was a student advisor and event planner at the Wichita State University Alumni Association in Wichita, Kansas. In late ’11, I read an article in Vanity Fair about Andrew Mason and Groupon. I applied the next day. My first position at Groupon was with Customer Support.

How did you go from Customer Support to Risk?

I transitioned to Risk in the Fall of ’14. I submitted for a temp position to fill in for a member of the Reconciliations team who was going on medical leave. During my time filling in, I got to know the people and managers on the Risk team and when my temporary tenure was up three months later, they offered me a job on the Fraud team, which used to be in Risk. I worked on that team for about six months before transitioning back to the reconciliations team in July ’15. Because of my prior experience filling in as a temp, I entered the reconciliations team as a tier II specialist.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I never know what I’m going to see roaming around the office on a day-to-day basis. My faves have been a Mariachi band and a full-size Yeti. My favorite Groupon memory is cheap, but I think it’s meeting my friends. When I moved here, I only knew 3 people in the city. Through Groupon, I’ve met some of my best friends. Most recently, my favorite memory was recruiting my entire team to call a radio station to help me win Demi Lovato tickets.

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

I thought it was wacky and I appreciated how much free La Croix there was.

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

Staff Psychologist for a reality TV show.

Who inspires you?

Dolly Parton

What keeps you busy outside of work?

When I’m not at Groupon, I can be found watching The Real Housewives of whatever city is on at the moment, singing with The Mashed Potatoes – a soul cover band, or reading psychology books.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

In college, I had an internship at a small tv station, where I hosted a public access talk show.

Ashley from Risk Operations in Dublin

Ashley from Risk Operations in Dublin

ASHLEY HOMAMPOUR

Risk Operations
Dublin
Joined: 2011

Ashley’s seven years at Groupon have seen her change roles from Customer Service to Risk Operations, and changes sides of the Atlantic from Chicago to Dublin. Here she talks about her career growth and watching Groupon evolve along the way too.

_______________________

Tell us about your Groupon story so far.

I have been with Groupon for almost seven years, so I’ve got both a green and a black jacket. I began my journey in the Chicago office as a Customer Service Representative back in June of 2011 and crossed into Risk Management into 2013.

I currently handle Risk Operations mainly for North America but am incorporating our international markets now that I am in the Dublin office. I ensure that the front line Risk Management team has clean and current processes with other stakeholder departments, so it’s a lot of coordination and training. I also maintain Risk’s ticketing system and ad-hoc systems requests. I have gone from an individual contributor to a manager and then back to individual contributor again. Although my path has been wonderfully non-traditional, the level of professional and personal support I have received from my manager and the director of Risk has been immeasurable.

 

What’s the secret to success at Groupon?

I would have to say tenacity or a tenacious person. You can’t be afraid to get down in the dirt and go for what you want. You have to take ownership of your work and your career. It can seem daunting, especially if you are unsure of you want or you are in uncharted waters but the type of person who excels here will be courageous enough to step back, evaluate what’s needed for them to plot their course and right their ship (excuse the weak metaphor, I’ve been listening to a podcast about famous pirates today).   

 

What is Groupon like as a workplace for women? Does it feel like a diverse, inclusive space?

I am more than pleased to say I have watched Groupon transform into a diverse, inclusive space. It is really a privilege to be able to see your company do some self-reflection and say “Is this the best we can do?” As a woman at Groupon, I comfortably speak up, stand on my own, take up space, and watch as more and more accomplished women are filling leadership roles to carry us forward. I am also pleased more of our male colleagues are doing their bit to be allies and help promote equality in the workplace.

 

 

“As a woman at Groupon, I comfortably speak up, stand on my own, take up space, and watch as more and more accomplished women are filling leadership roles to carry us forward.”

 

How significant is it that we are launching Women@Groupon?

It’s incredibly significant that we are launching Women@Groupon and I am excited to be a part of it. I hope it will be a source of support and inclusion for current and future employees. I hope it will also serve as resource as we build our name outside our doors, specifically within local schools and our larger community.

 

What does your mother think you do?

Hahah! My mother thinks that I do something complicated with our systems, so she is partly right. She knows I plan and plan and plan and then teach people about my plans. She says I am good at that and I’d say she’s probably right there too!

 

And finally….

When I applied for a Customer Service job in 2011, I had no clue what I was getting into. The US, much like the rest of the world, was recouping from the economic downturn and Chicago was no exception. I was out of work and was weeks away from completing my last class for my Masters in Business Administration. I landed the job at Groupon and figured, I’d start at the bottom, learn the company, and work my way up. I finished my degree two weeks into my CS training.

Over the last seven years, I worked really hard and my career took off. I learned so much I couldn’t have anticipated. One of the biggest things? You are only as good as the people you work with. It sounds corny and I feel like most people say this, but it’s true: I’ve met people who became my closest friends. We’ve watched each other meet their partners, get married, have babies, celebrated birthdays and holidays, leaned on each other through break-ups, divorce and death. Three years ago, I went through one of the toughest times in my life, but they were there for me just the same. They were there for me when I met my partner and decided to embark on a two year long distance relationship between Chicago and Dublin. And they were there for me, this past year throughout the transfer process as all the business logistics and personal aspects came together. I miss them dearly, but I am very happy to be in the Dublin office and I can’t wait to find my next set of people!

 

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!