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.

Leadership Habits

Leadership Habits

About the Leader Habits

These seven Leader Habits were finalized in 2017 by combining the data we collected from ~600 managers (representing a true sample of our global and cross-functional leadership population) and defining what we see as priorities based on Groupon’s long-term strategy.

Remove roadblocks and make connections for others; know when to roll up your sleeves and be a doer
At Groupon, we have a laser focus on execution. Great leaders not only supervise from above but also roll up their sleeves and tackle the work head on. As a leader, your job is to clear out distractions and provide the right resources so your team can hyper-focus on reaching goals.

Build a strategy and vision by getting the team to debate and commit; influence the right people to bring others with you
A culture of high performance starts with setting an effective strategy and vision. We expect our leaders to challenge themselves and their teams to figure out what really matters, make tough choices about priorities, and deliver on a strategy that inspires their team to row together in the same direction.

Be positive, calm, and flex with change; learn as you go and evolve with the business to make things better
Change is a constant reality and we need to continuously evolve to do what is best for our customers and business. It’s not enough to simply adjust to change – leaders must model resilience and continuous learning so that Groupon can strive above and beyond the competition.

Prioritize goals for impact; distill complex issues into crisp messages; take a practical approach to messy problems
This Habit is all about bringing focus and practicality to what we do and how we do it and getting rid of unnecessary complexity. As a leader, you should be identifying things that drag down our ability to move fast and proactively work to improve them.

Drop the ego; be open to feedback and willing to change your direction; let the best idea win
A “my way or the highway” approach won’t get you far. Instead, being authentic and real is what earns trust and helps build relationships with others. Be open about your strengths and own your weaknesses.

Trust your gut but know the facts and figures cold; be more than two questions deep; test smartly, learn quickly
We expect our leaders to understand the nitty-gritty of what their employees are doing on an operational level. If not, we create the risk of getting off track and moving in the wrong direction. Leaders have to make tough decisions on a regular basis. And, to make good decisions, it is essential to have the right data, details, and numbers at your fingertips.

Lead by example; listen, encourage, and deliver the tough messages; give direct, frequent feedback and develop others
Coaching is one of the most critical skills for a manager at any level. A great leader will increase not only quantity but also quality of conversations with peers and direct reports. This will build trust and increase productivity and retention of the employees on your team.