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.

Steve Krenzer – Chief Operating Officer

Steve Krenzer – Chief Operating Officer

STEVE KRENZER

Chief Operations Officer
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2017

Meet Steve Krenzer, Groupon’s Chief Operating Officer. When he’s not focused on engaging and empowering our employees to do great work, you can find him, well, in a lot of places: scuba diving, hiking, checking out local bookstores, or enjoying…airplane food?

What do you love about working at Groupon?

I love to walk around the offices and meet the people of Groupon. I always learn so much and get energized by meeting our great people.

Tell us about your role as COO. 

As COO, there’s not too much about Groupon that I don’t get involved with in some capacity. The job can be expressed quite simply: to align the talent and engagement of the people of Groupon with our biggest opportunities. Groupon is such a broad and diverse company, I love the scale and variety of the things we’re working on. This also requires that I have the discipline to say “no” to many good ideas so we can focus on the difference makers.

What differentiates Groupon from other companies you’ve worked for?

I’ve spent almost 20 years working in e-commerce; the chance to work at scale with the opportunity set of Groupon was irresistible.

What are you excited to tackle in the upcoming year?

Five things:

  1. Gaining a better understanding of our customers in detail
  2. Mindfully aligning the assortment of our supply in order to help customers find more great things from more great merchants in their communities
  3. Gaining a better understanding of our merchants and how we can help with their business problems  
  4. Growing our leadership in mobile e-commerce
  5. Increasing the engagement and empowerment of our people

Who or what inspires you?

Passionate people, they’re all around us!  If I had to choose one individual, it would be our middle son, Ethan. Ethan was diagnosed with a very rare (<2000 cases in the world, that’s 1/3.6 million), very serious metabolic disease when he was three years old. At the time the life expectancy for children with the disease was seven years. Ethan has had many, many challenges, but he just celebrated his 28th birthday this past Thanksgiving and is currently completing his Master’s degree. He is so focused and committed to overcoming every obstacle life has put in his path, it’s amazing.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

The scale and energy of the teams on the floor were jaw-dropping.

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

Everything we do needs to be in the service of bringing customers and merchants together more easily, more beneficially, and more frequently.

What do your parents think you do.

They have no idea, probably something like “travel a lot, working on big challenges.”

So where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here?

Most recently I was the CEO of Core Digital Media, one of the larger direct-response marketing platforms on the web. When we completed the sale of the business, Groupon CEO Rich Williams invited me to come help at Groupon and I jumped at the chance!

What do you enjoy outside of working at Groupon?

Hiking, reading literary fiction, scuba diving, and drinking good red wine.

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

For one day? Politics, but I wouldn’t want to make a career of it. If not that, then an Olympic skier.

What are your favorite local businesses?

It’s a tie between independent bookstores and wine shops.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

No, I only write in Iambic pentameter.

And last but not least, tell us something about you that might surprise us. 

I actually like airplane food.

Mike Randolfi – CFO

Mike Randolfi – CFO

MIKE RANDOLFI

CFO
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2016

Mike Randolfi—CFO and the executive sponsor of Groupon for Latinos—talks about the excitement of working in the e-commerce industry and how he pays it forward outside of Groupon.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Going to NASDAQ and watching the excitement from merchants as we rang the bell!

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

As part of the role of CFO, I am involved in the investment decisions we make as a company. This involves making sure key initiatives such as Groupon+, BeautyNow, building supply, and supporting our marketing have the necessary investments which are required to create a more enriching customer experience and thus supports making Groupon a daily habit.

Tell us about what you do!

As Chief Finance Officer, my role is to lead the Finance Team at Groupon which includes financial planning, accounting, tax, corporate development, procurement and investor relations. In this role, I have the opportunity to see the great work people do across the company which may involve cool new product enhancements, marketing campaigns or business developments. I really get a cross-section of interaction with business leaders and people throughout the company which I love.

Who inspires you?

The team overall. I am amazed every day by the incredible people that make up Groupon. I see an inspired group of people across the company who want to offer great experiences to both customers on our site/app and merchants. I see our team always striving.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

It is fun and dynamic…the work environment is great and we operate in an innovative space where our business continues to change and evolve. I knew from the moment I walked in the door working at Groupon would be awesome!

Where were you prior to joining Groupon?

Prior to Groupon, I worked at Orbitz Worldwide as CFO and prior to that, I worked at Delta Air Lines for 14 years in various finance roles.

What are you most proud of in your time here so far?

For me, I am most proud of building a great Finance team that partners with business leaders. These deep relationships are critical to ensuring that we as a company are able to focus our investments toward that which will have the most impact.

So what makes Groupon unique compared to other companies you’ve worked for?

Our business is always changing and evolving. E-commerce is dynamic!

You’re the executive sponsor of Groupon for Latinos, our employee resource group focused on empowerment and networking for Latino and Hispanic employees as well as their allies. Talk about what leading this ERG means to you and how it reflects our values.

First, I am passionate about Groupon building a diverse and inclusive work environment that reflects the customer and merchant base we aspire to have. Also, I think Groupon for Latinos has a great mission, which not only focuses on recruiting great talent but also supporting the development of our marketplace with an emphasis on reaching out to great Hispanic and Latino-based businesses. This makes our offerings richer for our customers and helps support great small businesses. I also love the great events that I have had the opportunity to be part of such as ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America).

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

I would be captain of my own sailboat.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us. 

I could live on Chick-Fil-A.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love to boat, bike, ski, and travel. I also volunteer as crew advisor for Venturing Crew, which is a co-ed group (that is part of Boy Scouts) of high school kids who go on high-adventure activities. Last year I led a group of high schoolers that canoed and portaged through the Quetico and this year we’ll be hiking through Philmont, New Mexico. It’s hard, challenging, and character building.

What’s your favorite local business

Homer’s Ice Cream in Wilmette.

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.