Groupon Attends Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco

Groupon Attends Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco

Grouponers @ Lesbians Who Tech: Two (Lefty!) Engineers Recall Their Experience at the Inclusive & Inspirational Event

WOMEN IN TECH

March 2018

LWT SUMMIT 2018

QUEER

INCLUSIVE

BADASS

JESSICA HARTOG, Software Developer in San Francisco

Taking place in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District, LWT represents everything that Silicon Valley’s homogeneous engineering community is usually missing. The under-represented minorities in tech (and elsewhere in the world) are welcome on Castro Street and at Groupon. Groupon aims to build up amazing communities like this one — a home office for inspiration, respect, integrity, and inclusion. Acting as the embodiment of so many of the things that Groupon holds as its core values, LWT and the Castro District alike are aligned with what Groupon aims to be. So much of my role at Groupon has to do with helping foster an inclusive community. From working together with other engineers internally, to working with communities in the Open Source landscape, the things that I learned at LWT will help me to engage those communities in a more empathetic, respectful, and inclusive way. Some highlights from the summit were keynote speakers Sally Kohn (CNN Commentator/Activist), Dawn Laguens (Planned Parenthood Federation of America), Megan Smith (Shift 7 & former CTO of the US), and a surprise appearance from Samantha Bee. I was also excited to learn about some awesomely creative open source opportunities like Open Artificial Pancreas System (#OpenAPS), where using open source, engineers can come together to improve the market for care of Type I Diabetics.

KEVIN McINTOSH, Software Engineer & Pride@Groupon Co-Chair in Seattle

I attended LWT because I want Groupon to pay attention to the neglected demographic in the intersection of women and the LGBT space: lesbians in technology. I have partnered with this organization on and off for about four years, so I was excited to help Groupon continue to build the relationship. Groupon is taking greater steps to increase diversity within our organization, especially in tech, and we want to help promote badass women and allies in the tech space.

As an impromptu speaker, I presented a 60-second speech on the importance of businesses being able to consider technology bootcamps as a potential source of high-quality technical talent in addition to the traditional college graduate. On the recruiting side, I had the opportunity to spend some time in the speed mentoring section of the conference, where I ended up mentoring eight individuals on everything from interviews to resume crafting.

One of the highlights was running into Samantha Bee (the comedian from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS) who was interviewing attendees on the spot! As a key takeaway, I will be considering how to be more open at work. The issue is that by not being more open, you risk alienating candidates as well as your coworkers. Also, bringing passionate people to these events really makes a difference!  🙂

Kristi Angel, Data Scientist

Kristi Angel, Data Scientist

KRISTI ANGEL

Data Scientist
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015 & 2016

“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake…Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes…And Kristi Angel is not afraid…”

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

I started as a Contract Tableau Analyst while in graduate school. I left that position to focus on finishing my M.S. in Statistics. I had fallen in love with the culture at Groupon. Having made some great connections during my brief tenure, I was able to find the perfect role for myself doing challenging work on a super smart and supportive team with incredible leadership.

After I graduated, I returned as an Experimentation Analyst. The needs of my team shifted and I grew into taking on more complex projects. Here at Groupon, I’ve been given a lot of autonomy in developing my career and identifying projects that are right for our platform but also aligned with my own professional development goals. After eight months, I spoke with my manager about a change in title to Data Scientist to more closely reflect the work that I was doing. I was humbled by the support I received from my peers and leadership across Groupon to make that happen!

What did you do before Groupon?

Blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of eraser dust! (That was a math joke.) Fun Fact: I was a waitress for 20 years before I joined Groupon! I worked while studying Physics as an undergrad and then while completing my M.S. in Statistics.

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

I am a Data Scientist working in the Experimentation space. We are a team of Developers and Data Scientists and together we build Groupon’s A/B Experimentation platform.

In my role, I work with Product Managers and Engineers to help develop sound experimentation design, to interpret results, and to debug experiment configuration (and occasionally, our platform 😉 ). I also research methodology for new features on our platform and help develop and validate our data pipeline and import process. Additionally, I help guide the roadmap for our team, partner with other organizations within Groupon to grow relationships and improve operational efficiency, and advocate for sound statistical practices and data literacy for all!

I love that I get to stretch my leadership skills, make mistakes, and learn from my peers. Above all, I love that every now and then, a great idea strikes and I get to make someone else’s job a little easier or I find a novel way to increase the value my team delivers to Groupon. I owe this to my coworkers who have trusted my perspective and skill set, elevating my voice from Day 1.

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

We are very democratic and thoughtful about process. Also, we have a lot of say in the features we work on. We work closely with our customers and are best positioned to assess the impact a new feature can bring. If anyone on our team has an idea about a feature or improvement they would like to see implemented on our platform and they are willing to really advocate for it and prove its value, there’s a good chance s/he will be able to see it through to production.

You’re involved with PRIDE@Groupon, Women@Groupon, and Groupon Volunteers. Why do you participate? 

I joined because I care. And there’s so much power in joining forces with others who care! Interestingly, one of the unintended side effects of joining Groupon’s Employee Resource Groups is that I have made some of the strongest connections through participating in ERG events. The camaraderie that develops through participation means you always have your own personal cheerleading section. And everybody needs one of those from time to time!

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

Everyone here is incredibly kind, helpful, empathetic, super smart, and fun! I’ve learned so much about being a person in the past two years and I owe that to my peers, my mentors, and strong leadership all around.

What’s something that would surprise people to learn about Groupon Engineering?

Our people genuinely care about people. This is a place where we encourage an experimentation mindset, failing fast and moving forward. We really value the process of giving and receiving feedback at all levels. It’s how we grow.

Name your favorite programming language.

I’m a statistician by trade so, R.

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

We provide tools for Product to rapidly and iteratively make improvements to our mobile apps and our website. Building tools to help guide efficient and effective product development helps Groupon to capitalize on optimizations that drive the daily habit.

Tell us about the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here.

I just rewrote our experimentation platform’s stats libraries in R. The goal was to create experiment metadata for a project I am working on. It’s a rather complex system with nuance and so validating my model with our platform has been trying at times. But, I was able to identify a few places in our platform where we could improve our methodology. And the metadata that I have created will serve our Data Science team on a number of future projects.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

This past September, Groupon participated as a sponsor at Chicago Women In Technology where our VP of Engineering Operations, Erica Geil, spoke. Later that same beautiful late summer day, the Women @ Groupon Employee Resource Group hosted a happy hour on our roof top deck where Silvija Martincevic, GM of Health, Beauty, and Wellness, spoke about her own career path. It was just an incredible day, taking in the sunshine with strong, successful, empowered women and learning from everyone’s unique journey.

What’s your favorite local business?

Can I have three? (Yes, you can!)

Lombard Skate Shop: Steve is super knowledgeable about getting a person into the right skates and gear for them.

Play: A children’s toy store in Logan Square with really unique and smart gifts for kids of all ages.

And Wasabi: It has been a pleasure to watch my favorite ramen shop grow over the years. I used to be one of a few in there weekly. Now there is a line out the door nightly.

What do your parents think you do?

my_family <- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What keeps you fulfilled outside of work?

I can generally be found cooking, eating ice cream, checking out new restaurants, roller skating, chilling with my cat-dudes, traveling, or seeing live music.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

What about me would surprise people? That I love The Muppets? I was in the Army for 6 weeks? I attended 9 different colleges and universities? I was an undergrad for 14 years? I was a waitress for 20 years? I know all the words to “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”? I’m just throwing things at the wall here.

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 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.

Carlos Vale – Head of Diversity Recruitment

Carlos Vale – Head of Diversity Recruitment

CARLOS VALE

Head of Diversity Recruitment
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2017

If you see Carlos, give him a high five for snagging a spot on the Latinos 40 Under 40 list—an amazing accomplishment! We’re proud of the work he’s doing to make Groupon a more inclusive work environment. 👏👏🏾👏🏿

So it’s only been a few months, but what’s your favorite Groupon memory so far?

I think my favorite Groupon memory so far would have to be going to the Arlington Park Race Track with the Talent Acquisition team. I think I had been here for about two weeks, which provided a perfect opportunity to connect with everyone–it was a blast!

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

In short, I lead Groupon’s global diversity recruiting strategy in order to build robust pipelines of diverse talent for critical positions across all levels. As an ambassador of Groupon’s dedication to a more diverse and inclusive workplace, my role requires a highly relationship-driven approach to building and sustaining a deep and broad network of connections both inside and outside Groupon. Finally, through working cross-functionally with Recruiting, HR, and Talent Development while driving deeper collaboration with Groupon’s Employee Resource Groups, my role helps provide the framework for all business groups to embrace diversity.

No small feat, we’re sure! What’s challenging about your work?

In this field, building, assessing, and reworking strategy is always challenging no matter how supportive the organization may be. There isn’t a magic solution to this, and sometimes it feels like a shape-shifting puzzle–you think you’ve found the right piece, and surely, it changes shape right before your eyes; now, you are trying to figure out where the new piece fits. I love it, though–I’m a person totally driven by solving challenges!

So what makes your role at Groupon unique?

Although some iterations of my role exist outside of Groupon, the reason why I’m here is that I feel like I am generally given the opportunity to identify challenges/opportunities and come up solutions that are heard by many across the organization, including the CEO and other senior leaders. Most people wish they could have the opportunity to meet with their CHRO on a weekly basis, and possibly meet with their CEO and General Counsel on a monthly basis, but all of those things have been quite normal during my first months here.

Tell us about your first impression of Groupon as an employer.

My first impression…was that this is a great place to build things, as well as build on things. Here, I have the opportunity to create new things as well as build on some of the amazing things that have been previously started/accomplished.

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

I would probably want to be the CEO of Groupon for a day, just to see what a day in their life is like. How early do they get up? How many meetings are they in? How do they find balance during the day to eat, or chat with their family? These are all questions I would love to know!

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

Our customers, employees, merchants, and investors come from many backgrounds. Through diversity recruitment, we are able to bring in diverse top talent that can help in the areas of talent, culture, and marketplace–all of these areas help us be better equipped to identify additional opportunities and resolve challenges more quickly through the diversity of thought.

Talk about our ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) and your experience working with them.

ERGs are central to our I&D mission of making Groupon a great place to work for every employee. In my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things with and through our ERGs–I’ll keep it to one example, though. When I first started, I wanted to put together an on-site event where we could invite diverse top talent to network and learn more about Groupon, while also ensuring that they were able to walk away with something. Once going through initial negotiations, I brought it to our ERGs to see if/how they could help–the results were great. In November, we co-hosted an event with the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), attended by almost 100 professionals of all levels that were able to engage with our CFO, folks from our Talent Acquisition team, and employees from multiple departments. The coolest thing is that this was coordinated by Groupon en Espanol, and supported by Groupon4Vets and Women@Groupon!

Who or what inspires you?

I’m definitely motivated by visionary leaders who have overcome odds and have helped to make a difference in some way, shape, or form. I’m also motivated by the desire to be a good role model for my nieces and nephews. Finally, I’m motivated to pay it forward to others by providing and exposing me to opportunities, just as many have done for me.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I looooove playing volleyball–indoors, outdoors, and anything in between!

What’s your favorite local business?

I would say King Spa is my favorite local business. It’s nice to be able to feel like you can get away, locally. Also, it reminds me of my year in Japan in 2000, and that alone is worth the Groupon to get out to King Spa!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Different people, all coming together here, supporting local

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I lived in Japan for a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and absolutely loved the experience!

Leandro Ariel De Oto – Engineering Manager, Consumer Web

Leandro Ariel De Oto – Engineering Manager, Consumer Web

LEANDRO ARIEL DE OTO

Engineering Manager at Consumer Web
Palo Alto, CA
Joined: 2012

When he’s not leading an Engineering team that builds solutions for a frictionless customer experience, you can find Leandro practicing his dance moves in the gym…channeling his love for the Backstreet Boys.

What was your first role at Groupon?

My first role at Groupon was as a front-end developer back in Chile. I was hired to be a front-end developer for the LatAm countries and after a year or so I joined a global team to maintain the front-end for Checkout and My Account web apps worldwide. After a few years in that position, I was promoted to Engineering Manager of the same team. In 2016 I moved to Palo Alto. I have been managing the Checkout and User Sessions web teams for about 3 years.

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

My teams and I are responsible for optimizing the login and checkout experiences for the web platform. We have to build solutions that provide our customers with a frictionless and usable interface customized to their needs so that they can proceed to log in and purchase their favorite deals with confidence and no confusion when using a web browser. I love being a manager because it gives me the opportunity to work on building teams who build great products for millions of users. What I love about my teams is that we all share the same passion for front-end development aimed to solve common problems in the e-commerce industry. Having an impact on so many people is sincerely rewarding. We truly want to build a daily habit for our customers and make local businesses accessible to them.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

2012 Groupon holiday party contest: Made a Gangnam Style-like video and we won 1st place.

What’s been most surprising about working at Groupon?

How flexible a big company can be to promote career opportunities among its people. I learned this from my own experience too. I’ve spent half of my professional career at Groupon 🙂

Are you involved with any Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)? 

I am an active member of Pride@Groupon. I led Pride Latino back in Chile before moving to the US. It’s great to see so many colleagues and leaders fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion among our people. That definitely makes us stronger. I have also recently joined Groupon en Español.

What’s your favorite programming language?

Javascript and its allies.

How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of being the daily habit in local commerce?

If your checkout and login experiences are full of blockers and rocks in the user’s road, there is no e-commerce platform that can survive. We work every day to implement new solutions that would streamline this process based on rigorous analyses and customer feedback. All of these using modern technologies to improve the overall website’s performance so our customers can get their favorite deals with just a few clicks.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I like taking hip-hop classes and using the gym’s studio to practice some moves.

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

In 2013, we had to redesign the whole web platform to improve the usability and user interface for our new online marketplace. It was the first redesign since Groupon’s launch in 2008. We had to learn new technologies, work with a lot of new people, all this in a language that I wasn’t too familiar with (no, not Javascript but English!). I learned so much during those days and we worked really hard to deliver a project that millions of users would face. The results were successful and very well taken by our customers and merchants.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

“Will I be able to make an impact in such a big company?”

What do your parents think you do?

According to my mom: “You program the operation of the website using codes” and I can also “remove viruses from her computer.”

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

Authentic diversity. Groupon Engineering culture is very diverse and that’s what makes us different because we truly believe that our multiple nationalities, cultures, genders, styles, and accents make Groupon a better place to work at where we all can learn from each other.

What did you do before Groupon? How did you get here?

I worked for some media companies as a front-end developer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One day I got an email from a Groupon recruiter to interview me for an open position in Chile. I had my interviews but my profile didn’t fit the back-end positions available at that time. Three months later, they contacted me again with an offer for a front-end position. I accepted and I moved to Santiago de Chile three weeks later.

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

When we deliver our features to Production is when I feel most proud about my team’s work and impact in the customers. We call our new features “our little babies.”

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs

What’s something about you that’d surprise us?

I am a big fan of Backstreet Boys.

Christina Tolman – Business Development Representative

Christina Tolman – Business Development Representative

CHRISTINA TOLMAN

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

Switching careers can be daunting, especially when you’re trying Sales for the first time. But Christina, a Phoenix Business Development Rep in Phoenix, handled her career 180 with ease thanks to an energetic outlook and Groupon’s robust Sales training program.

How does the Phoenix office have fun during the work day?

Catch Phrase! On Wednesdays we have Breakfast Club (where two people bring breakfast to share) and then we play Catch Phrase. It’s friendly but also very competitive and a great way to prepare people for the phones!

What do you love about your job?

What I love most is getting to build lasting partnerships between Groupon and businesses. Checking in on businesses that I’ve worked with and hearing about their success brings me a lot of joy. I love that each day is different and that it is challenging. There is a new puzzle to be solved for every business and it keeps me on my toes!

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

The most challenging thing to me is refining on my own approach at work. In my last career, almost every interaction that I had was in person. It was tricky at first to build relationships over the phone and to be able to connect with someone when I couldn’t see their face but now I actually enjoy this more because I can communicate with so many more people each day!

What inspires you?

What inspires me is the ability to learn and grow each day. It’s pretty amazing that I can be a better person each day, learn something new, and try to bring more joy and good to the world. Simply said by Don Draper, “Make it simple, but significant.”

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I walked in the door for my interview and knew I wanted to work at Groupon. The environment was positive, fun, and welcoming. In fact, during my interview I said, “If you offered my the job right now, I would say yes!” I was offered the position two days later.

“I love that each day is different and that it is challenging. There is a new puzzle to be solved for every business and it keeps me on my toes!”

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

One of the things that I do is ask my friends about new businesses or businesses that they would want to see on Groupon throughout the country. I focus primarily on new breweries or smaller breweries because one of the things that I hear from many that I work with is how they want to bring the community together. It is pretty amazing for me to partner with a brewery before they even open their doors and hear about how they started, to watch all the equipment be installed, and ultimately to see them open their doors for the first time.

What’s your proudest accomplishment in your time here so far?

Working with a shooting range this year. It was a newer range that really wanted to be on Groupon for the exposure. It took a lot of work on the back end to get them on the site but ultimately we got them on just in the nick of time before Thanksgiving. I was in Austin when I received a text that said, “Congratulations – you have one of the top deals of the week!” That was my first time being recognized as one of the top deals. After that, I received Rep of the Week. It was great to see that after all of work of the merchant and my team, that they were able to get on the site and gain the exposure they were looking for!

Have you won any awards?

Culture Club: Unity Award

What do your parents think you do?

“Lets see; I think you work with companies large and small to help them sell themselves better by providing deals that encourage others to use their product and because of that use they want to continue using the product even without the discount coupon. How does that sound?” Written by mom and approved by dad.

Where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here?

I worked with early childhood programs throughout the country. I was a trainer and coach for childcare centers and helped them improve their quality of care. I’ve always wanted to try sales but was scared. In February 2017, I started thinking that I was going to make the transition and by March I decided to put my two weeks at my job without another job lined up! Amazingly enough, I ended up having an interview at Groupon the next week and was offered a position. I guess it was meant to be!

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’ve recently taken up hiking: Arizona has some amazing views! Mud runs and races are also something I like to do. The Hot Chocolate 15K and Terrain Mud Run are my favorites.

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

I would want to own a brewery or a coffee shop. It would be great to get to know the people in the community I work in by providing a great environment! (Maybe one day I’ll start a business and I’ll have to call Groupon to help me build the brand!)

What’s your favorite local business?

La Santisima. They have the best horchata I’ve ever had: horchata with strawberry creme, pecans, cantaloupe, strawberries, and cinnamon! They also have a salsa bar where you can choose about 15-20 different types of salsa. Chips and salsa is my favorite food so it is a huge win for me!

Sales roles exist at other companies…so why Groupon? What gets you excited to come here every day?

My brother in law is in sales and has been for 20+ years. He said to find a company that has a training program that will invest in you. Coming from a non-sales background, I saw Groupon as a company that would invest in me to make me the better every day. If a company invests in me, it makes me want to in turn invest in them even more! The people I work with also make my life great each day! (Grace Litteken, my manager makes a tough job easier and I couldn’t do it without her!)

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Ping Pong Tournaments –

We take them seriously –

Better start training!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I’m in sales, but money does not motivate me! Also…I have 7 older sisters. I’m the youngest of 8 girls!

Vrnda – Business Development Representative

Vrnda – Business Development Representative

VRNDA

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

We pride ourselves on helping local business owners achieve their goals, and Vrnda is proof of that…on both sides of the coin. After having partnered with Groupon to boost her small business, she’s now behind the scenes helping other business owners do the same!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

My favorite memory was during my initial training when I started at Groupon. I was shadowing a Business Development Manager and I got to observe her relationship with a merchant. It highlighted for me that I could share and not sell and that genuine interest and concern for the business owner had a place on the sales floor at Groupon.

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

I talk to my former self! I owned a small business and ran a Groupon. I talk to the people responsible for maintaining main street businesses. The people that keep communities strong and innovation alive. On really great days, I get to contribute to an individual’s dream of living out their passion and supporting that little shingle they were brave enough to hang!

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

Anything with math….so everything. It is always a challenge to translate the heart and soul of a business into numbers!

Who or what inspires you?

The right of every person to live the “American Dream” or have the fullest expression of their passion….too corny? Ok, the opportunity to get to be exactly who I am and know that every day I have the opportunity to share with one person that their skill, dream, service matters!

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

The fact that I owned a small business and ran a Groupon. I was a pretty new business owner and had literally worked every day that first year and was exhausted. The Groupon call came at a time when things could have gone either way. As a single mom (at the time) of two teenagers, the boost in income literally put clothes on their backs and food on our table. To have the opportunity to pay that forward is the accomplishment I am most grateful and proud of.

What do your parents think you do?

“You make those dooda thingies that are on my computer sight thingy right? Isn’t that just a lovely thing.”

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us!

Vrnda, my name, is a Hindu goddess. I used to hate my name because I could never just walk into a store and get a name keychain…and the list goes on. Now, I have a huge piece of artwork on my back that is a representation of the Hindu goddess Vrnda and I like my name!

You’re a member of quite a few of our employee resource groups. Why do you participate?

I’m a member of Veterans at Groupon to give back and support the 30 years my husband served in the Army before retiring. I’m also a member of Blacks in Groupon to support initiatives that are inclusive and support diversity. Lastly, I joined Pride at Groupon to encourage equality and safe free expression within the workplace.

So what were you up to before joining Groupon?

I am a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Certified Dog Trainer. I was also a Mentor for Animal Behavior College and CATCH Trainer’s Academy. I owned a Kennel and Behavior Center that specialized in canine behavior issues that included aggression, separation anxiety, and destructive behavior within the home. I am also a 200 CYT with 100 additional hours toward my 500 RYT.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

CATS! CATS! CATS! My husband and I have modern Siamese and Sphynx cats (we were married on April Fool’s Day). I also enjoy yoga and puzzles.

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

Professional cotton candy taster…because cotton candy.

What’s your favorite local business?

Growing up on Virginia Blue Crabs, my favorite place is Lee Lee’s International Market because I can pick up 30 or so just for me any day of the week!

Sales roles exist at other companies, so what makes selling at Groupon unique?

I believe in the product! I’m not a salesperson but I’m a heck of a share person AND I get to play my music and dance around all day long while making the world a better place!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Merchants are talking–

Small businesses are growing–

Hometowns are thriving

Groupon scores 100% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index 2017

Groupon scores 100% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index 2017

INCLUSION & DIVERSITY

9 November 2017

A perfect score for Groupon in the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for 2017

Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.

In the 2018 CEI report, 609 major businesses — spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

Read the full report on HRC.

Natalie Vas – Business Development Representative

Natalie Vas – Business Development Representative

NATALIE “CaptaiNat” VAS

Business Development Representative – Things To Do
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2015

As aspiring guitarist CaptaiNat approaches her 3-year anniversary, she takes us on her Groupon voyage from the early days of our Phoenix office to now.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite memory is probably our grand opening party for the new Phoenix office. We had a photo booth where everyone had a blast dressing up for pictures, and a surprising amount of people in our office have killer karaoke skills. (Just not me!)

Who inspires you?

My DSM Grace inspires me! Anytime I’m frustrated or upset, she reminds me to stay positive, keep my head up, and believe in myself no matter what.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here?

The thing I’m most proud of about my time here at Groupon is how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown since first joining. I came from a customer service job (which I didn’t particularly enjoy), and when I first started at Groupon I didn’t necessarily have concrete sales experience. I was around before Groupon’s Sales training program was built out, so we only spent one week training before I made my first call. The training at that time was “trial by fire,” but it worked out for the best because that’s how I learned to be more confident on the phone! I was the prime example of “fail forward.” Our manager always encouraged us to “just do it” anytime we were afraid to call a merchant.

It can be really hard when people tell you “no” all day, but all of those “no’s” have helped me learn how to be more confident both on the phone and in real life, too! Fast forward to today: I’m coming up on my third-year anniversary, and I’m so proud I’ve been around to see this office grow from using iPhones to where we’re at today.

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

I love being on the TTD (Things To Do)  team because we are getting people to check Groupon first for really awesome and unique things like brewery tastings and festivals…..or even pole-dancing classes!

 

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I was in the third hiring class in Phoenix, so when I first started, we were all in this tiny room making calls on iPhones. My first impression was, “oh man, what did I get myself into!” But, I was blown away by how great everyone was, and how committed we were to building out the Phoenix office into what it is today!

What differentiates Groupon from other companies with Sales teams?

A bunch of my friends work at other companies doing very similar jobs, but at the end of the day, they don’t have the office culture we do! What makes Groupon so special is a little bit of everything. It’s not just the people, but all the crazy contests and spirit days we’re always doing! Cold calling businesses and sales, in general, is not always the easiest job, but playing Catchphrase, having our weekly Wednesday Breakfast Club, team outings, and all of my coworkers keep me sane during the harder days. Plus, our Halloween costume contest was pretty amazing.

What do your parents think you do?

A direct quote from mom: “you sell stuff to people, like on that show ‘The Office’ right?” – close mom, close.

Are you involved in any of Groupon’s ERGs?

Yes! I’m a member of PRIDE@Groupon.

Why do you participate in PRIDE@Groupon?

I joined PRIDE@Groupon because it’s a cause that’s close to my heart. I want to be a part of anything we can do to create more awareness and support!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us. 

My personal goal for Q4 is to learn how to play one song on the guitar. I’m already halfway there!

Give us a glimpse of your workspace:

Natalie’s desk aka “organized chaos”

 

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

I would be a unicorn trainer, because who wouldn’t want to hang out with unicorns all day?

Pride@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters

Stephen – Project Manager, Recruiting Operations

Stephen – Project Manager, Recruiting Operations

STEPHEN GARVEY

Project Manager, Recruiting Operations
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2011 & 2014

Stephen is one of Groupon’s “boomerang employees” who left and returned shortly thereafter due to missing the people and culture. However, he could’ve come back more quickly if he had been on that hoverboard…

Who inspires you?

My wife is an ICU nurse, so she literally deals with life and death situations every day. It amazes me that she’s able to continuously head in and deal with that. It’s really helpful to have that reminder that while our jobs at Groupon are challenging and can be stressful, it’s not life and death. We’re just trying to help make life fun for our customers.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I thought that the office was really big. At the end of my first day, I got a little lost and ended up taking a staircase that let me out in the custodial area. I had to walk around in there for a while before I found someone who could let me out.

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

My role is to work on systems and processes that are used by our recruiting team. I’m helping make their jobs easier so they can go out and find the best talent to add to Groupon.

So why did you leave Groupon then come back?

I received an offer from another large company that seemed like a logical next step in my career, and I felt that it was too good to pass up. However, I was definitely reluctant to leave Groupon. I ended up staying in the office until 7 pm on my last day because it was so hard to say goodbye. In the end, the things that I missed the most about Groupon were the people and the energy of the office. There’s definitely a sense of team and community that just doesn’t exist everywhere. I was back within three months of leaving.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Groupon, Love Local – –
Just making life less boring – –
A great place to work!

What’s your proudest accomplishment while working at Groupon?

I recently worked on a project that was tasked with onboarding our entire global recruiting function onto one unified Applicant Tracking System. It was a completely new challenge for me and I learned a lot. It has been really exciting to see some of the wins that have come from that project.

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

I would love to spend a day as the New York Mets mascot, Mr. Met. Everyone loves him, and it seems like he has a wonderful giant baseball-headed family. It’s a real fairy tale.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

My first job out of college was as a production assistant on the set of a very classy reality show called “I Want to be a Hilton,” starring Paris’ mom, Kathy.

Nominate a teammate (or two) for a superlative!

Groupon World Headquarters

Wendell – Business Development Representative

Wendell – Business Development Representative

WENDELL WALKER

Business Development Representative – Health, Beauty, Wellness
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2017

Teammate Superlatives!

When he’s not busy closing merchants for one of Groupon’s biggest vertical, he’s busy creating music videos in his head. But really, we just want to know where he got that amazing coffee mug.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I would have to say, my favorite Groupon memory was the day I graduated from the GroupOnboarding program. My boss gave me a pretty cool shoutout, letting everyone know I kept him up to date on all the hip lingo the kids were saying these days.

Who or what inspires you?

I would definitely have to say my mother is my biggest inspiration. Growing up, she always stressed the importance of setting goals and working hard to achieve whatever it was that you wanted. She pushed me to become involved, whether it was with sports, volunteer efforts, or mentor opportunities, and she stressed the importance of never giving up. She’s quite the go-getter actually, she puts me to shame!

What was your first impression of Groupon?

Upon walking in, I couldn’t get over how diverse and laid back the atmosphere was. I saw people enjoying coffee together, coming in and out of conference rooms for meetings–it all seemed so natural to me.

Most importantly, what’s your favorite conference room name?

Tell us about your involvement with Pride@Groupon.

I joined Pride@Groupon because I think it is a fantastic opportunity to network with people from all different aspects of the company. I also think it’s great to have a sense of support when you work in such a large company. I recently moved here from out of state, so it’s nice to be able to connect with people who share similar interests to you. The Pride Parade is coming up and I cannot wait to walk with Pride@Groupon!

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

If I could do another job for a day, I would definitely be a creative director for music videos. A really weird fact about me is I’m constantly creating imagery for every song that I listen to, and I listen to music a lot. I always share my ideas with my friends and then I’ll have them listen to the song again right after I tell them, and 9 times out of 10, they are like, “WHOA that was spot on!” Other times they’re like, “You’re really weird Wendell.” I’ll take the 90% though!

“I believe what makes my job here at Groupon different from other companies with sales positions is that people here truly believe in the product we’re selling. You can hear the passion in the tone of the people surrounding you.”

What makes selling Groupon unique?

So many people come from completely different backgrounds, and everyone’s selling style is different, but it’s almost like a melting pot. I am able to pick up various nuggets of knowledge and strategies from people on my team, the sales trainers, and my manager. I truly love that about this company.

What does your mom think you do?

When I told my mother I got an offer to work for Groupon she said, “Ah, so you’ll work at a giant coupon factory!”

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

The dial tone starts

A sweat bead forms on my brow

Sigh, straight to voicemail

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I spent 3 months traveling alone in Europe, with no phone, and I didn’t lose any luggage or get anything stolen! I also got to spend Bastille Day in Paris, which was one of the coolest experiences I think I’ll ever have.

Pride@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters

Pride@Groupon’s double-decker presence in 2017’s Chicago Pride Parade

Pride@Groupon’s double-decker presence in 2017’s Chicago Pride Parade

Groupon takes pride in fostering an inclusive work environment. All year long, Pride@Groupon—our LGBTQIA-focused Employee Resource Group—strategizes and executes on initiatives that benefit both LGBTQIA-identifying employees and merchants alike. June, aka Pride Month, is obviously an exciting time of the year for Pride, as each year Groupon participates in Pride parades across the globe. This year, in Chicago, Groupon employees marched through Boystown in a psychedelic-inspired double-decker bus, which boasted a mural illustrated by one of Groupon’s own designers, Bert Fanslow.

Nathan Bean, Pride’s current Communications Chair, helped to organize and execute Groupon’s presence in the parade. “I love working at a company that is all about inclusion and diversity. Being in the Pride Parade was a great way to show that to millions of people.” The most memorable part of the day, though? “The first turn the bus made as we entered the parade was amazing. As we made it, the crowd lit up with excitement. It was a wall of noise that brought a giant smile to my face. Looking at all the people who were having a blast just being around people they loved was astonishing.” Visit Aaron Bean Cinema to view more photos from Groupon’s parade presence.

While Pride month and the accompanying parades are definitely some of the biggest events of the year for Pride@Groupon, there are myriad other projects and events they have throughout the year. Below are some upcoming events for the Chicago chapter of Pride@Groupon:

September 22: WERQ Chicago LGBTQ Job Fair

October 1:  AIDS walk

Q3: Volunteering event serving dinner to LGBT and homeless youth at the Center on Halsted

Click here to learn more about the Employee Resource Groups at Groupon and how they’re positively impacting their local communities or follow us on Instagram @GrouponCareers to see more photos and boomerangs from Pride celebrations across the globe!