Laura Hamilton – Group Product Manager

Laura Hamilton – Group Product Manager

LAURA HAMILTON

Preferred pronouns: She/Her
Group Product Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2014

Laura and Groupon seem to be a perfect match. She brought 10+ years of strong product management experience to Groupon. In turn, Groupon provided an opportunity to get scrappy, make an impact, and walk by a cat spaceship every day. (What else do you really need?)

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

I started off as product manager for the checkout page, and I gradually took on more responsibility. I took on Consumer Web in Q1 2016, LivingSocial in Q4 2016, and International in Q1 2017. Today, I head up product for Consumer Web, International, and LivingSocial.

Where were you before joining Groupon? How did you get here?

I have worked in product management for 10+ years, at a wide range of company sizes from founder to seed-stage startup to hypergrowth phase to a public company. I started my product management career at Enova 10+ years ago, where I led the product team focused on new initiatives. We launched several new businesses and product lines during my tenure, including the installment product in the US and the Pounds to Pocket brand in the UK. After Enova, I worked at a couple of early-stage tech startups. Then I joined Groupon in 2014 — Groupon still has the scrappiness, innovation, and bias for action typical of startups, while also having massive global scale.

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

I always try to tie my product strategy and roadmap to Groupon’s mission of being the daily habit in local commerce. Whether it’s adding more structured data to the cards on the browse feed, making our pricing clearer and more transparent, launching new products such as Groupon+ and BeautyNow, it’s all in support of our mission to connect customers with local businesses.

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

In 2016, when I took over consumer web product, our mobile website was very outdated and lacked many key features that the mobile app had. Over the course of 2016, I led a major effort to redesign the mobile website, and we overhauled almost every page in the site. It was a big undertaking that involved a dozen different teams, but after several months and a few dozen A/B tests, we had a much more organized and modern website.

Take us back to 2014. What was your first impression of Groupon?

I think I was going to the Geekfest meetup for the first time, and the instructions said to look for the “cat spaceship.” I was very confused about what a cat spaceship was, and why it would be in an office. I was somewhat nervous that I would miss this landmark; however, upon seeing the cat spaceship, I realized that my fears were unfounded.

What’s something that has surprised you while working at Groupon?

Groupon’s Optimize team, which owns the experimentation framework and methodology, has a novel (patent-pending) process for the analysis of A/B experiments. It uses a technique called group sequential analysis, which originated with heart valve studies in the 1970s. It’s essentially a statistically rigorous way to “peek” at experiment data while limiting false positives. It has allowed us to experiment much faster, which in turn has led to faster improvements in the customer experience.

So what’s unique about Groupon’s Product culture?

Groupon is unique in that Product Managers can take on a ton of responsibility—whole product lines, or product suites—while still operating at massive, global scale. At startups, you can have broad responsibility but not at scale; at most publicly traded companies, you can have global scale but you only own a small piece. At Groupon, product managers can have broad responsibility as well as massive impact at scale.

“Groupon is unique in that Product Managers can take on a ton of responsibility — whole product lines, or product suites — while still operating at massive, global scale.”

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

Software development at Groupon is very solution-oriented. If there’s a bug or production issue, the discussion is immediately around how to solve the issue and how to prevent it in the future. We don’t have unproductive fingerpointing conversations. When there is a production outage, the discussion is around “how do we improve tools and processes to prevent this from happening in the future,” rather than “so and so made a mistake.”

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

After six months of work across dozens of engineering teams, we successfully migrated the LivingSocial website and mobile apps to the Groupon tech stack and celebrated with a cutover cake and champagne at 3 am.

Name your favorite programming language.

I think it depends on the problem domain, but in general, I am partial to python. The syntax is natural. I don’t need to define variable types or worry about semicolons. Also, python has a very thorough set of supporting libraries, including a lot of machine learning and analytics related libraries.

Tabs or spaces?

Spaces

Vim or emacs?

Vim

What do your parents think you do?

I asked my parents what they thought I did, and their answers were actually pretty close. Both my parents have PhDs in economics. My mother said, “I think you handle the website. I would love to know.” My father said, “Management/analysis.”

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love checking out new local restaurants and fitness studios. I live right by Restaurant Row, and there are so many fantastic local businesses in my area. There are new ones popping up all the time — it’s hard for me to keep track!

Speaking of local restaurants, what’s your favorite local business?

It’s so hard to pick just one. I love Big & Little’s; their gourmet fast food is so delicious.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I have done two startups – neither of them successful.

Alicia Babich – Sales Training Manager, Onboarding

Alicia Babich – Sales Training Manager, Onboarding

ALICIA BABICH

Sales Training Manager, Onboarding
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015

Having recently celebrated her 3-year Grouponiversary, Alicia reflects on her whirlwind journey at Groupon, provides super sound career advice, and shares some love for Beyoncé.

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

I manage half the Sales Training & Development team: the Sales Trainers you’ll meet as a new hire to Business Development, Merchant Development, Merchant Support, Groupon+, BeautyNow, and Inbound sales. My team is also single-handedly responsible for coaching for those in Groupon Sales University: your first year or two in tenure as a salesperson here at Groupon. The people in the Sales Training & Development family are caring, creative, considerate, and an absolute gift to us all. I couldn’t be luckier.

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

I came straight from a B.S. in Psychology and minor in Leadership Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I had volunteered for a crisis hotline for two years there by the time I graduated early and wasn’t unconvinced yet that my next step wouldn’t be medical school for psychiatry. Feeling burnt out, I wanted to do something fun, and came to Groupon as a Business Development Representative, then Sales Trainer, Senior Sales Trainer, to the role I have now just past my 3-year anniversary. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Tell us about the evolution of Sales training at Groupon. 

In January 2017, Groupon Sales University didn’t exist. We took a once-a-week 3-month program designed to ramp up current salespeople and expanded it to a 12-month curriculum designed to teach soft and hard sales skills from day 1 at our company, no matter how much or what kind of professional experience you bring to the table coming here. In January 2018, we launched our first full cycle as it stands today with our Business Development class: the best sales onboarding program in the country.

You’re a member of Women@Groupon. What do you get out of it?

Ladies helping ladies‘ is something I would wear on a t-shirt every single day and I already shout at almost everyone I know. Women’s issues abroad, domestically, and specifically empowering women to rise in the workplace are all very representative of who and why I am. I signed up for Women@Groupon during my first week and became a mentor through their program two years later, where I met one of my closest friends at Groupon now. She and I still meet and talk about skills, resumes, movies, tea, and travel, and this is one small testament to the community these groups cultivate and the incredible experiences being part of them that can really sneak up on you.

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

Sales Training & Development’s insanely talented taskforce of sales slayers is the first impression salespeople have at the company and we hold the privilege and responsibility of instilling strong, strategic, and moral sales skills to our salesforce here: how to get in touch with merchants, how to have effective conversations, how to get the right deals on the site for all parties involved and how to cultivate the right relationships so that the merchants are compelled to work with us and us with them, the right way, forever.

What’s your proudest Groupon accomplishment?

The scope of your role does not define you. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Operations Project Analyst Israel Pederson when I told my boss I wanted to learn SQL as a general, professional interest. I had no coding skill. Nearly 100 1:1s, one online course, and one year later, our team can track in real-time the effects of the training we do for the first time ever, allowing us to begin to make directional decisions about how we train and to whom, thanks to SQL and teradata. My new goal is to start and get intermediate with Python by the end of this year.

“In January 2018, we launched our first full cycle as it stands today with our Business Development class: the best sales onboarding program in the country.”

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

The chance to rise at Groupon is unparalleled. Work harder and longer, ask more questions, be humbler, admit defeat more, follow the rules more, defer to those who came before more, and do more than you were asked to and more than every single person around you, every single day. That recipe wins every single time inside these walls. And if you think you do them all, ask a candid teammate if that’s true. Then do them more.

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

I volunteer for an organization called Rape Victim Advocates as a Rape Crisis Counselor: advocates are on-call for X hours each month and get dispatched to one of our partnered hospital emergency rooms any time a survivor of sexual assault is admitted, to accompany them during their entire intake and defend their legal and medical rights and fair treatment, and generally provide support face-to-face. I also love, love, love PS4, running, singing, dancing, drawing, and my MoviePass.

Who or what inspires you?

My desk is littered with quotes, lyrics, and photos from and of Beyoncé. I’m convinced my first full year with this team, my profound love for that woman is the singular thing anyone knew about my interests, which isn’t even wrong. May all of us women be strong, powerful, graceful, fearless, and supportive of other women in the professional sphere and otherwise, always.

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.

Ashley Doran – International Tax Manager

Ashley Doran – International Tax Manager

ASHLEY DORAN

International Tax Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2016

Visits from the Abominable Snowman and team pajama parties aren’t necessarily things you might enjoy while working in public accounting. But for Ashley, working at Groupon means you can work hard while enjoying all of the oddities that come along with working at a quirky, global company.

First off…can you write a Groupon haiku?

With so many deals – –

possibilities endless – –

what to do today?

So tell us about your job! What do you do and why do you love it?

I am part of the Tax department at Groupon, specifically the International Tax team. I mostly work in the area of transfer pricing, which encompasses all of the intercompany transactions that occur between our related party entities. We have to manage and report these transactions appropriately to foreign tax authorities and there are a lot of rules!

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

About six months after I started, I was asked to help out with the sale/divestiture of some of our foreign entities. I didn’t have prior experience in that sort of M&A work, and one of our Tax Senior Managers left Groupon for another opportunity before the sale was completed. It challenged me to get up to speed very quickly. There were a lot of non-tax consequences that had to be considered, so there was input from many teams: Accounting, Corporate Development, Legal, Communications, etc.

This experience gave me an opportunity to work with people from all over the Finance organization, in a way that someone at my level probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do working somewhere else. We all helped each other through the process and my relationships with those teams are stronger now as we continue to tackle new issues and projects.

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

By structuring our intercompany transactions in a specific way, we allow ourselves to position Groupon global operations for future success, which translates to more Groupon deals and more opportunities to make Groupon the daily local commerce habit.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

There is a huge assortment of random things I’ve witnessed at the office, from team pajama parties to someone walking around dressed in an Abominable Snowman costume on the first day of winter. Also, all manner of quirky signs and desk decorations mean you can witness something new every day.

What are your biggest accomplishments?

The personal accomplishments I’m most proud of are completing my CPA and running my first marathon. I studied and sat for my CPA while working in public accounting, which required a lot of working hours. I had to stay very focused and really dedicate a lot of my free time to studying. It was so gratifying when I finally passed all the tests. Also, last fall I ran my first marathon in Chicago! As someone who loves running, it was something I had been working toward for a long time. I hope to run another one in the next couple of years in my home city of NYC!

So how did you get to Groupon?

I worked in public accounting at KPMG for a few years in NYC before going to a smaller in-house tax role at a private company. When I decided to move to Chicago, I knew I wanted to stick with an in-house position. The fact that Groupon was publicly-traded, and had a large international footprint meant I would be exposed to a lot of new issues and likely be learning a lot. I was not wrong!

What’s unique about the culture at Groupon as opposed to public accounting?

The culture at Groupon is definitely what makes it unique. Groupon’s background as a start-up combined with its laidback culture makes for a fun work environment. Despite the challenges that sometimes come with a laidback environment (at least for type-A accountant types), there is much to learn at Groupon and I am not done learning yet!

What do your parents think you do?

Simply “taxes.”

Be part of a global team.

 

What do you enjoy about being a member of Women@Groupon?

There are a lot of women in leadership positions at Groupon. I want to get to know them, learn more about how they navigate their careers and be exposed to more of my peers who want the same!

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who are intelligent, hardworking, and collaborative. At the end of the day, I think most everyone is just trying to do a good job, at work and in life. It helps to help each other!

Where can we find you outside of work? 

I love to run—with or without my dog, Hank—especially in Lincoln Park along the lakefront. I also enjoy cooking and have been trying to expand my skills with some cooking classes at Sur La Table. My fiance, Mike, indulges me by coming along, too!

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

I’d love to do something creative for a day like photography or interior decorating. No spreadsheets necessary.

What’s your favorite local business?

Taco Joint!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I took piano lessons from the time I was 6 until 19!

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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Joanne Soo – Senior Technical Product Manager in San Francisco

Joanne Soo – Senior Technical Product Manager in San Francisco

JOANNE SOO

Senior Technical Product Manager, Groupon+
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 2011

At a young age, Joanne was told she wouldn’t be able to do any overly physical activities due to her disability. Fast forward to today, she’s not only climbing three-story walls but is also applying her fierce determination to a growing Product role at Groupon.

Tell us about what you do and what you love about it!

I work on the Groupon+ Product team, focusing on consumer growth. I love that I get to launch really cool features, learn what our customers love and what they don’t, and collaborate with the best and smartest people in the industry to shape the way people save money while dining out.

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

Back in 2015, while on the Conversion team, I’ve had the opportunity to drive the North America PayPal integration, which was a feature that was very high in demand from our consumers. This effort was particularly challenging because the integration happened during a time where Groupon was rolling out a set of new technologies (new API endpoints, new backend services, and a few ongoing frontend UX A/B experiments). The challenge was to launch this initiative on top of those rollouts without compromising on performance and user experience. There was a lot of careful planning needed and strong coordination between various teams proved to be very valuable. We were able to successfully launch the payment method and it was a big win for customers and for Groupon, which was really, really awesome!

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

I love the diversity and our continuous pursuit of a diverse workplace. One of our core values (Groupon’s) is “respect, integrity, and inclusion” and while this is important at any workplace, it is even more so in engineering departments, which are usually predominantly masculine. At Groupon’s Engineering organization, our proactive fostering of a diverse workplace has created a place where people feel comfortable challenging each other’s ideas, regardless of where you come from, your gender, sexuality, identity, etc. Also, cats. What’s not to love? 🙂

And what specifically do you enjoy about Product at Groupon?

I really enjoy being able to launch really cool features. As owners of our specific areas, we have a direct influence on the outcome of the product, and through that, we get to learn about consumer behavior, our merchants, and Groupon as a business. And because we operate in a lean, agile environment, we get to launch, learn, and iterate quickly and see our product evolve over a short span of time.

So what did you do before joining Groupon?

I worked for a startup in Malaysia that focused on youth empowerment. One fine day in 2010, we decided to pivot our business model and try something new. We built GroupsMore.com, a Groupon clone offering deal of the day to Malaysians. Within four months of launching, our company was acquired by Groupon. Since then, I’ve worn many hats at Groupon (customer service, editorial, project management, and now product) and have lived in various countries for the job: Malaysia, Taiwan, and now the US.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

In Groupon Malaysia, we had set up an RM9,000,000 unicorn ride deal ready for April Fool’s Day in 2012. We decided not to launch it at that time and we killed the deal before we launched it (but the deal URL was still live, and accessible if someone had access to it). Fast forward to February 2013— something mysterious and weird happened—we saw a huge spike in traffic on groupon.my and found that the (closed) unicorn ride deal had for some reason gone viral! We were worried about bad press at first, but the virality actually was a good one…people were amused. Here’s an article about it. Needless to say, sales skyrocketed that week. 🙂

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I climb walls! I was born with a disability and was told as a child growing up that I would not be able to do any big physical activities, but with my nature of breaking molds + wanting to prove people wrong + in the spirit of “I can do it even if you say I cannot!”, I’ve developed a passion for scaling three-story walls at climbing gyms.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I have synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon where one’s senses are intertwined. Some people taste words (lexical-gustatory synesthesia) or feel sounds (auditory-tactile synesthesia). I see numbers and letters in colors (grapheme-color synesthesia), which make memorizing/remembering spelling, names, strings of numbers relatively easy for me.

What do your parents think you do?

My mom thinks “I do all the creative planning for the internet and website things” and my dad thinks “something with people management skills or something.”

Sarah Thomson – Business Development Representative in Scottsdale

Sarah Thomson – Business Development Representative in Scottsdale

SARAH THOMSON

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

Hitting sales goals and gongs with Sarah in Phoenix.

What’s your proudest accomplishment at Groupon?

I recently worked with a merchant that Groupon had been trying to close for years. I went into the first call knowing it was going to be challenging, yet a good learning experience. I listened to his hesitations and within a few months he overcame all of his objections and I closed the opportunity.

The best part was that at the very end he thanked me for hearing him out and putting something together that he felt would work for him and his business. He told me I was a pleasure to work with and that I really changed his view of Groupon and how excited he was for his feature to go live. It was really nice to hear and it is something that I will take with me whenever I get those merchants who may be hesitant at first.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever got was from my dad and I believe it applies to everything, not just work: have a positive attitude! You can’t control a lot of what happens to you but you can control how you react to it. Just staying positive and working hard on the things I can control is really what makes me successful.

What was your impression of Groupon when you first started?

So much fun! I loved the energy and the environment of the Phoenix office, the people are really the best.

How does working at Groupon fit into your life?

I moved to Phoenix only knowing two people and my dog. Groupon quickly became a giant part of my life. I became good friends with a lot of my coworkers and love how many activities are always happening in and outside the office. (Shout out to the Culture Club!)

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

I love talking to merchants every day and learning how I can help their business grow and be successful. I am from Omaha, Nebraska, so I spend a lot of time working with businesses I grew up with. I love to help grow an expanding market by creating deals for the area and others.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I can lick my elbow!

Who are the most inspiring women at Groupon?

I think it is a tie between Grace Litteken and Kelly Light. They both work so hard every day and are so respected for their work. They are easy to talk to and really get things done. On top of that, they both are so caring and understanding.

What do you enjoy about Women@Groupon?

I worked for a long time at a company where I was the only girl. It was so nice to learn that Groupon celebrated and recognized women through Women@Groupon. When I was looking at job opportunities these programs were actually what stood out to me and ultimately made me end up here!

Who is a woman you look up to?

My grandma. She worked hard for many years for everything she had, working with addicts to help them get back on the right track. She never doubted their or anyone else’s success for a minute. She had a heart of gold and really knew how to tell it how it was. She was never afraid to be herself or speak her mind, which are qualities I try to emulate.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

When I hit 100% to goal and got to hit the gong!

What’s your favorite local business?

Big Red of the Desert. It’s the best little Husker store owned by the sweetest lady.

Geraldine Ah-Soune – Outside Account Executive in Montreal

Geraldine Ah-Soune – Outside Account Executive in Montreal

GERALDINE AH-SOUNE

Outside Account Executive
Montreal, Canada
Joined: 2015

Former chess champion Geraldine talks about her experience working in our Montreal location and shares what it takes to stay motivated in Sales.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

When the whole team went to Bubble Soccer. It was very funny to see my colleagues in a different light.

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

I’m in touch with the partners and tell them about Groupon. I find it very interesting because I have the opportunity to interact with people from all industries. What I like about what I do is that I am convinced that I truly help small and medium businesses with their business strategy. I believe in what I sell!

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

In my humble opinion, I think the biggest challenge is doing what you have to do on a daily basis. It is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You must take baby steps every day. Several small decisions put together makes it a productive day.

Who inspires you?

I admire many people but here is an unoriginal example: Nelson Mandela who prevented a civil war in his country by breaking the vicious circle of hatred and violence.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

The first impression I got was from the employees. During the hiring process and when I first started, what struck me was the team’s humility. Even though they work for a multinational, the people were very cool and helpful. There was no ego game like we may find in other companies. Everyone is helpful and ready to stop working just to help you.  

What’s your biggest accomplishment and/or what are you most proud of? Tell us your story!

Be creative in bringing deals.

What do your parents think you do?

My parents think I’m selling coupons.

What’d you do before Groupon?

Before Groupon, I was in door-to-door sales. I was my very first job after university. I  learned a lot about attitude and sales techniques.

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

I practice yoga and I recently bought a sewing machine to motivate me to learn how to sew. I am also a tea drinker.

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

I believe in Groupon and in the fact that we are really helping small and medium businesses. There is no initial investment. Our business model is very flexible.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I was a chess champion between the age of 8 and 10!

Jessy Gheen – Business Development Manager in Scottsdale

Jessy Gheen – Business Development Manager in Scottsdale

JESSY GHEEN

Business Development Manager, Things To Do
Scottsdale, AZ
Joined: 2015

Meet Jessy: she helped launch Groupon Phoenix’s volunteer program and finds empowerment through making connections with other women in a historically male-dominated industry.

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

What I’m most proud of is my involvement with Groupon Volunteers. Being able to launch in the Scottsdale office has been such an amazing experience. I not only get to give back to the community that I love so much, but I have helped others in the office get more involved as well. We volunteered with Habitat for Humanity a few years ago, and working side by side with the family we were building the house for just instilled in me how important it is to work for a company that values volunteering and giving back to the community..

Why did you join Women@Groupon? What do you get out of it?

I am all for women empowering women, and being part of W@G shows what amazing ladies we have in the office. I get a sense of pride for doing this job in such a generally male-dominated profession, and having my fellow female peers support each other in this has been great.

Name a woman who you look up to and why!

I honestly look up to my entire female group of friends. I have been lucky enough to befriend a group of incredibly strong women who all support each other and work hard in their own professions. I honestly don’t know what I would do with them and watching everything they do helps push me to be a better person.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I grew up incredibly shy; I would not talk to strangers, babysitters, or anyone new. It’s taken a lot of confidence building and years of practice to get comfortable enough to be who I am. I still get nervous in groups on new people and have to pep myself up to start a conversation and get over my social anxiety.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

In the original Phoenix office, we all had to use iPhones because the building was older and there weren’t enough lines in the building to have desk phones. This made it a very interesting workplace with high energy, lots of loud talking…it’s something we all laugh about when we think back on it.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

When you go home after any day of work, you should be able to say you know you gave that day your best.

What’s your favorite local business?

OHSO: it’s a brewery with a patio built especially for people to bring their dogs. It’s a great atmosphere and I love going on a nice afternoon with my pup and friends. Great beer, too!

How does working at Groupon fit into your life?

Groupon can be incredibly fast-paced and I am a high energy person. I’m always out doing stuff after work and on the weekends and am involved in a variety of things. Groupon fits in perfectly with that.

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!  🙂

Sydney Celebrates IWD with Panel & Special Guest Speaker Pepa Randall

Sydney Celebrates IWD with Panel & Special Guest Speaker Pepa Randall

WOMEN@GROUPON

8 March 2018

Sydney celebrates IWD with a tea party, leadership panel, and special guest speaker

Written by Olivia Deskoski, PR & Communications Manager for ANZ

For International Women’s Day this year, the Sydney office focused on the theme #PressForProgress and making Groupon an awesome place for women to work by holding a morning tea event featuring a panel of three three senior team members who are parents. Wayne Nagle, Cara Amores, and Mel Cook discussed how to achieve work/life balance when you have children (it’s more a blend than a balance), men stepping up in the co-parenting role, and our HR lead Cara shared some great insights into her vision for the business and actions taken around making Groupon an attractive place for women to work.

We were also excited to have a special guest speaker from our corporate partner, GWS Giants AFL women’s team defender Pepa Randall, who was candid, humble, and brilliant in sharing her amazing journey into a new sport – women’s AFL (Australian Football League AKA aerial ping pong) that’s been traditionally male dominated for over a century. Women’s AFL has only been around for a couple of years, so the #PressForProgress message was very strong and she had a lot of inspirational takeaways for everyone – including her training and nutrition regime which includes eating 8 meals a day! Pepa emphasised it’s actually hard to eat so much, but somehow we didn’t believe her.

One of Pepa’s gold-star messages during her talk was: “Sport has the ability to teach you about aspects of life. And one lesson is you can’t be fearful to give your best. It is scary doing that because if you give it everything you’ve got and it gets shut down and goes the other way, it can be crushing. But I’ve developed confidence through moments in the game to not hold back because you can reap the rewards when it does all go right.”

Awesome words from a pioneer of Australian female sport!

 

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Australia story without some boomerangs. 

Dagmara Owczarska – SSC Director, Global Operations in Warsaw

Dagmara Owczarska – SSC Director, Global Operations in Warsaw

DAGMARA OWCZARSKA

SSC Director, India & Poland, Global Operations
Warsaw, Poland
Joined: 2012

Building shared service centers from scratch with Dagmara—a Groupon veteran who has worked in multiple roles during her 5+ years with the company.

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

In 2012, when I joined, Groupon was—just like it is today—an amazing, fun, and extraordinary place to work. My first role at Groupon back in 2012 was Head of Operations for Polish business, with the responsibility of Inside Sales added to the scope several months after I joined. When the opportunity of pushing myself towards global operations occurred in 2014, I didn’t need to think twice and even though it wasn’t clear how my role would evolve in future, I jumped into it and started building the shared service center in Warsaw, initially for customer services only. In 2016, all operations came under one roof of Global Operations (Customer Service and Deal Factory), which was a turning point not only for me but for the entire organization. In 2017, we opened a second location in Poland (Katowice), and very recently I was granted an amazing opportunity to manage all in-house operations in Poland and India. This journey has just started and I am more than excited about it!

That’s an awesome journey! What do you attribute to your success here?

I attribute my success to 3 factors, whether at Groupon or anywhere else: an amazing team of super-smart people, hard work, and a can-do attitude.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Stay transparent.

And what advice would you give someone looking to move up in their career?

Work with smart people and learn from them. Work hard. Always treat feedback as a gift. And then work even harder.

How does Groupon fit into your life?

Perfectly!

What does your job look like day to day?

Right now, I’m formulating while already executing (this is Groupon after all, no time to waste!) a strategy to align all Shared Services operations in maximizing their contribution to customer growth, increasing customer lifetime value, growing profitability and last but not least, making Groupon a great(er!) place to work. This requires a lot of coordination between four locations but I’m super excited about how much we can do together to support our company goals!

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

In Shared Services, we’re in touch with hundreds of merchants and thousands of customers every day. By focusing on four pillars: People, Customer Experience, Merchant Success and Streamline & Simplify, we contribute to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit.

How many times have you been promoted?

I think 4.

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

Building the Warsaw and Katowice hubs from scratch. Warsaw and Katowice host two large Shared Service Centers that support business around the globe (customer service, merchant services, editorial, in six languages). We started with a small team of German-speaking CS reps in 2014 and build out the office in Warsaw followed by Katowice, which opened last year. Everything was literally built from scratch and it wouldn’t have been possible without the great team I have both in WAW and KAT, who every day live the “no compromise on quality” rule.

What’s challenging about the work you do?

Complexity, but that’s why I love it.  🙂

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I love sweet cream 😉

Who is the most inspiring woman at Groupon?

We all are!

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