From a fledgling idea to 350+ Grouponers participating, the Sales Mentor Program has Rheannon to thank for what it has become today.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
My favorite Groupon memory is one I’ll definitely never forget. It started as a quiet morning in May of 2014, I was here at work early catching up on emails. All of a sudden….I heard the loudest, scariest screeching noise – one that would make all the little hairs on your body stand straight up. I remember whispering to myself, that sounds like a dinosaur (and what an odd thought, right? I am fascinated by them and thoroughly enjoy learning about their evolution to birds today.) Sure enough, it was like a dream and a nightmare at the same time. A very life-like raptor was wandering the aisles of Groupon, chasing people and screeching like it was starving and we were its next meal. While I was thrilled—because this is something you only read about or see in movies—I was also quite startled.
What’d you do before Groupon and how’d you get here?
After college, I worked in the automotive industry and had a unique experience traveling throughout the US. After a few years, I wanted to move back to the Midwest and during my travels I fell in love with Chicago. Living in Michigan at the time, I accepted a sales position at a conferencing company in Chicago on a Thursday, moved over the weekend, and started that following Monday. After a few years, I was interested in this new local start-up, Groupon.
Before applying, I bought my first Groupon, (Skydive Midwest) and loved every minute of that experience. After interviewing, I was offered a Sales position. I’ll never forget my first day. At that time, all new employees had to draw a picture of themselves in a notebook at the front desk. I have no idea what I drew at the time; I’m guessing it was probably a stick figure (let’s hope we don’t find my drawing). Here I am, 7+ years later! I love my company and the people I get to work with, I’m excited about what’s to come, and I look forward to continuing to grow my professional career here.
Who or what inspires you?
My parents inspire me: 36 years of a happy, healthy marriage. They empower each other to be better people and growing up they always made sure I knew they were proud of me (and this continues today). My dad, literally, teaches me something new just about every week; he’s a very positive person. In fact, growing up my dad would make sure to write me something inspirational and motivational every morning before school. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
I am a Senior Continued Education Sales Trainer for a variety of our Sales teams and verticals. There’s more to being a trainer than standing in front of a room and presenting a PowerPoint. Training Continued Education is a combination of skill and will. Reps have to see the value in what they do every day. Knowing that with each day, they should be striving to be better than the day before and closer to the next step towards their goal. Conducting call listening scrums, 1:1’s, product roll-outs, sales processes, facilitating war rooms, call certifications, initiative trainings, etc. are all important, however, it’s relentless repetition, learning from each other (even in different sales verticals), and getting out of the scope of doing what they’ve always done to evolve themselves. It’s working with DSMs to make sure management is aligned; it’s presenting new ideas and getting everyone on board because we see a vision. It’s realizing the opportunity to help willful sales reps grow to be more confident, innovative and enable them to take responsibility for who they are as Groupon advisors.
What’s your favorite local business?
My favorite local business is Aaron’s Apothecary in Lincoln Park. I love the old-fashioned feel of the place; classical and jazz music make it a relaxing and comforting space while beautiful scented candles fill the air. They have the best organic makeup and little gifts. I’ve never actually used their pharmacy, however, the staff is absolutely amazing. When I walk in, I feel like I’ve entered a welcoming home.
Your role probably exists at other companies, so what makes your role here unique?
Groupon is a great place to work. I’ve had experience in other corporate environments and there’s simply no comparison. More openly speaking, I believe it’s all about what we (as individuals) value and what we look for in our company. If you don’t know what you stand for and don’t understand your “why,” then you will lack passion and drive in your work. My goal has always been to build and develop leaders. The great part about this is that I have the privilege to do this on a daily basis with mentors. As they continue to become even more influential leaders I hope that we will get to continue to work together to make Groupon even better than it already is.
Can you write a Groupon haiku?
Green cats and spaceships —
Evolution happening —
Positive vibes flow —
Tell us about why you’re involved with Women@Groupon and the Employee Volunteer Program.
For Women@Groupon, I love the speaker series, View From The Top. One particular speaker that really inspired me was Mellody Hobson. She was an incredibly empowering yet gentle speaker. From a young age she knew exactly what she wanted to achieve and would stop at nothing to meet her goals. I also enjoyed being a part of the facilitation process bringing in the two owners of The Bar Method Chicago. Their journey was so inspiring to hear on many different levels. I’ve also been a Mentor for Women@Groupon. I appreciated the opportunity to be able to work with someone and offering my perspective and guide them through their experiences.
In regards to the EVP, I had a ton of fun creating an eventful Movember in 2013. I was able to network with people all around the company, be as creative as I wanted, and pull off some exciting events.
What do your parents think you do?
From my Dad: A trainer, in short, educating new and existing employees ( different levels ) on best methods to help and improve their selling experiences. Continued support this process throughout with different programs you and maybe others have created and crafted. How close am I?
Mom: You develop and administer training for new employees and ongoing training for existing employees. You also developed and maintain a mentor program for existing employees. ***Let me know how close I am!!
What’s your biggest accomplishment here so far?
I’m most proud of the Sales Mentor Program. I’ve been developing it over the past 5 years, so it has become my child. Earlier on I was able to pilot this program with some smaller groups; after that, it felt like I was a door-to-door salesperson pitching this program to whoever would listen. When I joined the Sales Training Team a few years ago, our new director was impressed with my program and was ready to lead the way in helping me get this off the ground. His belief in my work and me was truly a turning point in my own belief in myself.
I take a lot of pride in my work and what is shown to the public eye. While the structure of the program represents my vision, insight, and creativity, it continues to grow and develop with each and every one of the mentors who are a part of it. They make the program what it is. It’s the gateway to whatever their next steps are. While at one point in time, I would have described myself as a perfectionist, along the way I’ve learned that mistakes are a part of the program’s growth. Perfection doesn’t exist, and going with the flow (while keeping vision) is okay as long as evolution and progress are happening. Developing this program has taught me more than I ever anticipated about myself and I’m beyond thankful for the support this program has received. I like to think that I am helping to create the future leaders of this company, so that no matter what my career has in store for me, the impact I have on Groupon is long-lasting.
If you could do any job for another day, what would it be and why?
Marine Biologist or an Astronaut for NASA. We have only explored 4% of space and only about 5% of the deep sea. To me, venturing into these unknown areas would be exhilarating.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us!
I’m a fitness freak. I’m an instructor at The Bar Method and have competed in a bikini fitness competition. I plan to take on a few more fitness challenges in the coming years and I appreciate that Groupon allows me to have a positive work/life balance to appeal to my ever-changing lifestyle.