Putting diversity hiring into action in Seattle

Putting diversity hiring into action in Seattle

What’s one impactful way to connect diverse talent with tech companies? Put them in a room together and have deliberate conversations about diversity hiring.

The Tech Jobs Tour, formerly TechUP, is an organization that—in conjunction with like-minded organizations such as Lesbians Who Tech—focuses on promoting and supporting diverse and non-traditional engineers in order to diversify the tech scene. The tour recently had a stop in Seattle and Groupon was a sponsor of the event, which had over 500 guests in attendance. Throughout the evening at Impact Hub Seattle, engineers connected with companies who are prioritizing diversity hiring, such as Groupon. The schedule consisted of speed mentoring sessions, demos, a career fair, and a keynote address by the 3rd CTO of the United States of America, Megan Smith. In conjunction with sponsoring the event, Groupon had roughly 20 employees attend, volunteer, or mentor during the course of the evening.

 

Music Education Major Turned Tech Specialist

Music Education Major Turned Tech Specialist

In 2011, Emily’s Grandma encouraged her apply to a company called “Groupon”—in 2015, she’s embedded in the Tech organization and is a master user of the word “triage.”

Name: Emily
Title: Application Operations Support Specialist
Start date: January 31, 2011

Tell us about your Groupon journey

This was my first job after college. My grandma suggested I apply. I was having a hard time finding a job in my major, and reading the Chicago Tribune every day convinced her that Groupon was a fun place to work, and moving to Chicago could be a great new adventure. She was right! I applied and began my Groupon career in Customer Service as a regular ol’ CS rep.

After a few months, I asked my manager if I could shadow a developer because I wanted to understand why some customers had trouble receiving daily emails. She added to a special project in CS. The goal of this project was to make sure that CS was appropriately routing tickets to Engineering Support. Today, this team is called Application Operations Development. We slowly went from being a project to a team of our own, Application Operations Support. We still support the Customer Service department, but we’re now in Engineering supporting all other business teams that interact with the website as well.

I don’t have a technical background (I was a Music Education major), so it’s interesting to me that I ended up in the role I’m in, but it fits. I’ve been working with the site so much that it has become intuitive to me what works and what doesn’t. I’m also the project owner for Groupon Central, our internal communications tool. I work with people who are making process changes to make sure that the forms the developers create are efficient and instinctual for the user.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?

There are so many people and there is so much to know. Something that really drives me is process improvement: I strive to get to a place where I can understand what everyone is doing so I can try to make things better. Growing globally has been a challenge, but these are all good challenges. They all push me to be better at my job.

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in joining Groupon?

Keep an open mind. I got to where I am now because I care about helping people. I’m really passionate about helping local merchants and helping my coworkers around me. I want to help make Groupon an awesome place to work. If you can keep an open mind and find purpose in what you’re doing, and be genuine while doing so, then doors will open up for you.

Similar to the creation of the word “Groupon,” what two animals would you pick to create a new animal? E.g.: dirds?

Well my favorite animals are whales; I’m very knowledgeable and passionate about them. I think I would combine a dog and a whale because I want a whale that can be on land and be a loyal friend.  So, I’m thinking a humpback whale mixed with a a lab…so it will be called a “Wab.”

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. If Emily’s Groupon story has inspired you to try something new, click here to view our open opportunities.