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

A happy hour fundraiser to benefit those affected by the North Bay fire

A happy hour fundraiser to benefit those affected by the North Bay fire

VOLUNTEERING

December 6, 2017

San Francisco & Palo Alto team up with local organizations

to help victims of North Bay fire

Following the North Bay fires affecting nearby communities—including the famous Napa and neighboring vineyards in October—Groupon’s Palo Alto and San Francisco offices organized charity happy hours the week of November 29th. We purchased wines for tastings from vineyards that were burned down and volunteers were asked to bring in baked goods as pairings. Donations collected were donated to support the Anova Center for Education, an autism school that was burned down, and Rebuilding Together, an organization that facilitates home improvements for those affected by natural disasters. In total, we raised $1,000The event had a great turn out and was an enjoyable event for employees to get together after a busy Black Friday week and contribute to a local cause!

Laura Hicks – Corporate Recruiter

Laura Hicks – Corporate Recruiter

LAURA HICKS

Corporate Recruiter
London, UK
Joined: 2013

If you’ve interviewed for a role on our Coupons or Getaways team, you’ve probably met Laura. When she’s not busy recruiting for our “in-house startups” or modeling for the in-house photo studio, you can find her organizing volunteering events for the recruiting team or cheering on her alma mater Clemson from Chicago.

What Chicago teams or roles do you hire for?

Sales, HR, Operations, and Analytics

Do you have any advice for candidates interviewing at Groupon?

Be yourself! Groupon is full of unique personalities, backgrounds, and quirks so make sure that you showcase what makes you YOU throughout the interview process! Also, I try to be as straightforward and transparent as possible. Any questions? Just ask!

What’s the #1 thing you wish all candidates did?

Be prepared and ask questions!

What’s something that candidates are surprised to learn about your hiring team?

The Getaways and Coupons teams are true “startups within a startup” and offer a really unique opportunity to work with a tight-knit team and get in at the ground level of fast-growing, quickly-evolving groups.

What inspires you?

I’ve always had a passion for helping others and giving back. I’ve been fortunate to have been given awesome opportunities and experiences so far in my life, so I believe it’s important to pay that forward. Whether it be helping a candidate get their dream job or helping our local community through our volunteer efforts with the Employee Volunteer Program, I am inspired by the feeling of being part of something greater than myself and contributing towards the greater good!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

When Groupon first opened its in-house photo studio, I was asked to participate in a few of their photo shoots. The next thing you know I’m getting texts from friends from college and people I grew up with who had seen my photo on local Groupon deals, asking if I was a model for Groupon! It was equally embarrassing and hilarious…and will probably be my only claim to fame.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I’ll never forget the energy I felt walking through the doors of our office for my interview. It’s my favorite thing about working at Groupon and still what keeps me excited to come in every morning!

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

As a Recruiter, I serve as a brand ambassador for Groupon and help to find and attract the talent that will join our teams and help Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce.

What’s your proudest Groupon accomplishment?

When I started with Groupon as a Recruiting Coordinator it was my first role out of school and I knew very little about recruiting. Flash forward 4 years: I’ve been promoted twice and have had the opportunity to recruit for a large variety of teams and departments. I’m so proud to have helped build two of our fastest growing channels at Groupon: Getaways and Coupons!

Why’d you get involved in the Employee Volunteer Program?

When interviewing four years ago, one of the most important things that drew me to Groupon was the opportunity to get involved outside of your “day to day.” I became a trained member of our Employee Volunteer Program right away and have been able to plan volunteer events for my team as well as volunteer as a mentor with the Spark Program. Mentoring with Spark has been a wonderful experience and I feel lucky to have a manager that not only allows but values the opportunity to give my time to this program!

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

I’m obsessed with Kathie Lee & Hoda from the Today Show! It would be a dream come true to fill in as a co-host on their show.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

Although I reside in Chicago, I’m an ACC girl at heart and love all things Clemson Football. GO TIGERS!

Courtney McDonough – Recruiting Manager

Courtney McDonough – Recruiting Manager

COURTNEY MCDONOUGH

Recruiting Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2009

As the 6th most tenured employee and the most seasoned recruiter at Groupon, you could say Courtney has seen and done it all…including record a German chorale with roughly 100 other Grouponers at the Lyric Opera of Chicago to send to merchants as a holiday card.

What teams do you primarily recruit for?

Operations, Analytics, Corporate Development, and Merchandising

What are some best practices for candidates to keep in mind while they’re applying or interviewing here?

I personally appreciate a cover letter, especially if it’s not overly clear how your background or experience aligns with the role you’re applying for. Also, be yourself during the interview. We can tell if someone is too rehearsed or is just using a lot of jargon or buzzwords. We want to get to know YOU during the interview. Also, be prepared to talk about your past work and experience. We’ll likely dig deep into specific areas, so being prepared to go into detail will be helpful!

Anything a candidate should know about how to work with you during the recruiting process?

Be yourself! OK, and I tend to talk too much…I get excited about topics and will go off on random tangents sometimes.

What’s your proudest Groupon accomplishment?

Staying buckled in on this rollercoaster. It’s no surprise that Groupon’s had its ups and downs. Recruiting is great during the “ups” and really challenging during the “downs.” During those times—and even in-between—we’ve learned to adapt and have continued to recruit really amazing people. I’ve experienced a lot…a LOT here, and I consider each one of those experiences as a chance to learn. Learn from right, and learn from wrong. Also, remember when we were asked to hire 200 people in 3 weeks?

What was your first impression of Groupon…in 2009?

“Whoa.” Walking through these doors was a complete 180 from any job or company I had worked with, or even seen. Smart, casual, quirky, thoughtful, innovative, hilarious, energetic, and had the potential to be extremely impactful. Also, I get to wear jeans here?!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

In late 2009, the entire company (about 100 or so people at the time) went to the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, dressed in choir robes and recorded a German Chorale. We were all given the words (in German) and our “parts” ahead of time (alto, soprano, etc.) so we could practice. This was recorded and sent to merchants and vendors as a “holiday card.” I had only been at the company a couple months when we did this, and I remember trying to explain to my mom what I had done that day (that was a challenge). I LOVE these types of quirks of Groupon that make you scratch your head but are also super endearing.

Why do you participate in Groupon’s Employee Resource Groups and the Employee Volunteer Program?

I joined both to expand my skill set and my networks (both internally and externally). Through volunteering, I’ve been able to learn a lot more about Chicago, which has been fantastic. We’ve worked with kids, adults, and animals. We’ve cooked, planted, fed, taught, played, assembled, and so much more. I recently signed up to volunteer as a Wish Granter with Make-A-Wish — can’t wait to get started with that great organization!

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

On the recruiting team, we work hard to find amazing talent that not only has the right skills to drive our business’s growth, but also embodies the values of Groupon. We want people to care about what they do, how they do it, and how it affects other people, businesses, and communities.

What’s your favorite conference room name?

What’s your favorite local business?

Marie’s Pizza and Liquors. Very old-school pizza place with a liquor store attached. Not to mention, on Saturday nights they have a string quartet (comprised of old men) traveling around from table to table. All of this makes me very happy.

Who or what inspires you?

It’s a generic answer, but definitely my parents. Both worked really hard and overcame obstacles to go to college and develop really strong reputations within their chosen professions. I only hope they’ll be as proud of me as I am of them.

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

An astronaut. (Yes, I’m 7 years old.)

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us.

I have a compulsory need to smell mustard if it’s on a restaurant table.

Alicia Koch – Program Manager, Employee & Community Engagement

Alicia Koch – Program Manager, Employee & Community Engagement

ALICIA KOCH

Program Manager, Employee & Community Engagement
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2013

From intern to global-employee-volunteer-program builder, Alicia has taken advantage of some massive opportunities at Groupon all while sledding down active volcanoes in Nicaragua and singing Cher songs during team karaoke outings.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

In November 2015, I had the pleasure of traveling to Nicaragua with 5 other Grouponers who won that year’s Volunteer-a-thon (our hyper-competitive month of service held every June). We traveled with Spark Ventures to work with a local organization, Las Tías. You can read more about our trip here. To me, the coolest part about experiences like this is seeing your peers fall in love with service. You see it click; and that moment is the best reminder of why I love what I do. Aside from the volunteer component of the trip, other highlights include volcano boarding (essentially sledding) down an active volcano and zip lining through a coffee plantation—both things I can safely say I never thought I would get to do at work.

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

My role is unique in the sense that I don’t engage with small businesses or our customers on a daily basis, but my work directly impacts our shared corporate values—particularly “Community.” Our whole business is centered around building great neighborhoods and attracting customers to the gems of a local community. The work of our employee volunteers complements this nicely by getting directly involved in these neighborhoods through the work of our nonprofit partners.

What did you do before Groupon and how did you end up here?

This is really it! I had a few other internships with nonprofit organizations and worked on campus in the Student Leadership Institute prior to starting my internship at Groupon.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here (so far)?

Very early in my full-time role at Groupon, the three managers between myself and the CEO left to pursue other opportunities outside these green walls. This initially scared me, but it gave me the platform to turn my role into whatever I wanted it to be. During this ambiguous time, I worked my butt off and took on more responsibility than what I could have envisioned for myself at that stage in my career. I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally and can thank that time of growth for where I’m at now.

What’s your favorite local business?

Rogers Park Social

What makes Groupon a unique place to work?

Here at Groupon, what you do matters. I got my start at Groupon as an intern and have had the opportunity in the past (almost) 5 years to build out a global volunteer program that has engaged over 5,000 employees in over 63,000 hours of service supporting the work of close to 650 nonprofit organizations. Even as an intern, my work and my voice was valued. I’ve gotten to build things. I’ve gotten to make things up. I’ve gotten to try a whole bunch of new things. I’ve gotten to define my own career and what I want to be when I “grow up.” That kind of trust and autonomy in employees, regardless of rank or tenure, is something truly special to Groupon.

Have you won any awards during your time here?

In Q4 of 2016, I won a “Groupon Green Award,” our internal employee recognition awards, for being “Intolerant of Mediocrity”…(award included winning some custom Converse All Stars, see below!)

As well as Awesomeness Tickets from my teammates for “Bringing the Best Snacks” and “Not Spilling Your Coffee.”

“Here at Groupon, what you do matters. I got my start at Groupon as an intern and have had the opportunity in the past (almost) 5 years to build out a global volunteer program that has engaged over 5,000 employees in over 63,000 hours of service supporting the work of close to 650 nonprofit organizations.”

Who or what inspires you?

I get to be a part of a lot of really cool events at Groupon, but the event that continues to inspire me the most is twice a year when we bring together over 100 Girl Scouts for a day of STEM education. Seeing so many young girls geek out over math and science is pretty neat.

Tell us about your involvement with Groupon for Veterans.

I got involved with Groupon for Veterans in the very beginning with a personal goal of building a more diverse and inclusive workforce for my brother by the time he gets out of the military. Little did I know, my involvement in this group would allow me to do one of my favorite things in the whole wide world—connect people. Employee engagement groups have the power to build community and connect like-minded people who otherwise may not have crossed paths. That then leads to people having conversations with and learning from people who don’t look like them, and that is an incredible thing.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

When I started at Groupon, I was a junior in college. My first interview was with a man wearing a tie-dyed Grateful Dead t-shirt, who would later become my manager and now my teammate. Next to my desk, there was an enchanted forest. And down the hall from that, there were swings hanging from the ceiling. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

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

I’ve always thought it would be oddly satisfying to be a grape masher at a winery (assuming it’s like what I’ve seen in the movies); but after a day of mucky grapes between my toes, that would be enough of that.

What do your parents think you do?

I think my parents have a pretty good understanding of what I do, with my mom also working in the nonprofit space and my dad having worked in sales and marketing for as long as I can remember; but my younger brother, Sam, is really the one who’s confused here. I get calls from him in the middle of the day starting off with “Leesh, what’s up? What are you doing?” “Umm, I’m at work.” Sam currently serves in the Army and may never see a desk job, so I get a lot of questions asking, “What do you actually do when you’re sitting there looking at your computer?”

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us.

Last summer, I participated in a ten-week competitive karaoke league with other members of my Groupon team, soloing “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher and “Soul Man” by the Blues Brothers over the course of the season. Our team was robbed of the first place title but still took home the bronze.