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.

Groupon for Veterans

Pride@Groupon

Women@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters

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.

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GrouponForVeterans

Groupon World Headquarters

Jackie – Supply and Strategy Manager, BeautyNow

Jackie – Supply and Strategy Manager, BeautyNow

JACKIE

Supply & Strategy Manager – BeautyNow
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2012

From launching a learning series for employees to overseeing Groupon’s Latino-focused resource group to helping raise 20k for hurricane relief, we can sum up Jackie’s involvement in Groupon with one word: inspirational.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite memory is the dinosaur coming into the office and scaring people as they came out of the elevator!

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

I work on BeautyNow supply strategy. My goal is to ensure that consumers are getting the appointments they are searching for, when they want them. Because our value proposition is not price, it’s important for us to understand how we can build a product that gives people a robust selection of services that they’d prefer to book and conveniently pay for through a few clicks of a button!

Who or what inspires you? 

People who are not afraid of the unknown and who welcome calculated risks!

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I thought it was such a fun company and a great fit for me professionally.

What are your biggest accomplishments here so far?

In my past life, I worked at Ernst & Young as an auditor. Although it was a great experience that allowed me to build a great professional foundation, I could not have done some of the innovative things I’ve done had I not decided to completely change career paths. At Groupon, I have worked on helping build the framework of what is currently our unstoppable beauty business; building out injectable service focus and training programs; a national launch of surgical offers; and some up-and-coming novel ideas in the BeautyNow space (stay tuned for those!)

I’m incredibly proud of the launch of my “Ongoing Learning Series” which truly stemmed from my undying yearning to learn and grow professionally and personally. We’ve had over 300 participants and over 12 sessions so far! I’m looking forward to continuing this program as well.

I’m also proud of the work I did with Matt Rolnick on our Hurricane Relief Auction. This all came about with a simple idea to bring our HBW (Health, Beauty, & Wellness) team together for a small auction where we could contribute in a small way with our crafts, skills, and time to a truly necessary cause. After Matt sent a few emails asking for donations, we got the ball rolling. I sent an email to our CEO, Rich Williams, asking if he’d be interested in offering something to the auction and he responded in less than 10 minutes! The kind of support we received for this auction from everyone around the office—including our incredible support functions—was astounding. Through this auction, we were able to raise over 20k to hurricane relief! Matt and I are also so humbled to have been nominated by the organization to receive a Groupon Green Award (Groupon’s internal award for employees) for exhibiting our core value of “Community” in light of our fundraising efforts for hurricane relief!

Jackie with members of Groupon en Espanol on Groupon Chicago’s roof deck

Also, my work as Chair of Groupon en Español has been incredibly rewarding. With only a year under our belt, GEE has been able to make huge progress across all diversity initiatives in the organization. We’re constantly trying to think of ways we can grow our marketplace, employee base, and continue to engage customers of all backgrounds on our platform. I love this aspect of my role because I truly get to see people who are passionate about what they do. My GEE team does not do the work for the pay (since it’s a volunteer effort), they do it because they truly care about inclusivity and diversity. I am so proud of my team and am inspired by them every day!

GrouponEnEspanol

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

Groupon Phoenix Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity

Groupon Phoenix Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity

In late February, members of our Groupon Phoenix office had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona. Jessy Gheen, one of our Phoenix Account Executives, shares the experience of helping a family build their home.

Jamel Jibba was born in Ethiopia and moved to Phoenix, Arizona with his family a few years ago. Currently, Jamel, his wife, two children and mother-in-law all share a two-bedroom apartment. Jamel works two jobs to make ends meet and has looked forward to the day when the family can have a larger home and yard for the children to play soccer. Habitat for Humanity helps families who aren’t able to purchase adequate housing on their own in partnership with volunteers and organizations. The future home owners in return must contribute 200-400 hours of sweat equity toward the building or renovating of the home.

With a total of 19 Groupon volunteers including friends, family, and even new hires who hadn’t officially started yet, we were able to put in 5.5 hours of hard work and sweat. We were in luck to be there on “crane day” to put up the trusses, and also were put in charge of measuring and cutting wood, nailing everything in, putting up the sides, leveling out the yard, and other things I was surprised they trusted us with doing. It was an amazing opportunity for our group and so rewarding to help this family make a better life for their children.

The Groupon Phoenix team has already participated in more than 8 group volunteer events in our first year and were honored to be recognized with 61% participation in 2015, 2nd of any Groupon office in the world. It’s a great way to get to know your colleagues and helping those in our community who need it most. We already have 10 planned activities for 2016 and we’re getting more great ideas from our new hires as well.

“There are so many great things about the culture at Groupon, but sharing in volunteer experiences with my coworkers has to be the best. Working with Habitat for Humanity this last weekend showed how much everyone can accomplish when we come together and each pitch in some labor. I was very impressed with the handy skills that many of my fellow sales reps have (myself not included) and overall enjoyed the quality time spent doing something important. The best part was meeting the future homeowner, Jamal, and seeing the pride he had in building his home with such a great organization. I look forward to many more Groupon volunteer events! A special thanks to Jessy for always giving us these great opportunities!” – Sarah H.

“I am new to area so when I got the email I thought it would be a fun experience and I never did habitat before.  It felt great to be able to help a family and learn something new but I also realized I should stick to an office job and im not very handy haha.  But it was definitely fun.” –Kalli C.

“Volunteering this past weekend for Habitat for Humanity was a great experience. Working hand in hand with the family that was going to be living in this house was really amazing. Seeing the family extremely excited and proud of the hard work they had already put into the home so far was the best part. The amount of hours dedicated by not only the family, but countless volunteers that were put into building this home for a family in need was incredible and I was happy to be apart of it. It was great to bond with my co-workers at Groupon in an environment other than the office and helping out a family that was in need was a great feeling we all shared.  I was really happy to be a part of it and can’t wait for the next event.”- Rob A.