Meet Gabi, our Senior Director of International Marketing Ops

Meet Gabi, our Senior Director of International Marketing Ops

GABI STAFFORD

Senior Director International Marketing Ops
Dublin
Joined: 2014

Our Director of International Marketing Ops shares her love of Groupon’s open, diverse culture and how working here has lifted her game.

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Tell us about your Groupon story so far.

I have been at Groupon for three and a half years and I’m on my 4th job and my 5th boss! One thing you can say about Groupon is that it is never, ever boring. I love the fast-paced, results-based environment. I have learned more than I could ever have imagined at my time here and working at Groupon has truly lifted my game. When I started in 2014 I was Head of International Email and now three and half years later I am Senior Director of International Marketing Operations, a role with responsibility for all online international marketing channels. It’s been an exciting and wild ride.

 

What’s the secret to succeeding at Groupon? What type of person tends to excel here?

Success at Groupon is based on results: you need to be passionate, results-focused and data-driven to excel here. Creativity and an entrepreneurial bent are also definitely beneficial. You should like being constantly challenged and thrive on problem solving. All of that being said, respect, integrity and inclusion are core Groupon values so you should also enjoy working with lots of truly individual and awesome people.

 

What is Groupon like as a workplace for women? Does it feel like a diverse, inclusive space?

My personal experience of Groupon is definitely that it is diverse and inclusive. As a mother, the flexibility and family first focus that Groupon offers is something that I haven’t experienced in other companies. My daughters are particularly fond of the soft drinks and chocolate on tap when they come in to play table tennis or foosball. We are very lucky, particularly in International to have a significant number of female leaders. Our International President, CMO and HR Leader are all women. At Groupon the sky is literally the limit!

 

“There is real power in coming together as a group not only to support one another but also to harness our skills and talent to positively impact the representation of women in STEM, particularly in Ireland.”

How significant is it that we are launching Women@Groupon?

Women@Groupon is very close to my heart. I work with a lot of incredibly talented, passionate women and Women@Groupon is one way to celebrate and nurture that talent here in Dublin while also having a few laughs: another important part of life here! There is real power in coming together as a group not only to support one another but also to harness our skills and talent to positively impact the representation of women in STEM, particularly in Ireland. Dublin Women@Groupon is all about having an eye on the future.

 

What does your mother think you do?

I think she pictures me on the starship Enterprise constantly talking on my state of the art video phone. She loves the fact that I work globally for a well-recognised brand, even if she’s a bit vague on the details!

VerveCon 2018 Women in Tech Conference

VerveCon 2018 Women in Tech Conference

VerveCon aims to empower women in technology and build a community that helps them in their career path and prepare them to be an impact maker, to solve the real problems, and to prepare them to make tough decisions. VerveCon provides a platform and environment to come together, learn & inspire them in becoming great leaders at work.

Groupon alumni Anuradha Gali will be speaking at the event and some of our Engineers will be attending as well.

Why come? You’ll be…

  • Hearing women executives covering the spectrum of emerging technologies catering all levels of careers – AI, BigData, IoT, Data Science, Containers, User Interface
  • Attending the only conference in Bay Area offering technical tracks and career talks on same stage
  • Participating in our unique issue-based mentoring program, a one year benefit available to all attendees
  • Standing with women industry leaders as they discuss the continuing struggles faced by women in tech, and their suggestions about what we can all do to drive positive change
  • Learning how to position and project yourself to be in tapped for leadership in your organization
  • Contributing in our Interactive Sessions
  • Discovering new and inspiring companies in our female founder panel discussions
Sviatlana Khilko – Software Test Engineer

Sviatlana Khilko – Software Test Engineer

SVIATLANA KHILKO

Software Test Engineer – Mobile Team
Palo Alto, CA
Joined: 2015

Almost 6,000 miles separate California from Sviatlana’s homeland of Belarus, where she started off as a lawyer only to eventually become an Engineer in Silicon Valley.

What do you love about working at Groupon?

I really enjoy volunteering with my teammates, as it makes me feel amazing to give back to the local community.

What was your first role here?

I joined Groupon as a contract test engineer two years ago and then joined as a full-time Grouponer, thanks to my peers, managers, and mentors! Initially, I was an STE1 and now I’m an STE3. All of the people I work with teach me something new and that helps both me and my team grow.

So what was your first impression of Groupon?

I was impressed with the level of people awesomeness around me! Every person is unique, very smart, professional, each of them has reach personality and impressive background I keep learning from. I was also impressed with the very well-documented and clear process! How easy it is to ramp up, how detailed the instructions, are and how helpful everyone is.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

My life philosophy is to move forward, learn, explore and find enjoyment in the process. I’m always open to new opportunities, people, and situations that I meet on my path. All this and even more I get as a Test Engineer: unpredictability, the need to understand every little detail, the opportunity to work with smart, talented, extraordinary people. I got into the testing in an unusual way: I was born, grew up in, and got Master’s Degree in Law in Belarus. For some time I was engaged in scientific research in this field. Then, I worked as an editor in chief for one of the publishing houses. Later, when the IT industry began to grow rapidly, I decided to try myself in a new role and I’m incredibly happy about making this transition. It’s so great to have the opportunity to change things in life, but at the same time to have my background which helps me a lot in my current role.

What do your parents think you do?

I’m originally from Belarus (small eastern European country) and of course due to generational, cultural, language, and other gaps, it’s very challenging for my mom to understand exactly what I’m doing. But what I know for sure is that my mom is very proud of me and happy that I found a place I really enjoy working in! She notices all the time that I’m growing (personally and professionally) and loves to hear all the stories about Groupon. She takes my job very seriously, so no funny quotes from her! But my son thinks that my work is so great because we always have Nutella in the kitchen 🙂

What’s unique about Groupon Engineering?

Respect. It doesn’t matter what role you’re in, you’ll be listened to and your opinions will be taken seriously.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Testing! It’s so exciting to be the very first person to see new features in action and to put yourself in the customers’ “shoes.”

Groupon World Headquarters

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.

 

What’s the key to real progress for women in Tech? Anu explains.

What’s the key to real progress for women in Tech? Anu explains.

Groupon’s Anu Gali, Director of Engineering & Silicon Valley Biz Journal “Women of Influence” honoree, says getting women interested in the Tech sector is only half the battle.

AnuI was recently honored at the the 2017 “Women of Influence” award ceremony organized by The Silicon Valley Business Journal. Each year the magazine recognizes local business women, community leaders, and philanthropists who have made a difference in their workplace and in the broader Silicon Valley Community. I was one of the honorees this year for a combination of Engineering leadership, entrepreneurship, and volunteer work for various STEM and Women’s Leadership Incubator programs. I am passionate about bringing more women into engineering. I started off working with middle and high school girls through organizations like Girls Who Code and Technovation Challenge.

While these were satisfying, I also realized that the women who get into technology often find it hard to grow into leadership positions without the benefit of good mentorship. I felt that enabling these women to succeed would have a multiplier effect in having them help other women while also acting as role models for girls who want to get into the field. So, I started mentoring career women through organizations such as Grace Hopper and TheClubSV which is an Incubator of Women Leaders. I believe these help me make a bigger impact in the amount of time I have.

The culture at Groupon—based on individual merit and equal opportunity to contribute and grow—is unique in the industry and I feel highly valued here. I cherish the strong, engineering-driven culture where I am able to take initiatives to influence the product direction while working with so many smart people. Women at Groupon as an employee resource group sponsors mentorship, talent development, and other programs geared towards career development. Groupon also sponsors Women Who Code and Grace Hopper through which the employees have access to external meetups, workshops and mentors. As a Director of Engineering, I am currently leading initiatives for voucherless redemption. This is an exciting project where we let customers buy a voucher, link it to their credit card, and enable them to utilize the voucher without any hassle. I strongly believe this will transform the user experience, enable them to use Groupon more often, and be a significant growth driver for our business.

Read more about women in Engineering at Groupon.