Ashley from Risk Operations in Dublin

Ashley from Risk Operations in Dublin

ASHLEY HOMAMPOUR

Risk Operations
Dublin
Joined: 2011

Ashley’s seven years at Groupon have seen her change roles from Customer Service to Risk Operations, and changes sides of the Atlantic from Chicago to Dublin. Here she talks about her career growth and watching Groupon evolve along the way too.

_______________________

Tell us about your Groupon story so far.

I have been with Groupon for almost seven years, so I’ve got both a green and a black jacket. I began my journey in the Chicago office as a Customer Service Representative back in June of 2011 and crossed into Risk Management into 2013.

I currently handle Risk Operations mainly for North America but am incorporating our international markets now that I am in the Dublin office. I ensure that the front line Risk Management team has clean and current processes with other stakeholder departments, so it’s a lot of coordination and training. I also maintain Risk’s ticketing system and ad-hoc systems requests. I have gone from an individual contributor to a manager and then back to individual contributor again. Although my path has been wonderfully non-traditional, the level of professional and personal support I have received from my manager and the director of Risk has been immeasurable.

 

What’s the secret to success at Groupon?

I would have to say tenacity or a tenacious person. You can’t be afraid to get down in the dirt and go for what you want. You have to take ownership of your work and your career. It can seem daunting, especially if you are unsure of you want or you are in uncharted waters but the type of person who excels here will be courageous enough to step back, evaluate what’s needed for them to plot their course and right their ship (excuse the weak metaphor, I’ve been listening to a podcast about famous pirates today).   

 

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

I am more than pleased to say I have watched Groupon transform into a diverse, inclusive space. It is really a privilege to be able to see your company do some self-reflection and say “Is this the best we can do?” As a woman at Groupon, I comfortably speak up, stand on my own, take up space, and watch as more and more accomplished women are filling leadership roles to carry us forward. I am also pleased more of our male colleagues are doing their bit to be allies and help promote equality in the workplace.

 

 

“As a woman at Groupon, I comfortably speak up, stand on my own, take up space, and watch as more and more accomplished women are filling leadership roles to carry us forward.”

 

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

It’s incredibly significant that we are launching Women@Groupon and I am excited to be a part of it. I hope it will be a source of support and inclusion for current and future employees. I hope it will also serve as resource as we build our name outside our doors, specifically within local schools and our larger community.

 

What does your mother think you do?

Hahah! My mother thinks that I do something complicated with our systems, so she is partly right. She knows I plan and plan and plan and then teach people about my plans. She says I am good at that and I’d say she’s probably right there too!

 

And finally….

When I applied for a Customer Service job in 2011, I had no clue what I was getting into. The US, much like the rest of the world, was recouping from the economic downturn and Chicago was no exception. I was out of work and was weeks away from completing my last class for my Masters in Business Administration. I landed the job at Groupon and figured, I’d start at the bottom, learn the company, and work my way up. I finished my degree two weeks into my CS training.

Over the last seven years, I worked really hard and my career took off. I learned so much I couldn’t have anticipated. One of the biggest things? You are only as good as the people you work with. It sounds corny and I feel like most people say this, but it’s true: I’ve met people who became my closest friends. We’ve watched each other meet their partners, get married, have babies, celebrated birthdays and holidays, leaned on each other through break-ups, divorce and death. Three years ago, I went through one of the toughest times in my life, but they were there for me just the same. They were there for me when I met my partner and decided to embark on a two year long distance relationship between Chicago and Dublin. And they were there for me, this past year throughout the transfer process as all the business logistics and personal aspects came together. I miss them dearly, but I am very happy to be in the Dublin office and I can’t wait to find my next set of people!

 

Christina Tolman – Business Development Representative

Christina Tolman – Business Development Representative

CHRISTINA TOLMAN

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

Switching careers can be daunting, especially when you’re trying Sales for the first time. But Christina, a Phoenix Business Development Rep in Phoenix, handled her career 180 with ease thanks to an energetic outlook and Groupon’s robust Sales training program.

How does the Phoenix office have fun during the work day?

Catch Phrase! On Wednesdays we have Breakfast Club (where two people bring breakfast to share) and then we play Catch Phrase. It’s friendly but also very competitive and a great way to prepare people for the phones!

What do you love about your job?

What I love most is getting to build lasting partnerships between Groupon and businesses. Checking in on businesses that I’ve worked with and hearing about their success brings me a lot of joy. I love that each day is different and that it is challenging. There is a new puzzle to be solved for every business and it keeps me on my toes!

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

The most challenging thing to me is refining on my own approach at work. In my last career, almost every interaction that I had was in person. It was tricky at first to build relationships over the phone and to be able to connect with someone when I couldn’t see their face but now I actually enjoy this more because I can communicate with so many more people each day!

What inspires you?

What inspires me is the ability to learn and grow each day. It’s pretty amazing that I can be a better person each day, learn something new, and try to bring more joy and good to the world. Simply said by Don Draper, “Make it simple, but significant.”

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I walked in the door for my interview and knew I wanted to work at Groupon. The environment was positive, fun, and welcoming. In fact, during my interview I said, “If you offered my the job right now, I would say yes!” I was offered the position two days later.

“I love that each day is different and that it is challenging. There is a new puzzle to be solved for every business and it keeps me on my toes!”

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

One of the things that I do is ask my friends about new businesses or businesses that they would want to see on Groupon throughout the country. I focus primarily on new breweries or smaller breweries because one of the things that I hear from many that I work with is how they want to bring the community together. It is pretty amazing for me to partner with a brewery before they even open their doors and hear about how they started, to watch all the equipment be installed, and ultimately to see them open their doors for the first time.

What’s your proudest accomplishment in your time here so far?

Working with a shooting range this year. It was a newer range that really wanted to be on Groupon for the exposure. It took a lot of work on the back end to get them on the site but ultimately we got them on just in the nick of time before Thanksgiving. I was in Austin when I received a text that said, “Congratulations – you have one of the top deals of the week!” That was my first time being recognized as one of the top deals. After that, I received Rep of the Week. It was great to see that after all of work of the merchant and my team, that they were able to get on the site and gain the exposure they were looking for!

Have you won any awards?

Culture Club: Unity Award

What do your parents think you do?

“Lets see; I think you work with companies large and small to help them sell themselves better by providing deals that encourage others to use their product and because of that use they want to continue using the product even without the discount coupon. How does that sound?” Written by mom and approved by dad.

Where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here?

I worked with early childhood programs throughout the country. I was a trainer and coach for childcare centers and helped them improve their quality of care. I’ve always wanted to try sales but was scared. In February 2017, I started thinking that I was going to make the transition and by March I decided to put my two weeks at my job without another job lined up! Amazingly enough, I ended up having an interview at Groupon the next week and was offered a position. I guess it was meant to be!

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’ve recently taken up hiking: Arizona has some amazing views! Mud runs and races are also something I like to do. The Hot Chocolate 15K and Terrain Mud Run are my favorites.

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

I would want to own a brewery or a coffee shop. It would be great to get to know the people in the community I work in by providing a great environment! (Maybe one day I’ll start a business and I’ll have to call Groupon to help me build the brand!)

What’s your favorite local business?

La Santisima. They have the best horchata I’ve ever had: horchata with strawberry creme, pecans, cantaloupe, strawberries, and cinnamon! They also have a salsa bar where you can choose about 15-20 different types of salsa. Chips and salsa is my favorite food so it is a huge win for me!

Sales roles exist at other companies…so why Groupon? What gets you excited to come here every day?

My brother in law is in sales and has been for 20+ years. He said to find a company that has a training program that will invest in you. Coming from a non-sales background, I saw Groupon as a company that would invest in me to make me the better every day. If a company invests in me, it makes me want to in turn invest in them even more! The people I work with also make my life great each day! (Grace Litteken, my manager makes a tough job easier and I couldn’t do it without her!)

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Ping Pong Tournaments –

We take them seriously –

Better start training!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I’m in sales, but money does not motivate me! Also…I have 7 older sisters. I’m the youngest of 8 girls!

Meet the Wonder Women of Groupon

Meet the Wonder Women of Groupon

We recently celebrated the wonder women of Groupon with a panel featuring some of our most inspiring leaders in our Health, Beauty, and Wellness vertical. Groupon en Español and Women@Groupon teamed up to host the event at Groupon’s Chicago office, which also streamed live. Vice President and General Manager of Groupon’s Health, Beauty & Wellness division and Crain’s Chicago 40 under 40 finalist, Silvija Martincevic, moderated the event.

COCO MEERS, General Manager for BeautyNow

Superhero Talent: Beauty-Booking Master Creator

How do you find your career niche?

I joined L’Oreal and I also loved French; I thought the beauty industry would be a really creative place where verbal and visual cues can change the course of things in a consumer’s mind. Little did I know, the seeds were planted for me in that first career choice. The biggest takeaway is that I didn’t know what I was looking for and sometimes you have to trust that you do the best that you can where you are and you position yourself as well as you can. Then, you take the best of all situations. For me, that’s what I did with L’Oreal’s rotational training program, which basically trained me in general management. Not being an expert in one functional area, but instead being a jack-of-all-trades. More than anything else, it’s the experts who are the real change-makers. To facilitate, coach, keep people accountable, mentor…those are the parts of my job that I love.

KEEGAN CHAPMAN, Head of Sales for BeautyNow

Superhero Talent: The Sales Whisperer, preparing hundreds for Sales Battle

What do you do every day to fulfill your commitment to Groupon?

I believe there are three things that I check in with myself about all of the time. Did I come in with a positive attitude? Did I complete the daily behaviors that I believe make me successful everyday? Did I work on anything to make me better at my job or the next job I want? If I am missing one of these there is no way for me to grow and improve and feel that I am giving this job everything I’ve got.

JACKIE RODRIGUEZ, Supply & Strategy Manager for BeautyNow

Superhero Talent: Career Chameleon

What was your biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your career and how did you overcome it?

Completely changing my path from accounting to now Supply Strategy (and in past City Planning, Merchandising, Sales Strategy – the list goes on!). I had to make some sacrifices to make that change, but the reward of making significant business impact now through the calculated risks and innovations that I’ve helped lead, the opportunity to be creative, being on a team that supports me and understands that our personal lives should not be sacrificed, and being on a team full of incredible inspiring female leaders is so much more fulfulling!

MADDI HURD, Head of Business Strategy and Operations

Superhero Talent: Herding Cats (or cross-functional projects) for 7 years and counting!

How do you structure your time to ensure you are meeting your goals?

It’s not something that I do well everyday and at Groupon, goals changes so often, so my best practice is to frequently stop and evaluate what my team or I am working on and say “is this still value-add for the business? does this align with what is making the biggest impact?” asking myself these questions helps me ensure I’m focusing on is making the greatest contribution to the business

Carolyn Dorant – Email Marketing Manager

Carolyn Dorant – Email Marketing Manager

CAROLYN DORANT

Email Marketing Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2010

What was Groupon like in 2010? What does an email marketer on the Coupons team do? Does Groupon Goods sell rockets? Carolyn answers all of the tough questions today on the blog.

What was your first impression of Groupon in 2010?

When I came in for my interview, there was a good-but-hectic energy in the air. The team was outgrowing the office on the 6th floor and the recruiters I talked to were picking up the pace of hiring––the editorial department was hiring a handful of people each week. It was clear from the beginning that I was about to become a part of a special, energetic community of talented people who were very dedicated to this weird new idea.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

A few years ago a group of us stayed in the office well past midnight building a toy rocket we bought on Groupon Goods. We took a video of the launch a few days later and I still have a printed gif of it on my desk.

Who inspires you?

People who solve complex problems with creativity and empathy.

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

I write and produce an email that reaches customers six times a week; we’re helping communicate that Groupon is so much more than just a “daily deal”–my team, Groupon Coupons, helps connect customers with discounts to major online retailers they’re already shopping. Think Amazon, Kohl’s, Home Depot, and basically any brick-and-mortar retail chain you’ve ever set foot in.

So what’d you do before Groupon and how’d you get here?

When I interviewed, I was fresh out of grad school and juggling a few freelance writing gigs. It suited my schedule when I was in school, but I really wanted to be part of a bigger team. When the opportunity to work in Groupon’s editorial department presented itself, I jumped at it. I accepted the job on a Friday morning and started the following Monday.

What’s your biggest Groupon accomplishment?

I tend to be really efficiency-focused, so I’m really proud of scaling our email cadence from once per week to six times per week without having to hire any new people. I do it all myself with the help of a tool I created with a product manager (and his engineering team.)

I also feel really good about the work I did for Women@Groupon; I served two terms as the Communications Chair and was able to formalize a bimonthly newsletter. W@G does a lot of work at Groupon to provide networking and philanthropic events for all employees, but people have to know it’s happening!

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

It would be so fun to do Will Shortz’s job editing crosswords for the New York Times.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I’ve eaten exactly 1 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in my life and it was in 2016 on top of a mountain.

What does your dad think you do?

It’s actually pretty accurate, sadly, but my dad does think it’s necessary to tell me about every single thing he buys on Groupon. He’s a loyal customer!

Why do you participate in Women@Groupon?

Joining Women@Groupon helped me feel like a more engaged member of the community–it’s easy to forget that there are so many amazing people working here when you keep yourself confined to your team or department.

What’s your favorite local business?

Unabridged Bookstore in Lakeview. I’ve been buying books there since I was a little kid, and I am so relieved and happy that independent bookstores can still thrive in a community the way that Unabridged does.

Keleigh Zolnierek – Software Development Engineer in Test

Keleigh Zolnierek – Software Development Engineer in Test

KELEIGH ZOLNIEREK

Software Development Engineer in Test – User Sessions
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2016

Test Engineer Keleigh pays it forward by participating in programs and volunteer efforts focused on building, developing, and motivating women in Technology.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

The first time I helped with Scout Out Engineering, I was so impressed by how much the scouts knew. It seems like schools have started teaching basic computer science concepts in elementary which is awesome!

What were you looking for in a company while you were job hunting?

Prior to joining Groupon, I interned at Thompson Reuters over the summer. It was an excellent internship program and the people who worked there were incredible. When I was looking for a full-time position, I knew that I wanted to move out of Michigan (which is why I did not choose Thompson Reuters) and that I still wanted to do Software Development. After that, I also focused on companies that would allow me to grow my career and further my programming knowledge. I was not sure that I wanted to work in Test Engineering, but decided based on other factors, such as location, benefits, and the people, that it would be the best fit at the time. I am happy with where I ended up and think it turned out well.

What does your family think you do?

Mom: “Test and fix computer programs”

Dad: “I really don’t know…..” (After telling him to guess.) “Responsible for the quality control for previously designed programs.” 

Brother: “Find mistakes.”

I’m very impressed with all of the answers! They are way closer than just making cool Powerpoint slides, which is what they thought for a while in college.

What’s unique about Engineering at Groupon?

There is always someone willing to explain a concept or process when you have questions about it.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

My very first impression of Groupon was at the career fair. They were one of the few companies that had t-shirts in women’s sizes and fits which impressed me. When I interviewed, I really liked how casual, yet knowledgeable the interviewers seemed. Also, it probably did not hurt that my interview in the Palo Alto office ended with fro-yo. 🙂

Can you tell us about your work promoting women in Tech?

I’ve recently started co-leading Groupon’s Lean In Circle, which is currently based in Chicago; however, we do have an engineer who joins from Palo Alto. We meet regularly to learn and grow together, specifically in the engineering space. There are three areas we focus on: professional, leadership, and technical development. We hope to grow our circle to include more women from different Groupon offices.

What’s surprised you the most about working at Groupon?

The random company things that Groupon does are awesome. Some of my favorite things were Halloween caramel apples and cider last year, laptop stickers, Women@Groupon handing out ice cream, the building’s ice cream social and rooftop doughnuts, and Geekfest weekly tech presentations (which are open to the public). These seem like small things, but I really appreciate them.

Tell us about the SDET team.

As an SDET there are a few different team setups at Groupon. For my team, I have two sections: my testing colleagues and my feature team. My testing team is made up of SDETs who are also doing front-end testing for Groupon. With that team there are different features—such as internal tools or frameworks—that we develop.

My feature team is the group of people who are responsible for testing the user sessions material. The people included in this are a team manager who makes sure our team stays on track for team goals, a product manager who decides what new features we will try out, a developer who turns the feature ideas to code, two Software Test Engineers who manually test features, and me who automates the testing process!

What’s your favorite language?

C++

What’s your favorite part of your team’s software development process?

I really like when we find a bug. If there aren’t any found, it makes me a little nervous and I feel like we may be missing something.

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

I make sure that the sign-in page is not broken so users are able to make purchases.

What are your favorite local businesses?

Doughnut Vault and Mindy’s Hot Chocolate.

Vim or emacs?

Vim, because it’s what I used in school.

Tabs or spaces?

Spaces

 

Women@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters