by Brian Nordli
November 15, 2018

Some companies see career building as a one-way journey along the corporate ladder, leaving employees with no option but to move on if the path doesn’t suit them.

That’s not so at Groupon — employees are encouraged to indulge in their curiosities, try on new roles and take the path that suits them.

That philosophy enables employees to discover their true callings, whether that means jumping from the editorial team to technology, or from sales to user experience. We spoke with three team members about the zigs and zags they’ve taken to their current roles and how Groupon supported them along the way.

 

Groupon Logo wall
Photography By Allison Williams
Groupon Space Cat
Photograph by Allison Williams
Groupon Seats
Photography By Allison Williams

FOUNDED: 2008

EMPLOYEES: 6,000 global (more than 1,500 local)

WHAT THEY DO: Groupon is a marketplace for local services, experiences and goods that connects consumers with businesses in their neighborhoods.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago

PEER SUPPORT: Groupon offers a network of employee resource groups to support diversity and inclusion. Its groups include support for Latinos, LGBTQ community, veterans and more.  

PLANNING FOR WHAT'S NEXT: How Groupon is moving its data warehouse into the future. Learn more

 

Jackie at work

Jackie Portrait

Jackie Rodriguez, Chief of Staff to the COO

Jackie’s job is to assist Groupon’s COO in keeping its global workforce functioning smoothly. Her tasks vary each day, but her goal is to create efficiencies and act as a coordinator among various teams.

BEYOND WORK: Food and travel inform a lot of Jackie’s favorite activities, but when she’s not exploring a new restaurant or traveling to a new country, she stays fit spinning and boxing.

 

How have you grown in your career since joining Groupon?

Before Groupon, I was on a fairly standard career path as an accountant. I earned a master’s in accounting, got my CPA and began my career at a Big Four accounting firm. However, I soon realized that I wasn’t passionate about my career path. I joined Groupon in 2012 in an operational analyst role, then moved into a strategic function for our health, beauty and wellness vertical before taking on my current role. I’ve changed roles three times in six years, and all were driven by being proactive and telling management where I saw my career trajectory going.

 

How has your experience in other roles helped you in your current position?

It has been absolutely essential. The ability to view the business through a different lens is important to understanding how all of the pieces fit together. I can draw from my experiences to understand the practicality of implementing our global strategies.  

 

I’m able to continually rebrand myself as someone who can tackle a variety of operational functions, think creatively and strategically and make an impact in diverse ways.” 

 

What does it mean to you to be able to stay with the same company as you change positions?

I’m able to continually rebrand myself as someone who can tackle a variety of operational functions, think creatively and strategically and make an impact in diverse ways. This enables me to present myself to senior leaders as an employee who is agile, capable of thinking broadly and trusted to handle the organization’s most challenging problems with a critical and flexible mind.

 

MORE ON GROUPONHead in the cloud: How Groupon is moving its data warehouse into the future

 

How did Groupon support your transition into new roles within the company?

I’ve taken a lot of initiative to find peers and mentors, as well as involve myself in our internal organizations. I helped start the Groupon for Latinos, which has been an incredible opportunity for me to make an impact for our employees, merchants and customers. We helped create our first commercial in Spanish, which aired during the Super Bowl, and worked in collaboration with the social responsibility team to enhance commerce in Chicago-based Latino communities. We’ve also partnered with several Hispanic and Latino professional groups to build a more diverse employee base. It’s showed me that change can happen when people have a vision and are passionate about it.

 

Hillary at work

Hillary Portrait

Hillary Proctor, Technical Project Manager

Hillary is part of Groupon’s engineering project management organization, where she coordinates cross-functional projects for the global technology team. Before taking on a technical role, she worked on the editorial team as Groupon’s site editor.  

BEYOND WORK: Hillary is the resident foodie among her friends and family, and her love of food runs deep. Not only does she enjoy eating adventurously and blogging about it — she’s also getting married at a restaurant.

 

What inspired you to make the transition to the tech side?

As a site editor, I had learned a lot about problem-solving under pressure and communicating with different kinds of stakeholders. When I was approached about the application operations support role, I realized it was just a new kind of problem-solving. It involved learning about how Groupon’s technical teams are structured and then bridging the gap between tech and the business. After working through a logic question in my transfer interview with the AOS hiring manager — who would become one of my greatest advocates at Groupon — I felt exhilarated by the chance to stretch my brain by moving into engineering.
 

MORE ON GROUPONHead in the cloud: How Groupon is moving its data warehouse into the future

 

How challenging was the transition to the tech side from the editorial team?

It was a bit of a learning curve at first, especially learning the new terminology and trying to employ it properly. Initially, the complexities of our site and mobile app were overwhelming, but I was able to overcome it with the help of my coworkers and studying unexpected tech issues.

It was also a cultural adjustment, but I’m grateful for all the opportunities that Groupon provides its technical staff. I’ve been able to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration twice and spent six months in Dublin, Ireland, to help train a new team.

 

It’s been encouraging to see the variety of career paths that have been possible for friends who’ve also been at Groupon for years.”

 

What advantages does being able to work in diverse roles within the same company provide?

My network of coworkers is my greatest advantage. Working here for eight-plus years across two departments means I tend to know the right person for just about any situation. My historical knowledge of Groupon’s processes also serves me well when I’m starting a new project. It’s been encouraging to see the variety of career paths that have been possible for friends who’ve also been at Groupon for years.

 

Cecelia portrait
Image provided By Groupon

Cecelia Myers, Director of Product & UX for Global Operations

Cecelia’s job is to solve problems. Her team develops the tools to help merchants and customer support agents resolve any issues that come up. Throughout her five years at Groupon, she’s worked for a variety of teams including sales, editorial and product.

BEYOND WORK: Cecelia keeps her mind sharp through knitting. The symmetry and logic of the patterns require thoughtfulness, attention and patience.

 

What inspired you to make the transition to the product and UX side?

Before Groupon, I co-founded a startup I worked on for several years. I loved building and growing new things and learned a lot from my customers. That perspective continued at Groupon, but I realized that product and UX were powerful tools to fulfill those interests. I decided to go back to school for product and user experience, earning a master’s of product design and development at Northwestern University while working full time at Groupon.

 

MORE ON GROUPONHead in the cloud: How Groupon is moving its data warehouse into the future

 

What does it mean to you to be able to stay with the same company as you change positions?

The experience equity is invaluable. I’ve been able to try new things as I’ve learned more about the entire Groupon business. I’ve been a part of their former Labs incubator, integrated one of our acquisitions into the larger business, worked on the sales side and on the operations business, all while moving into product and UX. This has helped me grow and challenge myself and has enabled me to understand Groupon from different angles.

 

The experience equity is invaluable. I’ve been able to try new things as I’ve learned more about the entire Groupon business.”

 

What advice would you give someone looking to change fields?

Groupon is an awesome place to change fields. If you prove yourself, Groupon will reward you by letting you try new tasks in which you may not have much experience. The best way to edge into a new role is to take on projects that let you experience elements of that job, then parlay them into a role change.

 

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