Title: Sr. Vendor Manager at VMO
Location: Remote, Netherlands
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
What's it like to "grow up" with your coworkers? Karlijn reflects on 11 years at Groupon Netherlands in her People Blog.
First things first: Can you tell us a little about what you and your team do at Groupon?
Let me first explain what the Vendor Management Organization does. We drive Groupon Vendors towards their best possible performance output through evaluation and direction, ensuring excellent Customer, Merchant, and Sales service deliverability. We facilitate and maintain active relationships between Groupon-supported organizations and vendors/partners, negotiate contracts, create standards, and match the best available providers with Groupon needs. We also diligently carry out cost control, risk mitigation, and business continuity efforts of Global Service Operations.
Within the Vendor Management Organization, I’m mainly focusing on the Merchant Experience programs we drive. Next to that, I’m also the Consulting and Professional Fees Spend Coordinator, making sure our financial commitments are in line with the budget.
How did your Groupon journey begin? What roles at Groupon have you had since then?
In March 2011, I started as an outside local sales business developer in the North of the Netherlands, signing up new merchants to our platform. After 6 months, I became the manager of the sales team. In 2013 I started working at the Amsterdam office as the deputy manager for the Amsterdam team. By the end of that year, I moved to the Revenue Management department as a City Planner. From 2017 to 2019, I lead that team for the Netherlands and Belgium. Eventually, I moved to the Vendor Management Organization in 2019!
You’ve been at Groupon for 11 years. What has kept you here?
The first thing that comes to mind is PEOPLE. We have (and had) such an amazing group of personalities working at Groupon. Most of them started their professional careers at Groupon so we literally "grew up" together, and some great friendships came out of that. It's also the several (job) opportunities I was offered which have allowed me to learn and grow through challenges over the past 11 years.
What was your first job?
When I was 14, I started with a summer job picking berries at a blueberry farm. I got paid by the number of kilos I picked, but I wasn’t going home with the highest paycheck. I either enjoyed chit-chatting too much or ate too many ;)
What has been your proudest moment so far at Groupon?
In 2017 and 2018, my former colleague, Christiane, and I organized a Groupon Netherlands Ski Trip. Both years around 35 people joined from all different departments within our Amsterdam office. It was such an amazing trip and experience - not everyone knew each other before joining this trip but came back as friends. In the weeks, months, and years afterward the Amsterdam office became one instead of all different islands/departments. How awesome is that?!
What flexibility has remote work (or a hybrid model) provided you?
The work-life balance has improved significantly working from home. I used to come home a lot later than when I now close my laptop for the day.
How are you staying connected with your team as we’re all working remotely?
We have almost daily check-ins together. Every one to two months, we plan a team "gathering". It could be playing Settlers of Catan, a reflection day, or a scavenger hunt.
What do you miss about being in the office?
The people, the social events, the drinks, the connections, and the jokes and laughter.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
That must be the one I was taught by my parents; "as long as you are honest, we won’t get mad at you." It's something I still live by and look for in the people I work with. Staying truthful and transparent is important and I believe will bring you further in life.
Speaking of... what do your parents think you do?
My mom when I asked them to explain what I’m doing: “What a tough question. Karlijn keeps an eye on everything in all areas of her job. She directs and checks her people and knows how to get the best out of them.” My dad’s response: “Karlijn is the initiator, organizer, and driver of various projects and processes at Groupon.”
One trait all Groupon team members share...
Work Hard, Play Harder!
Rapid Fire Questions
If you’d asked me 2 years ago I would've said from the office, but after 2+ years of working from home I’m used to it and it feels like I’m so much more productive. Also with a first baby coming up in May, I’m seeing lots of benefits working from home, being able to see her often throughout the day.
Manifest on Netflix.
Hotel stay in Rotterdam.
“Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner.
Watching Gold Rush on Discovery Channel.