This year for International Women’s Day, we turned it into a week-long celebration by sharing insights, advice, and stories from our inspiring female leaders at Groupon.
Like Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day is all about empowering, supporting, and advocating for women and advancing gender equality around the globe. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose To Challenge”, a rallying call to recognize, call out, and challenge gender inequality in our daily lives. At Groupon, we’re meeting the #ChooseToChallenge call-to-action through a continuation of our commitment to identify and boost visibility of women-owned businesses on our platform across the globe. As a company, we are also pushing for increased representation of women in Director+ leadership roles and tech roles.
Read on to hear how seven of our women leaders #ChooseToChallenge, three adjectives that describe their typical day, and some of the best advice they’ve received!
I spend a lot of time working with women on getting over ‘imposter syndrome’—those nagging self doubts that they are not good enough to be at the top of their professions or their firms. As a leadership coach in the legal profession, I encourage women to believe in their abilities and their skills, and to take stock in all that they have achieved and can achieve. It is critically important for women to recognize that there will be challenges and there are still inequities, but no one—other than themselves—can derail their professional success. If you are not happy with what you are doing or how you are valued, go out there and find a work environment where you are valued and appreciated. It absolutely exists and you have to value yourself enough to find it.
VP, Deputy General Counsel, Global Litigation, Employment and Compliance, based in Chicago
My grandmother, Katie, grew up working class, with little education. We were extremely close. As I grew older, it became increasingly clear to me that despite how my grandmother showed up in my life—fearless, tough, and my personal champion—the world must have been a frightening place for her. Racism, classism, sexism: All of these shaped her existence in ways that I cannot imagine. From her upbringing in the South, to her role as mom to seven Black children and grandma to so many more on the south and west sides of Chicago, her sole focus was on keeping her children safe and passing on the best of herself to help them go further than she could. Not only did she provide me with an image of a woman who could stand up to anything and fight for what she saw as her family’s right to thrive, she also made ME feel like I could take on any challenge, and she made me believe that I was the best of the best. It was only later in her life that I was able to understand how hard this must have been for her, that there must have been many times that she was full of fear and doubt, but she NEVER passed these chinks in her armor on to me. Instead she gifted me with the lightness of possibility and a sense that I had a right to have a seat at anyone’s table. I stand on her shoulders.
Chief Communications Officer, Remote
It’s immensely important for women to support one another and boost each other up. Many studies report that hurdles like unconscious bias make it harder for women to advance and rise into leadership positions. But based on my own experience, it’s easier to overcome some of these hurdles when we form close connections with other women. It helps to share experiences and learn from other women who have been through similar challenges. And it’s really rewarding to be on both ends: not only learning from other women, but also sharing my own experiences.
VP of Global SSC Operations, based in Warsaw
We all need to #ChooseToChallenge stereotypes that affect how we judge a woman’s behavior in the workplace. We must recognize that there is more tolerance for direct speech, challenging questions, interruption, and serious tone from men than women. We also need to recognize that data shows men receive more specific feedback related to growth and performance. Checking whether we would describe the same behavior from women as we do from men and if we are giving them the same level of detail would help support women’s career progression.
Global Head of PMO, Engineering, based in Chicago
The most important pieces of advice other women in my life gave me are the same pieces of advice I’d give to young women entering male-dominated professions now. First: never compromise on your values. Second: never lose sight of your long-term objectives, but don’t cut corners—get there the right way. Third: always look forward—the past can’t be changed, but it can help you shape your focus on doing better tomorrow. Last—and most importantly—be on a quest to learn, always, along the way.
SVP, International, based in Paris
I’ll never forget the advice that got me to where I am today. Right after I got married, my husband and I moved to Germany for a few years for an expat assignment. I took some time off from my career. When I returned to the US, I met with my mentor at my old ad agency. She told me that coming back was easy, and that I should explore what I wanted my next challenge (not job) to be. This advice led me to a client-side job at Beam Suntory which gave me the opportunity to learn the Marketing side of the business and played a pivotal role in my career path today. My career advice to other women is the same: chase challenges and opportunities, not jobs or titles.
VP of Brand Marketing, based in Chicago
The most inspirational woman in my life was my grandmother. She was not greatly educated, but she always instilled in me the importance of it. She taught me that riches are counted in good deeds, not money; that education and intelligence was something that could not be taken away; and, that your word was something that you should never break. She inspired me to not only get a college degree, but to get a master’s degree and to, as she said it, “make me proud” but what I think she really meant was “go beyond where I could go.” She’s been gone for 20 years but I hear her in my thoughts every day.
VP, Global Support Groups & Vendor Management, Remote