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Christine S. - Global Head of PMO

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Christine Header

Title: Global Head of PMO, Engineering
Location: Chicago
Joined: 2020
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Christine, Global Head of Technical Programs and her ferociously focused team make an enormous impact on Groupon’s growth, and we consider ourselves pretty darn lucky to have her!

Tell us a little about your role and your team. I’m the Technical Program Management Organization (TPMO) Global Leader. My team leads execution of complicated technology projects that drive our growth. A second key part of my job is figuring out not only how we are going to change, but how we will measure change and our results, and thinking long term about how we get the best outcomes.

Before getting into things, how has your day-to-day changed in light of Covid-19? Shorter commute! 

How are you staying connected with your team as we’re all working remote? At first we did happy hour Zooms – TPMO Cribs edition with apartment tours, Halloween costumes, etc. Honestly, we are all working so hard we are tired of Zoom, so I switched things up. There is now a 1:1 coffee rotation where folks get paired with someone new to chat, I write thank yous, send cookies, encourage the team to put funny pictures of our lives in Slack, increase the number of 1:1s, and I make a point to say thank you.

One trait all Groupon team members share… Heart. In two ways — Grouponers are kind, and they have courage and determination.

Why would you recommend a career within your team? There is no dead-end in program management. You build leadership capabilities as you lead large teams with information authority. You build architecture skills as you go shoulder to shoulder with Engineers to help solve problems. You build critical business skills as you partner with Product to focus efforts on most critical work to help grow our company. You can either stay a TPM and work on increasingly complex work, you can easily shift into management, or engineering and product if you find you thrive supporting those teams. 

What’s the biggest challenge your team is solving? Bringing ferocious focus! There are about 20 of us helping nearly 900 Product and Engineering folks make sure that we are working on the most important features that will help Groupon’s merchants grow their business, and help our customers find amazing experiences as their economies reopen.

What advice do you have for women who want to pursue a career in engineering? Two things: 1) Tech teams need lateral thinkers. Every day there is a problem no one has ever seen before because we are building something new. Non-traditional degrees like Liberal Arts can be a great training ground for problem solvers and innovators. Hire lateral thinkers, and market yourself as a lateral thinker. 2) Join a team that has diversity already. It adds unspoken stress to be the ‘only’ on any team. Look for a company and a team that you can join at least a partner or a cohort within.

What do you miss about being in the office? Laughter and impromptu conversations. And whiteboards. Gosh, I miss brainstorming on real whiteboards…

Favorite pre-Covid activity you can’t wait to get back to? Throwing parties.

What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far? 1) Figure out what you are great at, and do more of it instead of trying to close a gap. 2) Tools travel — every strong talent will work in multiple jobs. Be comfortable taking roles you aren’t 100% ready for, your talent will carry you. 3) Understand what defines success in your role, set goals for yourself each week to drive those results.

If you could take your pick of any other job within Groupon, which job would you want? What a terrific question! I would start a new team — it would be a sales team staffed with diverse members (women and BIPOC), and we would pursue diverse businesses. I believe we could out-deliver any other team, and make our city stronger at the same time. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Get sleep. Your brain and your results are materially different with rest.

Rapid Fire Questions

Work from home or work from the office?

Flex.

Book or podcast?

ook. Most recently, Other People’s Houses and A Gentleman in Moscow.

Morning person or night owl?

MORNING AND MONDAY, (drives folks nuts). 

Life motto:

Don’t admire a wall you bump up against. Over, around, through — keep going.

What’s your guilty pleasure? 

Fruity drinks in the sunshine.

Favorite quote:

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer — Albert Camus.

#1 on your bucket list:

Live in a Scottish village for a month and write a book while there.

ast thing you cooked?

Salmon tacos.

Favorite piece of quarantine clothing?

My Maine Beer Brewing t-shirt.


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