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Lorna J. - Vice President, Global HRIS and HR Operations

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Title: Vice President, Global HRIS and HR Operations
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Lorna reminds us every day why you can’t spell “HERO” without “HR.” 

What are you currently reading and/or what was the last influential book you’ve read?

The most influential book I have read is A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. Set in the fictional community of Bayonne, Louisiana, in the late 1940s, A Lesson Before Dying is the story of Jefferson, a twenty-one-year-old uneducated field worker wrongfully accused and convicted of a robbery and murder, and sentenced to death by electrocution. Jefferson’s court-appointed attorney presented a defense that depicted Jefferson as lacking the intelligence to commit the crime. After being placed on death row, a teacher, at the urging of Jefferson’s family, reluctantly visited Jefferson and a bond developed that led to both men fully understanding the importance of humanity, and regaining a level of dignity that lasted each of their respective lives. I was forever changed; the book reminded me of so many who are different, misunderstood and stripped of dignity solely on the basis of one’s perception of them. But what struck me most about these characters was their ability to rise above the worst circumstances in their lives to a place of peace.

Describe your leadership style.

I do not ascribe 100% to one leadership style, but my style is more akin to democratic -participatory leadership. At the core of my leadership style is the belief that my team is highly skilled and capable of accomplishing any goals. I believe my job is to encourage my team to challenge themselves to develop innovative solutions while providing a healthy dose of coaching and guidance. I genuinely believe that fear of risk or making a mistake hinders creativity and stagnates growth. My leadership style requires effective, ongoing communication with an emphasis on goal setting, project management and setting attainable deadlines. I believe that this type of leadership allows me and my team to constantly grow and learn.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

“Build it once and deploy it many times” is the advice that has been at the forefront of my career. At the crux of exceptional technological solutions and processes is a solid foundation that can be built upon to deploy in other environments. This thought process allows for greater results, efficiencies, adaptability, and cost-savings. Because of this advice, I consistently make an effort to build sustainable systems, process, and procedures while recognizing that, if done well, the foundation can be transferred to other countries outside of the US. By also incorporating change for culture and regulatory requirements, we can establish consistent global technology solutions and processes.

You can do any other job for a day: what would it be and why?

I would be a first or second-grade teacher. I love children because they are brutally honest and often have a great sense of humor.

What’s your favorite local business?

The Escape Room is one of my favorite businesses under Groupon. I’ve been with my family and my team. To be successful in the Escape Room everyone must work together to escape, encouraging team-building and problem-solving in an entertaining way. My second favorite is IHOP. My grandsons love it!

Tell a story of the first time you saw your work making an impact.

The first time I fully understood how my work could impact others occurred many years ago when I implemented PeopleSoft in the US for a large Financial Service corporation. We shifted from extremely manual processes to automated processes that also included employee and manager self-service. At the time, this was groundbreaking technology and I quickly learned no matter how great the technology solution is you absolutely need the support from the business and leaders to help champion the change. Leaders must be aligned on the goals and objectives of their company and be willing to accept and champion the changes in an organization to help move the company forward. After implementing PeopleSoft in 120 countries, I was extremely proud of my team and the impact we made to drive the change forward for the company.

Do you sponsor or are you involved with any of our ERGs or the Groupon Volunteers program?

I am a member of Blacks in Groupon but I don’t hold a leadership position. However, I often provide guidance and advice to both current and past chair and co-chairs of BIG. I think it is important to show up for the events to show your support. Recently the members of BIG put on an event to solicit diverse merchants for Groupon. Showing up lets the members of BIG know that I believe in them and their vision for what they want to accomplish for Groupon. I also volunteer for Groupon and last year I led coordinating volunteering events for the month of June for HR. This year I have volunteered to pack meals, created dog toys, volunteered at the homeless shelter and provided loans via Kiva.

How has Groupon impacted you?

The thing I like most about Groupon is that there is very little red tape. You are allowed to be innovative to effectuate a positive change. In most environments, it takes years to see change, but at Groupon change is ever constant and in fact, occurs a warped speed. We are encouraged to constantly think outside the box and change is welcomed. I absolutely thrive in a place where nothing is off-limits.

Who are your biggest influences?

My mother had the greatest influence on my life. We didn’t have a lot financially but our house was filled with love beyond measure. One of the most important lessons she taught me was to allow people into your life from all walks of life based on who they are and not on what society dictates. She had a very diverse set of friends while we were growing up at a time when it was not popular to befriend individuals who looked and loved differently from you.

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