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Martha S. - Vice President, Global Risk

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Title: VP, Global Risk
Location: Remote (California)
Joined: 2013
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her

If you’re looking for an inspiring leader—or a workout buddy in California—Martha, VP of Global Risk, is your go-to.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it?

This is a tough question to answer in a short way! I oversee a Global team that is made up of three main functions: merchant escalations, recoveries, and analytics. That doesn’t totally capture our mission and overall work, of course. I could go on in depth but it’s so interesting that I don’t want everyone coming to me and asking to work on my team.

What’d you do before Groupon? How’d you get here?

I practiced as a lawyer specializing in complex medical malpractice litigation (yes, I know totally makes sense that I came to Groupon!). A very close friend of mine was and is still working at Groupon–she introduced me to my former boss and after meeting at Motel Bar (in the Groupon Chicago Building) for lunch, we left our meeting talking about an open role. The rest is history.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

I am challenged every day in my role. That is what has kept me at Groupon. On the worst or most stressful day, I leave thinking…wow, I learned so much today and I am humbled by all the amazing and smart people that I get to learn from each day.

Who or what inspires you?

Generally speaking, passionate people inspire me–whether it’s a passion for work, family, the arts, etc. If I am getting more specific, my mom and dad have been the most inspirational people in my life. Each of them has a beautiful story–from coming to the U.S with almost nothing to accomplishing so much and more than I could ever imagine both professionally and personally. Their energy, strength, and passion for life have always been contagious.

Speaking of your parents, what do they think you do?

I explain Groupon a lot to my mom and I still don’t think she knows! My nieces and nephews know I work in an office with a cat spaceship and to call Aunt Martha if they ever get in trouble. I think that last part is because my siblings don’t know how else to explain what a lawyer does or what someone in the Risk field does!

You recently celebrated your 8-year Groupon anniversary! Take us back to 2013: what was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

When I first walked in the door on that first day of work back in March 2013, I thought…what am I doing here?! I had always worked in a traditional office environment as a lawyer so the open platform, all the themed areas in Groupon, the cat spaceship…all of it was so different. However, the one thing that struck me above all of the differences was the energy–I could feel the energy of the office and how people enjoyed their jobs!

So after working in a more traditional environment, then coming to Groupon, what keeps you coming to work every day? What makes your work here unique?

The general Risk field is different at all companies. Groupon is unique because if you work hard and want to take on more and things that may not specifically fall into your field, you are encouraged to do it. I have had the opportunity to take on many different tasks/roles within my overall Risk role and more projects than I can count. I work daily with many different cross-functional teams. Why do I stay at Groupon? My extremely supportive manager and awesome team keep me at Groupon. Every day is different and challenging.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Part of my job is to get the best merchants on our platform and then to keep our customers coming back to the site to buy amazing deals on all our lines of business.

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work?

I am a spin class fanatic and I love to make my friends workout with me–ask anyone on my team…I’m always looking for workout buddies! I love to cook and have been trying to learn how to play guitar. I have a very big family and we are spread out from the midwest to the west coast so I spend a lot of free time trying to see them all!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I can’t think of just 1 memory that is my favorite…but the most random thing is the day I walked into an elevator with the Abominable Snowman.

There are a lot of amazing Groupon stories. What’s your biggest accomplishment?

Honestly, my biggest accomplishment is being part of building a successful Global team. I have been lucky to work with a team that is so passionate, smart, and hardworking on a daily basis. I am also proud of being asked to Chair Women@Groupon in early 2017. It has been a wild ride working to empower women (and men) in a time where women have such a strong voice in this world.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I love to cook and am obsessed with Top Chef…for one day I would love to know what it’s like to be a real chef in a restaurant somewhere in the West Loop of Chicago.

What’s your favorite local business?

Cycle X in the West Loop and La Colombe in the West Loop. Spinning and coffee…that’s pretty much how I make it through the day!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I used to sing as a kid–from voice coaches to theater to even taking classes in college. I always knew I wanted to go to law school but I thought maybe I could do Broadway on the side! Only kidding, I always knew I wanted to pursue a law career but briefly had a musical passion. Now, all my friends who know I used to sing try to (unsuccessfully) get me to do karaoke!

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