In the Greenlight: Meet Shelley Key, VP of Brand Partnerships

Welcome back to one of our favorite blog series In the Greenlight, where you can get an inside glimpse into the Koupon team! We’ve never been much to brag, but we think our team is pretty incredible and they deserve their time in the spotlight. This week we sat down with Shelley Key, our Vice President of Brand Partnerships.

Meet Shelley! This CPG promotion expert and mom of two has helped Koupon grow for more than five years--building our clientele, managing several members of the team and shaping our company culture. We're so excited to help you get to know this amazing Kouponeer! 

Your role has evolved during your 5 years at Koupon. Will you walk us through the day-to-day of being Vice President of Brand Partnerships?

That's one of the things I love most about my experience at Koupon, evolution! At a fast-growing tech company, every day brings something new, exciting and challenging, but the personal and professional development opportunities that it brings is invigorating. While my day-to-day has looked very different over the years, currently my days are filled with client calls, supporting the CPG sales directors by listening to and addressing their external/internal needs, and partnering with the leadership team on both the short and long-term strategic direction of the company. I’ve also had the pleasure of bringing on two new Brand Partnership Directors (they are rockstars!), so carving out time for training and onboarding has been a big focus to get them up-to-speed as quickly as possible.

You bring significant insight into the CPG industry. How have you seen our product evolve to become even more valuable to brands over the years?

In my over 12+ years of CPG promotional experience, I can truly say what Koupon is doing in the convenience channel is unparalleled! I’ve personally watched our brand product offering go from a concept to a reality, pivoting us from a technology and coupon company to a network and data company, with explosive growth in such a short amount of time. The scale we bring brands to reach an incredibly important but fragmented retail vertical is five times what it was when I started, and now includes unprecedented insights providing a solve for what brands have historically referred to as a “black hole”. Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention our critical pivot in supporting restricted brand partners with our alcohol rebate technology, as well as age verification and targeting solution for tobacco and other emerging restricted categories. The combination and evolution of those things continue to strengthen our value prop to our brand partners.

Koupon has worked with a wide variety of CPG clients. What is one standout campaign you've sold in?

Ahhhh this is such a hard one to answer! Being the first brand sales director at Koupon I’ve had the joy of partnering with a lot of different brands over the years on some pretty unique and innovative initiatives. If I had to pick, I’d say working with the Molson Coors team on the Coors Light “America Could Use a Beer” campaign. With the unprecedented times 2020 brought, it was pretty cool to be a part of a well-known, national beer brand PR campaign recognizing the challenging time consumers were experiencing. Even cooler to have our technology be the redemption mechanism consumers used to have a round of Coors Light. Cheers!

You've recently started managing a sales team at Koupon - congrats! How do you motivate your team for peak performance?

Thanks! While it’s not my first time managing sales folks, it’s definitely my first time at a small, fast growing company like Koupon. Given there is less historical precedence set, keeping the team focused on what success looks like is key and reminding them that what may seem like a small revenue win really does matter. Additionally, celebrating ALL types of wins goes a long way, it’s not always all about selling! Landing that big meeting, getting a response from an account after months of prospecting, or navigating a difficult client conversation, those are important successes to acknowledge. And of course, understanding what motivates each of my team members is critical, everyone is different and it’s my responsibility to help them succeed and feel valued.

What's your favorite part of working on the Koupon team?

The collaborative environment that Koupon fosters is truly unique and special. Our employees have such diverse backgrounds, and everyone has a seat at the table to bring their knowledge and perspective to the business. Team members are encouraged to share ideas and challenge one another in a productive, respectful way. From my first day over 5 years ago, that hasn’t changed and I give a lot of credit to the current leadership team for continuing to instill that type of culture as we grow. It’s fun to be a part of!

We hear you have a passion for wildlife. From dinosaurs to your puppy Olive, can you tell us more about your love of animals? 

I’ve always had a soft spot for animals but it wasn’t until I met my husband that I gained a whole new found appreciation for wildlife. His passion for animal conservation (not just dinosaurs believe it or not!) really opened my eyes to how amazing wildlife is. There is just something so intriguing and fascinating about animals and their ability to teach us about compassion, science, and the environment we live in.

How Does living in Dallas compare to your time in Chicago? What do you miss the most? 

HOT!!! Although, I don’t think I will ever trade back the cold weather. While the two cities are very different, weather aside, I’m really enjoying living in Dallas. It’s such a different pace than Chicago, which has been refreshing and fits really nice into where I am at this stage in life. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad to have spent my 20s in Chicago and no doubt I still really miss the food and walking everywhere, but very happy we made the move to Texas when we did.

You recently came back from maternity leave, how do you do it all as a working mom of two?

Honestly, I don’t, and I’m ok with that! There is no doubt having an almost 3-year-old and 6-month-old keeps me on my toes and adds a whole new dynamic to the work week. Let’s just say getting out of the door in the morning can feel like an Olympic event! But just like anything else, it’s all about balance and doing what it takes to put your kiddos first, keep your sanity, and get the job done. Even if that means a McDonalds happy meal for dinner (they’ll survive, right?!?). In all seriousness, I’m thankful to have an incredibly supportive husband that encourages me professionally while often holding down the fort with the littles. I’m also very thankful to Koupon, who preaches a family first mentality and provides a lot of flexibility. I didn’t have kids when I joined the team but, now as a mom, seeing that family does truly come first and that is not only said but demonstrated by the leadership team is encouraging and supportive. Can’t ask for much more as a working parent!

Check back next month for another glimpse into the Koupon team!