Two years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my career. After almost 14 years at a leading tech company, I left my job in Boston to join Meta in Dublin as the Managing Director of Gaming in EMEA. It was a lot of change at once—a new country, new company, new industry—but I was excited to have the opportunity to try new things at this stage of my life and career journey.
When I’m asked about my professional path or what it takes to make a leap, I often think about mindset and being intentional about stepping outside of my comfort zone. Here are four tactics that have helped me embrace change, seek out new ways to grow, and become a stronger leader.
1. Embrace curiosity (and say yes!)
Trying something new always starts with making a mental shift. For me, this mans focusing on the present, taking opportunities as they come, and leaning into my curiosity. When I accepted the position at Meta, I knew we were leaving the comfort of a place we knew and loved. But I was curious about how this unique experience would benefit my family—particularly my children—and that outweighed any uncertainty I felt about the move. My hope is that as they grow older, my kids will look back at these years in Dublin as a pivotal time in their lives and with fond memories.
“There will always be uncertainty when making a big change, such as relocating for a role. Embracing curiosity will help you navigate new experiences, expand your network, and build new connections.”
I was also inspired by the collaboration taking place at the Meta office in Dublin, which has a rich, diverse community of people from more than 100 nationalities. Early on, I traveled to Israel to meet some of our team members. I visited Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and I was able to experience the country’s incredible history and culture through their eyes. Connecting with people from so many different countries, learning about their lives, and hearing different perspectives has been an eye-opening gift.
2. Become a life-long learner
Adopting a learning mindset means being open to new ways of seeing and doing things, and this is critical to breaking out of your comfort zone. I joined Meta with experience in advertising and technology, and while I understood our goals from a marketing perspective, the gaming industry was new to me. I asked a lot of questions, and I was blown away by the thoughtfulness people across teams demonstrated when explaining concepts and helping me ramp up. Outside of my team, I had meetings set up with cross-functional partners the first week I joined the company. I told everyone, “The quicker you help me get up to speed, the quicker I can help you.”
“Supporting new team members and ensuring they have the resources they need to be successful is built into the culture at Meta. People who do well here love to learn.”
This mindset permeates through everything we do at Meta, and it will inspire anyone to break out of a comfort zone. We’re challenged to think differently, whether it’s about diversifying advertising strategies to reach new audiences, enabling measurement strategies, or building foundational technologies and solutions to maximize performance while maintaining people’s privacy. We test new ideas with excitement, and we learn together along the way. This is what it means to innovate—to approach problems in new ways and think differently about how to solve them.
3. Use vision to lead
Vision connects everyone at Meta to the work we do, and we share a strong belief in our mission and the role we play in people’s lives. When I step back and think about all of the meaningful ways our products and services impact businesses and consumers around the world, I gain a powerful perspective. As a leader, this inspires me to think not only about what’s working now, but about what we need to do next. What will people want next year or in five years? How can we think outside of the box to deliver future-thinking ideas and a next-generation experience?
“We have the opportunity to make a difference every day. Strong leaders use vision to inspire and unite their teams. We build better when we build together.”
Having a strong sense of ownership at Meta gives me motivation to work through challenges, navigate all of the peaks and valleys along our journey, and help build game-changing products with my team. Knowing you have passionate people who share your vision alongside you—from cross-functional partners to stakeholders—makes all the difference when things feel uncertain or uncomfortable.
Cheryl and her family visiting the Poolbeg Lighthouse in Dublin, Ireland.
4. Empower the people around you
The most important investment I made when I joined Meta was investing heavily in the people around me. People are the foundation of our work, and investing in their growth means investing in our future. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen how taking the time to teach and elevate people leads to ideas, innovation, and growth.
“I love being part of a people-first company. It’s critical to lead with both empathy and care.”
Successful leaders not only empower the people around them, but they learn from them too. I hope that when people reflect back on their time working with me, they’ll remember feeling understood and cared for. Serving as a sounding board, encouraging my team to share ideas, and making space for everyone to have a voice teaches me too. We have so much exciting work left to do, with limitless opportunities to learn from, grow with, and empower one another.