Engineering managers are builders at heart. Their teams are protecting our community, creating the future of AR/VR experiences and revolutionizing the way people connect, communicate and collaborate at work. In our series, ‘Behind the Scenes with an Engineering Manager,’ we’ll introduce you to inspiring Meta team members and give you an inside look at the work they’re doing and the impact their teams are having around the world.
Meet Carine D., an engineering manager on the Commerce Ads and New Bets team in London.
Carine and her family enjoying some time in the park.
Uncovering a personal management style
“My team, Ads and Commerce, fosters more personal interactions between businesses and their customers by seamlessly connecting them to one another,” Carine explains. “We build new features and products to help businesses on both Facebook and Instagram.” Carine manages a sizable team, and she divides her time between helping the London office grow, challenging her team and offering support when it’s needed.
“I like to focus on each person and their individual growth, and I’ve refined my management style over the years,” she shares. “There was some trial and error, and I experimented with how to be something I now call ‘situationally hands-on’. For example, I’ll step in if someone asks me for help, but I prefer they try to solve the problem on their own first. I’ve noticed that this approach really helps people learn.”
Carine enlists lead engineers on her team to flag the problems that need her attention, as well as those that others may be able to solve independently. “It took time and being patient to figure out how I could incorporate different strategies like this,” she shares. “But Meta really empowers managers to figure out which style works for them.”
Building a new team from scratch
Early this year, Carine took on one of her biggest career challenges. Tasked with building a new team that would focus on Meta’s commerce strategy and identify initiatives that could support all businesses and business models, building Shops became a main priority. So she set out to recruit, structure, and scale a brand new team.
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, members of Carine’s month-old team found themselves working from home with an accelerated deadline for Shops. “Once the pandemic happened and the global economy faltered, small business owners were hit hardest. It became a company-wide priority to help them establish an online presence as quickly as possible” she shares.
“I knew how to expand an existing team, but Shops was brand new, and we needed to start from scratch building both the org and the product. That was a whole new process for me where I had to navigate recruiting, onboarding and growing engineers while also setting strategy and delivering on tight deadlines,” she says. “The speed at which we were moving across the company helped me grow a lot. I learned how to better drive very fast alignment at a large scale, how to recruit and scale an org very rapidly (we moved from five to 26 people in two months), and by hearing regular feedback from senior leadership, my strategic thinking grew a lot.“
She continues, “Although this has been a massive challenge, working on these initiatives—and knowing my team is making a significant real-world impact for business owners—is the best part of my day. I’ve even been able to help my friend create her own shop online. It’s difficult to put into words how grateful I am for these opportunities.”
Cultivating culture at Meta in London
“Working and living in London is an electrifying experience,” Carine beams. “It feels like I’m connected to the entire world here.” While the city continues to earn recognition as a respected technology hub, the London Meta office and its teams are growing quickly.
“Each engineering manager has a role in helping the office scale. We interview candidates and lead Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, such as Coaching circles, Be the Ally program and Support circles for working mums to name a few,” Carine says. “I personally see diversity as a superpower, and it’s a key pillar for our team and office culture. I want people from different backgrounds, cultures, with different genders and personalities, to feel connected and included. I don’t want anyone to feel left out or unheard.”
Building a new team gave Carine the opportunity to help create a vibrant and diverse culture from the ground up. “Early on, we organised a team bonding day to get to know one another. We talked about how we like to work, and we learned about each person. We spoke about our journeys, the ups and downs we’ve experienced in our careers and personal lives so far, and established a mentorship program. Though we didn’t know the pandemic was about to create major shifts in our lifestyles, it wasn’t difficult for us to stay connected when we transitioned to working from home.”
Reflecting on her time at Meta, Carine notes that while her previous roles helped her grow in her career, her recent experiences have accelerated her growth exponentially. “We have a real opportunity to help shape the world,” she says. “In just two months, my team worked on a product that has, and will continue to have, an impact on small businesses across the globe. At Meta, you learn something new every day. The career accomplishments you’re proud of showcase your effort, but the difference you can make while working here also has an effect on the world."
This post, originally published on July 21, 2020, was updated on October 13, 2022, to reflect our shift to Meta and new details about team members, roles and responsibilities.
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