Jun 29 2022

Being open, building community and how Meta's Black employees make an impact outside of work

By Meta Careers
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It's one thing to write a slogan on a poster and hang it on a wall. Living the truth behind those words is something else entirely.
The hallways of Meta's offices are decorated with colorful, motivational text. These posters showcase inspirational messages, company values, and Meta's mission of empowering people to build community. It takes deep work to apply that mission to other areas of one's life. But as the following stories show, having the courage to be yourself and show up for your community can be life-changing.
During Black History Month earlier this year, we talked to a few Black employees at Meta about their lives outside of work and how they build community in their own ways.

Opening up

Sharon C. is the kind of person who talks to strangers she met ten seconds ago like she's known them for ten years. With a warm presence that instantly fills the room, she's more inclined to say hello with a hug than a hand shake.
As a human resources business partner at Meta, Sharon is a pro at being open and straightforward when it comes to highly sensitive issues. But she surprised herself on the morning of her second day on the job when she stood up at New Hire Orientation to let the whole room know her story—a story she originally had no intention of telling.
“My sister's wrongful death case had only settled about five months before I joined Meta,” Sharon says. “To be honest with you, I was intentional about trying to reinvent myself and keep that part of my life separate from my work.”
“My family partnered with HBO on a documentary called "Say Her Name: The Life And Death Of Sandra Bland," and it has been welcomed with open arms. The most important question Meta leaders have asked is, 'What can we do to raise the level of awareness about the issues addressed in the film; not just to our employees but to the greater community around us?'”
Sharon has become a social justice advocate who travels around the world sharing her sister Sandra's story, and working with thought leaders on Capitol Hill to make Black women and girls a priority. “Once I made the decision to be open and intentional about building community, that's when I feel I started to have the biggest benefit from working here,” she says.

Finding your voice

Thoughtful and serene, Aaron R. sits in a wood-paneled library on Meta's Menlo Park campus. When he talks about being a connectivity network engineer at Meta, he emphasizes the importance of community and connection both at and outside of work.
“I think so often there are kids, people of color who think about what they'd like to be when they grow up, and like me in college didn't have a mentor or a family member in the field that they may have been interested in,” he says.
“It's why I'm really passionate about working with high schoolers and college students, because being someone who isn't that far out of college, it's nice to be able to work with younger students and connect with them on a personal level to inspire them about opportunities.”
“When I joined Meta,” he continues, “it was really the first opportunity in my career to understand what it means to be able to bring my authentic self to work and not worry about code-switching, or the way I looked, and not worrying about being judged by those around me.”
“My role itself in network engineering is really connecting people around the world.” Aaron finds this kind of work, where people and communities are connected in new ways with the help of technology, especially rewarding. “It's helping to get more people connected, or getting resources available that they didn't have before.”

Global sisterhood

On a crisp, clear February morning in Manhattan, recruiter Victoria B. dodges piles of melting snow as she makes her way to Meta's offices. Here, she recruits PhDs for Meta's internship programs.
From a young age, Victoria knew what it felt like to be an outsider. Growing up in Kansas, she was often the only Black girl in her class. Seeking the bonds that community brings informed Victoria's career trajectory, eventually taking her all the way to Meta in New York City. There, Victoria found community in the Black@ Meta Resource Group, eventually creating the Black Women@ group a few months later.
And she didn't stop there. Inspired by the success of Black Women@ and the community that sprang from it, Victoria was compelled to recreate the group externally. “So many studies have shown that Black women are underrepresented in work, and in our communities, and it's so important for us to find advocates and mentors in our spaces,” she explains. With this in mind, Victoria founded The Flynt, a global Black women's mentorship community.
“Working here inspires me to think bigger than myself, to impact my community, to be an advocate for my community,” Victoria says.

Better together

Many companies in the tech space speak of the importance of hiring builders, and Meta is no exception. The way we see things, "builder" can mean designers, programmers, or architects of systems. But it goes beyond that. Marketing teams build sentiment and sales teams build business relationships. People like Sharon, Aaron, and Victoria build community through seeing a need and acting on it. In a way, everyone is a builder.
It takes courage and awareness to build community, and time and commitment to execute on it. Despite this, the people we spoke to agree that the benefits are well worth it. As Victoria said when she harkened back to a poster often seen on the walls of Meta offices: “One of our internal mottos is "nothing at Meta is somebody else's problem." So, why not solve this problem and make things better for others in the community? That's the catalyst that brought me to building.”
This post, originally published on April 9, 2019, was updated on June 29, 2022, to reflect our shift to Meta and new details about team members, roles and responsibilities.

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