Talking with Danielle W., it’s immediately clear she’s a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion. She spends a lot of time thinking about how to ensure everyone around her feels like they’re part of something bigger. “I do it because I know what it feels like to not have that support. If I can help someone feel like they belong, I’m all for it,” she shares.
As a marketing program lead at Meta, Danielle spends her days helping connect billions of people around the world. But she also spends her time sparking honest conversation and creating programming to foster meaningful change through various outlets including the Christians@ and Black@ Meta resource groups. And she’s co-organizer of the Black@ Community Summit, an annual event that brings together people within Meta for a few inspiring days of learning and growth, advocacy and celebration.
Danielle W., co-organizer of the Black@ Community Summit
Recently, Danielle hosted a virtual event with four other Meta leaders from the Creative and Marketing teams to talk about what it means to lead authentically at Meta while pushing for action. In her words: “We each have more power than we think. We all need to bottle up all of the energy we’re feeling in this moment and come up with ideas for sustainable change.”
For anyone looking to help effect change in their own workplaces, here are seven tips to come out of the inspiring discussion.
1. Be transparent about your challenges
“I’ve found that when you don't know the answer, it’s okay to be forthright. Ask for help! Raise your hand, explain what you're working on, and what the challenges are for you. Those moments of connection will bring you closer to your team.” —Danielle C., Director of Communications Planning
Danielle C., Director of Communications Planning, says transparency and authenticity help her build connections with her team
2. Empower teams to drive change
“As leaders, we’re the keepers for our brand and have responsibility for demonstrating not just the world we live in, but the world we want to live in. In addition to making decisions that are smart, insightful, and counter to unconscious bias, it’s our job to help others do the same by serving as advocates and providing them with resources and tools to drive change. If you’re just talking the talk, you’re already behind the conversation. It’s up to each of us to do our part and take action today.” —Cameron E., Creative Director
Cameron E., Creative Director, emphasizes that everyone must do their part to drive change.
3. Demonstrate accountability
“Being accountable is about setting goals, making outward commitments, and changing course when progress isn’t being made. Being accountable also means asking the hard questions and respectfully calling out leadership when they’re not hitting the mark.” —Rocio W., Head of Strategic Initiatives, Consumer Marketing
Rocio W., Head of Strategic Initiatives, Consumer Marketing, says strong leadership is about demonstrating accountability.
4. Show up with your whole self
“Many of us grew up with the idea that there’s a ‘work self’ and a ‘home self’, and you have to behave differently. At Meta, I’ve learned I can bring my authentic self to work. For example, I’m part of a group with other Black women. We share gifs, and it brings me joy. It’s empowering to find groups and communities where you can be open and vulnerable—and encourage your teams to do the same.” —Neisha T.B., Head of Health Creative, Creative Shop
Neisha T.B., Head of Health Creative, Creative Shop, is empowered by the community she’s found at Meta.
5. Lead by example to promote allyship
“How we treat each other matters. At Meta, we’re really fortunate to have access to tools and forums to learn more about allyship. I’m a Black woman who leads a diverse team, and I need to show up in a way that’s representative of what my expectations are. Leading by example means showing the team, ‘This is what I do, this is how we are, and here are the tools I’m expecting you to use to show up in this way.’” —Danielle C.
6. Celebrate people for what they do right
“It’s easy to call someone out for something they did wrong or point out something they shouldn’t have said. I try to balance celebration too because while people don’t need to be rewarded for being a good person, acknowledging the way they handled a tough situation is empowering. You can say something like, ‘I’m so glad you said something about that, and I want to acknowledge it. Keep it up.” —Neisha T.B.
7. Strive for equity and equality
“Equality is about giving everyone equal opportunity, and equity is about getting everyone to the same place. We’ve developed internal programs to help people build skills, relationships, and engage our allies. I’m proud of the work the team has done—it shows we recognize there are key things the community needs to be successful, and we’re empowering people to have a voice.” —Rocio W.
Cameron wrapped up the discussion with a powerful reminder about how we can all help create a better, more inclusive future: “Finding inspiration to make a difference comes in many forms, and there are so many avenues for leaders and teams to take to drive change. Whether it’s reaching out to people weekly to share what we’re experiencing or talk about what we’ve learned, we all have the opportunity to walk in other people’s shoes, come together with our communities, and make a truly meaningful impact.”