"I’m originally from Afghanistan, and I grew up as a refugee for the first 15 years of my life,” explains Ayesha H., a content policy associate manager in APAC. "My parents fled Afghanistan in the 1980s with little more than the clothes on their back and sought refuge in Pakistan. Growing up as a refugee really shaped my perception of the world, both as a child and an adult. I became aware of social injustices, and the power of voice in combating social injustices, at a very young age.”
“Now, the ability to make a positive impact is at the core of anything I do. My need to do good—particularly in my own country—drove my ambitions, professional goals and ultimately, my journey to Meta.”
From exploring her interest in social media and relocating from Dubai to Singapore for her role on the Policy team
to building a tight-knit community with her colleagues in a new city, Ayesha shares more about her unique path and what has made her experience at Meta especially inspiring: the company’s strong culture of care
Can you tell us a bit about what led you to Meta and what inspires your work on the Policy team?
I have always been deeply interested in the impact of social media on different cultures and communities. On one hand, there’s often a conflicting perception of different social media platforms, including Facebook. On the other hand, social media has also played a defining role in how women and underrepresented groups can amplify their voices. I experienced that firsthand while working in Afghanistan, and my fascination with Facebook really started there. I wanted to know more about the company, the policies and teams, and that kickstarted my initial exploration and journey to my current role.
Ayesha exploring Kyoto, Japan while visiting for a work trip.
You moved from Dubai to Singapore for your current role. Can you tell us what your experience was like? What did you think about the city and culture when you arrived?
I initially applied for the Afghanistan Market Specialist role, which was based in Dublin, but the move ended up being too difficult for me at the time. I felt I was meant to be at Meta so kept in touch with the recruiter. I’ve always worked in policy. So when the recruiter messaged me a year later about some open policy roles in APAC, I jumped at the chance to learn more.
Relocating with Meta was an incredible experience. Right away, I felt like people had my back. I didn’t have to do much! Movers just came to my apartment, packed my things and labeled them. Meta also handled my hotel bookings, reminded me of my itinerary and helped with my visa process.
This entire experience meant a great deal to me because when you’re moving into a new company and role, it's really heartening to know that people care about you. This is especially true when you're new and you don't always know where you need to be or what’s expected of you. At Meta, there are so many people who will guide you and answer questions and help you do well. I think my experience is a testament to Singapore as well, it's a city that's all about community. We don't say sir or madam here, we say uncle and auntie instead. This spirit translates into our office culture, and I think it’s part of what makes Asia Pacific so unique.
Ayesha and visiting teammates from India enjoying a meet-up.
What were your first few days in the Singapore office like?
I’ll always remember my first week at the office. It was around the holidays, the office was quiet. When I got in, someone from my team—who is now a really close friend of mine—found me right away. She showed me around the office, and introduced me to everyone. At lunch time, people really went out of their way to make me feel at home, which was a new experience for me since this was work. They asked questions that made me immediately comfortable and I shared that I eat Halal. They showed me all of the stations that had Halal food and even asked the chefs about the utensils for me to make sure there was no cross-contamination.
Looking back now, I see that my first few days gave me a true sense of what my team and our company culture is like. Titles and distinctions really don’t matter here. We’re all friends and we’re all in it together. There's no time to be awkward or a stranger, you’re just welcomed into the family.
“It's not just about what you do, but it's about who you are. That's what makes Meta really special.”
Are there any other memories that stand out to you?
I arrived in Singapore on January 1, two and a half months before the Afghan New Year, or Nawroz. I don’t have family here. And when I told my new team that it’s my favorite day of the year, everyone gathered on short notice to dress up and go out to dinner. We had representation from at least 10 teams at the long dining table, and everyone was enjoying themselves. I remember thinking, “Okay, I moved to this new place, but I'm not alone.” I couldn’t believe how much everyone cared to make it a special moment and took the time to celebrate with me. Since then, we’ve also celebrated other occasions together, like Diwali and the Chinese New Year, with just as much fervor. And when in-person celebrations were banned due to the pandemic, we used technology to come together and celebrate meaningful moments.
That’s what this team is about, this company is about. It's a community that cares deeply. And it's not just about what you do, but it's about who you are. That's what makes it really special.
Do you have any tips for new team members who may be joining remotely, onboarding in a different office or are new to the company?
I love the Meta Resource Groups we have, which are wonderful for anyone who wants to build relationships with other people who share similar interests across the company. I’m a member of our Interfaith@ Meta Resource Group, Black@ Meta Resource Group, and Pride@ Meta Resource Groups and I’m part of the Muslim@ Meta Resource Group Steering Committee in APAC. Right now, we’re working on a few different initiatives that will help us build Muslim representation across the company.
Ayesha meets with friends—all members or allies of the Muslim@ MRG in APAC—to celebrate Hari Raya during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Meta is an incredibly diverse company, and everyone has a unique story to share. Across just my team, we represent more than 20 nationalities. People want to hear from you and know you, and Meta is a place where you can bring your true self and passion to work. If you're passionate and open, you’ll succeed because you will own your journey, you will own your world, you will own your impact. People really see and appreciate that here.
This post, originally published on April 29, 2021, was updated on October 11, 2022, to reflect our shift to Meta and new details about team members, roles and responsibilities.