“If a door opens for me, nine times out of ten I’m going to walk through it,” says Sharmaine C., a manager in global operations research. “I’m not afraid of what’s on the other side because I know there’s either a way back through or a different door will open. You have to move quickly on the things that are important to you.”
Talking to Sharmaine, it’s easy to imagine how she has fearlessly paved a career path by embracing unexpected openings — from joining the tech industry after 20 years in political research to trying 3 different roles at Meta in 5 years. Today, she is enjoying the most recent opportunity she never anticipated: working at the same company as her son, Spencer.
While they’re part of different teams, Sharmaine and Spencer have both grown at Meta by finding projects that spark their passions and drawing inspiration from one another along the way.
New frontiers in a 25-year career
When Sharmaine joined Meta in 2017 as a contract market researcher, she immediately felt connected to the company culture. “At Meta, we say ‘nothing is anyone else’s problem,’ and that really resonated with my personal approach to work,” Sharmaine explains. “Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone like me with a 25-year career, you’re empowered to try new things, experiment and fail. I realized early on that I could take on existing projects or start new ones and offer a new approach, and my teammates would go on that new project journey with me.”
Encouraged by her managers, Sharmaine explored different roles in market research, product research and research operations. Today, she manages vertical RPMs embedded into research organizations, which focus on amplifying and unlocking access to research at Meta. “I’ve loved becoming a people manager and helping my teammates recognize their talents and career aspirations,” she shares. “I appreciate arriving at this role later in life because I can bring the wisdom of my life journey to my team as we find balance and share our perspectives.”
“I found a place that not only matches my curiosity and fearlessness, but truly celebrates it. I’m dazzled by the creative things my team accomplishes together.”
No matter the project, Sharmaine finds a way to bring her professional goals and personal passions together. “I grew up in a family with a small business and that’s who I got to uplift by highlighting how to make advertising more accessible with Meta technologies,” she says.
“I’m most proud of the work that connects the people who build our products with the people who use them in the real world. Understanding their experiences with our products is our fastest path to impact.”
Starting a career at Meta
Sharmaine was at Meta for 3 years when Spencer joined the team as an engineering intern in 2020. “As an intern, I learned the ins and outs of working at Meta, which meant I could be even more ambitious when I joined as a software engineer after graduating college,” Spencer shares. “People treated me like a member of the team when I was an intern, and that’s a huge reason I was so excited to be here full-time.”
“I love learning about what people want to get out of work and how being at Meta contributes to their passions in life.”
This sense of community is core to every aspect of Spencer’s role. His team focuses on sharing experiences in Messenger and is currently working on raising the bar for privacy without compromising the experience people love. “Sharing content in Messenger — whether it’s a location, video, Reel, poll or event — helps people build community,” he shares. “I love seeing how sharing contributes to the mission at Meta of bringing the world closer together.”
Now two years into his role, Spencer has found opportunities to grow and make an impact. He recently helped build a screen sharing feature for Facebook calls, which he supported from early planning to delivery. “I appreciate that as a junior engineer at Meta, my voice carries weight,” he shares. “I got to collaborate with cross-functional partners in research and design to figure out where technical constraints and design could come together. Now, I get to watch my friends and family get excited about the screen sharing experience we delivered — I’m super proud of that.”
From family to teammates
For Spencer and Sharmaine, growing their careers at Meta has come with a beautiful benefit: becoming closer as mother and son. “This experience has been delightful for me as a parent and teammate,” shares Sharmaine. “Watching Spencer gain confidence while navigating new situations and make a difference in his work makes me a proud mom. We’re peers, and it’s a joy to learn from him.”
Whether meeting for lunch at the office or going for a bike ride, Spencer enjoys having family on campus, too. “I’ve been so inspired watching my mom’s journey at Meta,” he says.
“She moved to tech later in her career. Because of her, I’m more aware of people who come from different backgrounds and I make a point to understand their perspectives.”
Despite being on different teams, Sharmaine and Spencer both agree they are in the right place. “I was thrilled when Spencer joined Meta because I knew he would encounter challenges and people that would push him to grow. Spencer agrees: “We’re moving fast and pushing boundaries with our products. I’m excited for what’s ahead, and having my mom at Meta with me is an added bonus.”