A natural leader, Snehi M. has built and led teams for most of her career. She also helped shape Facebook and Instagram in India during their earliest years. Now, she’s on the same journey with WhatsApp, helping to define its narrative and enabling businesses to unlock the value the platform provides.
In this interview, Snehi talks about her growth at Meta, the impact she’s had, and how Meta empowers women in their career journeys.
Paving an uncharted path
Snehi joined Meta in India in 2013 as a client solutions lead for the Global Business Group. At the time, the team was small with just a few people—and there was a lot of opportunity for impact. One of her main priorities was to establish Meta’s narrative for advertisers in India, while also building the team.
Around the same time, Instagram was preparing to launch and monetize its platform in India. In addition to her role as a client solutions lead, Snehi helped lead a cross-functional team to build Instagram’s go-to-market strategy. She identified the first set of advertisers, enlisted creative support and defined success metrics amongst many other elements of its launch strategy. From there, one of her key priorities was establishing how Instagram could become a strong revenue channel within the country, while also maximizing its full potential.
When she had the opportunity to join the WhatsApp team in India as one of its earliest members, she jumped at the chance. There was one big difference: it was an individual contributor role and Snehi was in a managerial position.
“When you’ve been a manager for a long time, very few people move to an individual contributor role. But for me, it has always been about opportunity and learning. It was easy to make the jump because I knew it would be a new experience and a very fulfilling one at that. We’re going down an uncharted path, and at the cusp of defining what could be the next big shift for messaging. People all over the world use messaging products. The next phase is how messaging will connect businesses and consumers. It was an opportunity I wanted to throw my hat in the ring for.”
Snehi is now helping to establish WhatsApp’s relationships with businesses in India by shaping its narrative, restructuring product performance and refining its monetization strategy. She sees her deep knowledge of the country as an advantage. “The clients here are already familiar to me, which gives me more time to really invest on the product side. I still work closely with Global Business Group, our clients and our sales team, but I’m now in a much more autonomous role. I’m not just the thinker, but also the doer. It’s interesting and can be very challenging, but it’s the shift I saw for myself.”
Snehi identifies a common thread running between all her roles at Meta: impact. “That's what excites me—playing a pivotal role in shaping the future.”
“People always ask me, ‘When's the right time to make a change?’ The moment that comfort sets in is the time for you to start looking for something else.”
Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable
Snehi says that when she started her career over 18 years ago, most people in her field had very traditional roles. “Digital wasn’t what it is today and it certainly wasn’t driving our conversations. It was just a sub-segment of marketing, and a very tiny piece at that.” She explains that when she joined Meta, she wasn’t extremely confident she’d be able to succeed in the role—but she took a chance.
“Many of my choices at Meta have been about getting comfortable with the unknown. From being part of the earliest Facebook and Instagram teams in India, to being the only WhatsApp global product marketing manager in the market, there hasn’t always been a set path to follow. It can be uncomfortable because you don’t always have a very clear label or set system of doing things. You need to figure out a lot of things on the go. What I’ve found is that Meta is really good at helping people understand their responsibilities, goals and opportunities for impact.”
Transitioning from a managerial role to an individual contributor role also brought new challenges, Snehi says. “But I made the conscious choice to be in this unique position. And it's opened up a completely new avenue and way of looking at things.”
Snehi adds that she encourages people to always be in a role that makes them feel pleasantly uncomfortable. “People always ask me, ‘When's the right time to make a change?’ The moment that comfort sets in is the time for you to start looking for something else.”
Inspiring more women in India
As a single mother, Snehi is passionate about championing other women and helping them build community. She co-leads the Women@ employee resource group in India, a growing group of women across different cities, teams and levels. One of its goals is to empower women by deepening their professional development, and showing and increasing the visibility of their impact across the company.
Women@ helps ensure Meta is a great place for women to grow their careers. For Snehi, balancing her career with being a full-time mom has required her to rethink how she approaches her role. “At first, I felt I needed to overcompensate by attending every meeting for my kid and joining every work call, preparing all meals and cleaning every day on my own. But it’s not possible to do it all. So, I’ve learned to delegate as much as I can, and ruthlessly prioritize what I focus on,” she says. “My ability to balance both is possible because of the flexibility that Meta provides.”
Snehi encourages women to look beyond their background and certifications when considering a role at Meta. She explains, “Meta doesn’t follow a cookie-cutter method of hiring people. If that were true, I wouldn't be here. We’re always looking for people with new skills and diversity of heart. Passion is so important and integrity is key, that’s what we look for.”
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This post, originally published on October 6, 2020, was updated on October 18, 2022, to reflect our shift to Meta and new details about team members, roles and responsibilities.