Sep 11 2023
How authenticity inspires innovation at Meta
By Meta Careers
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Ben B., a software engineer based in New York City, dreamed of becoming a people manager. When he decided to explore engineering first to understand the technical side of projects, he discovered something completely unexpected. “While my plan was to build the technical skills I need to become a manager, I’ve realized how much value soft skills can bring to innovation,” he shares.

“I’m a warm, optimistic person, and my passion for people helps shape our team’s approach to problem-solving. I’ve learned that bringing my true self to my work is an asset for our team.”

Like Ben B., Ashley S., Mario L. and Isabel H. agree that being authentic is key to helping their teams embrace individual strengths and explore diverse perspectives — ultimately powering innovation. Here, these four Meta team members share how being their true selves has shaped their approach to building the future.

Making mistakes opens new paths forward

“I'll never forget the first time I broke a piece of code in production, and I was panicking,” Ben remembers. “My manager reassured me, ‘Once you break something so important that people notice, then you know what you’re doing is making an impact. It’s also how we learn and make better products in the future.’ That experience gave me the confidence to keep doing things on my own, and it showed me how failure can be a powerful learning experience.”

That early “failure” inspired Ben to fully embrace the culture of ownership at Meta — helping him believe his unique ideas were worth pursuing. “At Meta, our approach to innovation is bottom-up,” he explains. “Each team identifies opportunities and works together to move them forward. We have so much control over our projects that it shocked me at first! I was used to being told what to do, and it was refreshing to be empowered to innovate this way.”

Open communication unlocks problem-solving

For Ashley S., authenticity is an action as much as it is an attitude. “At this point in my life, it’s important to me that I can be my authentic self — I don’t know how to be anything else! — but I’m also mindful of my audience,” she says. “At Meta, I’ve learned I can honor my thoughts and feelings while figuring out the best way to communicate them so my team members understand my point of view. Thoughtful, open communication is an important skill I’ve developed here.”

According to Ashley, open communication helps teams solve complex issues faster — opening the door for innovation. “As you start to think more strategically and formulate ideas, you’re better equipped to identify what’s not working and have tougher conversations,” she says.

“Being able to share different perspectives has empowered our team to move past roadblocks and continually think bigger — leading us to build the inclusive services and products that inspire us every day.”

Embracing people’s strengths inspires their best work

As a leader, Mario L., Head of VR content review operations based in Austin, TX, believes recognizing team members’ strengths and interests helps empower innovation. “I focus on where people have skills and what they’re interested in — tying both to our mission to create a trusted, reliable experience for people building VR apps,” he shares. “It helps team members understand their ‘why.’ Why are they passionate about this space? Why are they excited to innovate new things here?”

Mario also finds pathways for people on his team to do their best work as they build a more collaborative, inclusive future in VR. “I’ve learned that the things people are good at may not be what naturally gives them energy,” he shares. “I often ask: is this task giving you energy or draining you? If it drains you, can we give it to someone else on the team? If they don’t have the skills, can you teach them? Feeling inspired makes all the difference when we’re pushing the boundary to innovate together.”

Staying curious enables limitless thinking

For Isabel H., a data scientist based in London, innovation means staying curious about the things she doesn’t know yet. “Building truly cutting-edge VR technology requires outside-the-box thinking,” she says.

“Adopting a learner’s mindset enables you to stay open and imagine a different future, while pursuing projects that are meaningful to you and the people you care about. Ask questions and spend time self-reflecting to gain a solid understanding of your identity, passions and values — and then bring them into new worlds.”

By embracing ambiguity, Isabel hopes people will feel inspired to reach farther and think bigger. “Approach problem-solving with curiosity and use feedback — positive and negative — to empower you,” she offers. “Remember that next-gen technology is new to everyone. Even experts haven’t read every book or article on a topic. There is room for anyone to bring their interests, carve out a niche and make an impact.”

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