Dec 08 2021

Leading with authenticity and purpose: Abha M.

By Meta Careers
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When Abha M. joined the Facebook company (now Meta) as an MBA intern in Menlo Park, California in 2012, she had a vision of working on technology that touched people’s lives in a meaningful way. “I grew up in India and studied electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, where I was the only woman in my class. After graduating, I began my career journey in semiconductor tech in the US. A few years later, I also became a mother—a role that has perhaps been the greatest catalyst of change in my life. I realized that if I was going to spend time at work away from my daughter, I needed to do something that was fulfilling and impactful. I was ready to push the envelope—to dream big and join forces with leaders who were passionate about solving global problems. This led me to business school, where I decided I wanted to work in consumer tech. I saw Meta as a dream company because of its incredible, unmatched scale.”
While Abha is quick to express gratitude for things “falling into place” when reflecting on her internship, her path to Meta has presented her with challenges—as well as “endless” opportunities to learn. She completed her MBA program while raising two children. And working in consumer tech for the first time, she wasn’t sure what to expect. “When I first started, I was blown away by realizing that all you needed was an idea. I hadn’t ever been in a position where I had such a blank canvas. The amount of opportunity and responsibility I had, even as an intern, taught me so much very quickly.”
Now, eight years and several roles later, Abha has come full circle: returning to India to lead Commerce, Payments and in-business Platform Partnerships across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. She was also recently appointed the DEI Lead for India. Reflecting on nearly a decade with Meta, she shares how bringing her authentic self to work and feeling connected to the company’s mission have empowered her exceptional leadership.

A sense of belonging

“One of the things I noticed right away is that everyone—regardless of their background or experience—is empowered to make an impact,” Abha says. “When I first began my internship, I felt a bit out of place. I was a mother of two children, and I had a different lifestyle than many of my fellow interns.”
Abha experienced a shift after hearing the company’s Head of Diversity speak. “The idea of bringing your authentic self to work was completely new to me,” she says. “I felt inspired to begin showing up more fully—sharing details about my schedule and needs, talking about my family and my life outside of work. From there, my career and ability to be a strong leader began to flourish.”
Today, Abha credits the leadership team and company culture for her continued growth. “From navigating feelings of imposter syndrome to talking about topics like being a woman in tech or working parent, leaders here are transparent and proactive in starting important conversations. People here also lead by example, which has done a great deal in helping me feel supported. The sense of community here inspired me to share my voice and unique experiences, enabling me to bring my true self to work every day.”
“I share my story because I’ve found women in tech can find themselves feeling alone. However, it’s likely there are many people rooting for you and willing to support you. It’s important to identify allies, mentors and sponsors, and to nurture and build those relationships both at work and outside of work.”

Connecting with a mission to drive impact

Abha also credits her ability to be supportive, transparent and authentic to having a deep connection to the company’s mission. “Commerce is empowering small businesses in India, helping people turn their passions into profit,” she explains. “I was particularly touched seeing the meaningful impact our work had on others during the pandemic. Many small businesses were deeply affected, and they were able to use our technology to connect with consumers in a safe and fully digital way. Knowing how our products and services help people means a great deal to me. It’s a massive source of motivation for me and our entire team.”
With diversity and empowerment a key focus as the DEI Lead in India, Abha lights up while talking about her team’s efforts. “Building global products requires us to think differently and push ourselves every day. Every new idea or different opinion is valuable. I’m proud of how quickly our team has grown and how we’ve been able to scale our offerings, impact and reach while working together and with our cross-functional partners.”
She continues, “Our ability to hire people who come from different places around the world and bring different backgrounds is critical for building products people use and love. We want people on our team who see or have experienced the world in different ways. We bring authenticity, who we are and what matters to us most to what we do. Having unique insight helps us better understand and represent others, empowering us to be as inclusive as possible.”
"Abha standing onstage while speaking at an event."
Abha standing onstage while speaking at the Facebook Global Marketing Partners Summit in 2017.

Finding fresh inspiration every day

Leading a team to think creatively and solve new challenges often means no two days are the same, something Abha appreciates. “We’re always at the forefront of doing something new and we all realize the impact we can make,” she shares. “We share a collective vision and every person on the team brings passion to what we do.”
And just as the company’s mission and the Commerce team’s efforts inspire Abha each day, she does the same for others. An ally for women in tech, she loves serving as a resource for others who are evolving on their career journey. “I know what a difference it has made for me to have access to mentorship and support,” she acknowledges. “I try to help other women by being a mentor and offering advice whenever I can. Some of the most joyful moments in my career have been when I’ve been able to guide another woman. There’s nothing quite like being able to help build their confidence.”
“When it comes to achieving success, I tell women to believe in possibilities and to advocate for themselves. The moment you start believing in yourself and what’s possible, you’ll begin taking action and find the confidence to make things happen. This has happened to me at every stage and inflection point in my career.”
Whether lifting other women up or empowering people through commerce and digital technology, Abha says knowing there’s always more to do excites her every day. “I think about what this company was like almost 10 years ago,” she smiles. “While some things have changed, many haven’t. We still have the same sense of ownership and so much opportunity—if not greater opportunity than ever before—to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way. I’m grateful to be a part of this.”

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