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When reflecting on his time at Facebook, Gareth Lambe, Head of Facebook’s office in Ireland and VP of International Business Planning and Operations, admits he never expected to stay at the same company for so long.
People typically change companies because they’re looking for new challenges and room to grow, he says. But for Gareth, growth has come naturally at Facebook. “When I joined in 2011, there were less than 300 team members in Ireland,” Gareth shares. “Fast-forward 10 years and we now have almost 3,000 full-time employees across over 60 teams. We also have multiple locations across Ireland—our International Headquarters in Dublin, of course, but also our Data Center in County Meath and our Facebook Reality Labs office
—specializing in VR/AR—in Cork City.”
In addition to growing the company’s footprint and job opportunities in Ireland, a big part of Gareth’s personal growth has come from championing his team and Facebook as a whole. “I’m all in on my team, the people, and the company,” he says.
But what does it mean to be “all in?”
For Gareth, it’s about being committed to the success of every team member in Ireland and ensuring that Facebook’s culture of authenticity, diversity, and civic-mindedness continues to scale as the office grows. It’s why he remains committed to meeting with new team members who join the office in Dublin
during their onboarding to discuss Facebook’s mission and values, and it’s also why he's looking forward to our teams full return to the Dublin office to once again enjoy his previously favorite part of the week—his Thursday lunch-hour football games with team members from across the company.
“Getting to play football—even if I’m mostly just chasing the younger players—with my colleagues across Facebook in Dublin every week gives me the opportunity to meet and connect with team members outside of work. I’ve been doing it for the past 10 years, and each week, I feel even more energized by the people around me.”
Gareth speaking with Maxine Williams, Global Chief Diversity Officer, during a fireside chat in Facebook’s Dublin office.
Fostering diversity and inclusion
One of Gareth’s biggest challenges—and opportunities for growth—over the past decade has been his work centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion across Facebook in Ireland. “I tick every box there is for privilege,” Gareth shares. “I’m a white male who comes from a middle class background, and I didn’t always have a developed sense of diversity and inclusion. Diving deep into these issues has helped me learn what it feels like to be excluded and left on the margins.”
Overseeing Facebook’s most culturally diverse office, with representation from 108 nationalities, and working on a platform that serves billions of people around the world challenged Gareth to examine his own views and do the work to understand what it means to truly serve the world.
Part of his learning came naturally through his experience as the company’s site lead in Ireland and thinking about things like developing prayer and wash rooms for his Muslim team members, or remembering how cultural nuances may affect the way team members communicate and solve problems.
Another part of it was education. “Beyond the unconscious bias training and various resources we have, Facebook also gave me the opportunity to travel to different countries and take week-long, immersive courses that dove into the institutionalized nature of racism and sexism throughout our society. It opened my mind to the challenges people face, not just from a race, creed, and culture perspective, but also in different learning and social styles.”
Gareth goes on to explain his own journey overcoming bias: “Earlier in my career, I got feedback that I had a bias toward extroverts,” he says. “Over the years, I’ve learned how to reduce that bias and make it a priority to seek out the introverts on my teams and create space for them to be able to speak and share their thoughts.”
Today, Gareth champions allyship across Facebook in Ireland and beyond. A few years ago, he organized a male-specific event that took place at the same time as Facebook's women’s leadership conference.
“My goal was to help men understand the challenges women face in the workplace and have them walk in the shoes of women who have felt excluded for years,” he says. “The only way we can move forward on these issues is by talking about it, being aware of it, having the difficult conversations and taking action.” The Male Allyship event is now an annual event in Dublin.
Gareth hosting a session about allyship for team members in Dublin.
The next decade of opportunity
During Gareth’s onboarding sessions with new team members, he catches himself repeating the same line over and over: “There’s never been a more exciting time to join the company.” While the opportunities over the last 10 years have been career-defining, he’s even more excited for what’s to come.
“When I first started here, Facebook was only the big blue app. Since then, we’ve expanded to have so many exciting products and services to offer, from Messenger and WhatsApp, to Instagram and Workplace. We also have the potential to transform the landscape of AR/VR and AI—particularly when it comes to the future of work. We’re strongly positioned to lead this exciting transformation with the new technology we’re working on with Facebook Reality Labs. Every day, there's a new opportunity.”
In the next year alone, Gareth is looking forward to moving in and setting up Facebook’s new campus in Ballsbridge, Dublin. “Being Irish, I take a lot of pride in the impact and investment Facebook is putting into growing Ireland’s economy and creating exciting new jobs for people,” he adds.
While the last 10 years for Gareth have been defined by challenges, growth, and opportunity, he shows no sign of wanting to slow down. “It’s a privilege to work at a company that is so relevant. There are very few companies that are at the center of the biggest challenges facing the tech industry. To be a part of it and help define the future is incredibly stimulating. There’s much more to do, and I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey.”
Members of the Facebook Dublin came together to raise money for the Focus Ireland, a cause that supports homeless people in Ireland.