Feb 01 2023

Why Steve Hatch, Meta VP, sees neurodiversity as a superpower

By Meta Careers
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Ask Steve Hatch, VP of Northern Europe and Executive Co-Sponsor of Disability@ in London, why he joined Meta, and his answer is nearly immediate: the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. “I initially turned down the role I was approached for,” he remembers. “I spent a few days thinking about it more, and I saw how I would be able to contribute in a truly valuable way. That was an incredibly important moment to personally work out how I could help. It took a few days for the penny to drop — but when it did, I was all in.”
Nearly a decade later, Steve says there’s still just as much space to drive change across the company and the community Meta serves. “The smart, kind people at Meta are unmatched,” he says, crediting his teammates for his tenure. “Whether working with groups in my day to day role or with the community of people with disabilities here in London, the heart everyone brings to our work and culture of care continues to inspire me every day.”

A culture that champions individual superpowers.

Much of Steve’s desire to build strong teams, a connected community and inclusive products stems from his personal experience with both mental health and dyslexia. “I’m a very proud dyslexic,” he offers. “While having dyslexia was challenging earlier in my life — particularly with reading, writing and more traditional information retention — I’ve come to see it as a superpower in my career. The way my brain is wired actually helps me connect disparate things. Bringing together different concepts and ideas to connect the dots not only matches very well with my dyslexic skillset, but is also key to fueling our future growth.”

Finding opportunities to draw on unique, individual strengths is common at Meta, Steve explains. “People here truly recognize and embrace this idea of personal superpowers. We collectively acknowledge that every person’s unique abilities and perspectives are valuable. It’s been amazing to see how this approach has resulted in bold thinking, bigger ideas and increased efficiency across projects, teams and regions — time and time again.”
Steve highlights a particular instance when the power of shared experiences and individual strengths really shined. “During the pandemic, the Disability@ community set up online groups where people could share the challenges they were facing,” he remembers. “Many team members were experiencing anxiety, depression and other new-to-them feelings while isolating at home. Neurodiverse teammates who have navigated these conditions throughout their lives stepped up to share their strategies, skills and toolkits to help. I think that helped us see how much we have to give one another, as well as how we’re capable of managing so much more when we turn to our teammates for their perspective and support.”

Inclusivity empowers teams to build for everyone.

At Meta, championing diversity of thought and welcoming a range of perspectives helps leaders and teams think outside the box. “Inclusivity goes far beyond just hiring people from different backgrounds and with different capabilities,” Steve explains. “It’s about fostering a culture and space where everyone is set up to succeed once they’re here. It’s a feeling, and you know it when you feel it. We know we need to empower the widest breadth of people on our teams to build the best and most inclusive products possible.”

“I love that Meta is truly for all people,” Steve says."Not only are all Meta offices designed to accommodate physical disabilities, such as for wheelchair users, but we've also accounted for mental health and other chronic conditions. Team members can work with their managers to design their schedule, and we all have flexibility about how and where we work. This accommodates not only team members with disabilities themselves, but also those who may be caring for family members. Being inclusive is foundational for everything we do, and that’s something I’m both passionate about and really proud of.”
“I can think of countless examples where inclusivity has inspired people across teams to do things differently,” he smiles. “In one instance, a person with blindness developed life-changing alt text for the visually impaired. This was something we hadn’t done to this degree before. That sort of innovation unlocks powerful new experiences for people who wouldn’t have them otherwise.”

A unique approach to leadership.

In addition to an emphasis on diversity and inclusivity, Steve highlights additional aspects of the culture at Meta that have enabled him to evolve as a leader — and make it possible for others to grow and thrive in their roles, too.
“The flat structure we have always comes to mind first, because it’s truly unusual and encourages leadership to take shape in many ways,” he says. “Leaders at Meta aren’t limited to leads, managers or people managers. Anyone can raise an idea and drive it forward. Once you’ve been here for a little bit, you quickly realize that if you’ve got the right idea, there are thousands of people here who are going to work with you on that idea. No matter where you sit or what you’re working on, you’ll find leaders at Meta strike a special balance between drive and surrender.”
He continues, “I’ve been at Meta for nine years, but it really feels like a new company every six months. There’s never a shortage of new challenges to solve or innovative ideas to explore. From building strong communities internally to innovating across products, teams and regions, there’s tremendous opportunity for everyone, every day.”

Stay connected.

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