In 2007 I did what no other person had ever done in Silicon Valley. I said “no” to an offer from Google to go instead to Yahoo!. Why? Because I fell ‘in love’ with the guy who was going to be my manager. Don’t jump the gun folks… I was still a card carrying lesbian!. But the immediate connection I felt for this person was something I had rarely felt at work – it was like I knew him already. I figured we probably had a history in a previous lifetime, most likely as bar owners in the 1920’s… but I digress. So I went to Yahoo! instead to help build manager development and the new hire experience with him.
Then he did the unspeakable… he left Yahoo! and went to work for a little known startup company Facebook. I was heartbroken: how could he do that after all the great things we had done together?. But he promised me that we would be together again one day.
But unlike Donald Trump (oh yes I did!), Stuart kept his promise to me many times over. In 2010 he brought me to Facebook, and as our dear friend there, Chef Josef would often say, we were “Living the Dream”. We went on to build out Facebook’s Learning function together and got chance to do tons of amazing things. It was just Stuart and I welcoming every new employee to the rocket ship. What an experience, and what a ride!.
Eventually he encouraged me to follow my passion and begin to build the diversity department for Facebook. These were heady days; Stu and I built programs for Facebook that were life changing – not only for me, but more importantly for employees there, as well as the employees yet to come. I knew I found the person I wanted to kick ass with in this lifetime.
After I left Facebook in 2014 to join Snapchat, we promised each other again that we would connect and inspire people together someday once more. It’s what we love to do.. but together. So here we are at Chapter 3.
Along the way, I’ve learned that what fills my soul, and where I am at my strongest is when I’m helping others to feel safe, empowered, and stoked to be on this journey. I guess I found what I was put on this crazy planet for… to help others breathe in their own way. To help them find the space between what they are doing externally and how they are feeling internally. In corporate America we call this “Human Resources”, but in my world I have been called “Dean of Students”, “Culture Carrier”, “Godmother”, and “Momma”.
Through all my professional chapters and through the demanding times, I have always leaned back on my breath. It may sound a little hippy, but amongst all the chaos around me, I would sit still and just breathe. I have been privileged to have worked at some pretty fun yet intense places; I’ll admit that I would regularly work 10+ hours a day, including the weekends, because I loved what I did. But this intensity can really take its toll on a person. Sadly, I was among many that lost their marriage in all the fun, because the demands of silicon valley can often extract a high price from us as people. In the face of this, I am grateful for the positive experience and fulfillment that came from being able to leverage my strengths as a way to achieve impact. It has been a powerful and positive force in my work life.
During my time at Facebook, one of my primary roles was to help build a culture where people could be exactly who they wanted to be – a culture of being able to express your true authentic self. I also helped build programs that supported people with their personal or professional development. In the midst of all this, I knew that had found my calling. This was my flow,
So this is why I am so excited about this next stage of our journey together. We should always surround ourselves with those that love and support us unconditionally. I found one of those people when I applied for that job at Yahoo! in 2007, and this is why we are now starting Oxegen Consulting together. We believe it is so important to help people at work, particularly in the start up culture, to take care of themselves both professionally and personally, and to live a life that plays to their strengths every day.
Let’s see what Chapter 3 has in store!