Why I’m Here
In 2007 I did what no other person had ever done in Silicon Valley. I said no to an offer from Google, to go to Yahoo! instead. 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 to 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 joined the team at Yahoo! to help build manager development and the new hire experience with my new best friend, Stuart Crabb.
Then Stu 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.
Unlike Donald Trump (Oh yes I did!), Stuart kept his promise 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.” Together we build out Facebook’s learning function, and we got to do tons of amazing things. Stuart and I welcomed every new employee to the rocket ship. What an experience, and what a ride!
Eventually Stu encouraged me to follow my passion, and I began to build the diversity department for Facebook. These were heady days; Stu and I designed programs for Facebook that were life changing — not only for me, but more importantly for employees there, present and future. I knew I had found in Stuart 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 someday and inspire people once more. It’s what we love to do… but together. So here we are, starting Chapter 3.
Along the way, I’ve learned that what fills my soul. I discovered I am at my strongest when I’m helping others to feel safe, empowered, and stoked to be on this journey. I found why I was put on this crazy planet: 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 who lost their marriages in all the fun. The demands of Silicon Valley often extract a high price from us as people.
In the face of this, I am grateful for the positive experiences and fulfillment that came from leveraging my strengths to achieve impact. Working from my strengths has been a powerful and positive force in my 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 where people can express their true, authentic selves. 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 my journey with Stuart. We should always surround ourselves with those who 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 Stuart and I 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!