Exploring Careers With Facebook
Bigs and Littles had the
opportunity to meet face-to-face with Facebook employees, learn about their
jobs, and tour their downtown Austin offices at a recent Big Brothers Big
Sisters ‘Sister 2 Sister’ event. Matches got a glimpse of the daily experience of
working for the internet giant, along with career and life skills education.
The outing was arranged
by Match Support Specialist Lauren Dolan, whose friend Christina is a Facebook
“I wanted to create an
event focused on career exploration,” Lauren explained. “I chose Facebook
because I wanted to give our Little Sisters a chance to see that there are
women like them working in these amazing jobs at tech companies. Women are
underrepresented in the tech industry. I felt it was important to expose the
girls to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), for them
to meet women who are working in these areas, and for them to find out how
these women got into the positions they have today. It’s important for our
Little Sisters to know that these kinds of careers are a possibility for them.”
“When Lauren contacted
us about holding an event for BBBS, we wanted to be involved,” Christina said.
“Facebook is super interested in engaging with the community and connecting
with Austin youth. Plus, we wanted to share what we’ve learned, since we were
all middle schoolers once too.”
Many matches were
interested in connecting with the Facebook group as well. “My Little Sister is
an avid Facebook user and I thought this would be a great opportunity for her
to think about her career and academic goals in a fun setting,” Big Sister
“I wanted to give my
Little the opportunity to see the Facebook office and to hear a panel of women
discuss their professional experiences,” Big Sister Anna added. “The panel
discussion was the biggest hit for her. She loved hearing from these women
because they were all so different. She appreciated the differences in their
backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences.”
The matches had an
opportunity to pick up some snacks and beverages before heading into a large
conference room for the panel discussion. Gwen, Facebook’s head of
entertainment industry and the panel moderator, explained that she was going to
focus on information she wished that she had known when she was the same age as
The panel members, Gwen,
Kelsey, Guadalupe, Mefah, and Emily, began by telling the Littles about their
backgrounds, the individual journeys that led to them to work for Facebook, and
their current roles. They also highlighted the strengths and skills they use in
their jobs every day.
“It’s so important for
young women of color to see a diverse group of women they can identify with,”
Wajiha remarked. “My Little Sister saw women of color who have succeeded and
who are making way for the next generation of young women to succeed. Each
panelist provided information on how they navigate working in an environment
that is perceived to be dominated by men.”
The last question the
panel addressed – If you could go back in time, what would you say to your
13-year-old self? “My Little really liked that question,” Anna laughed. “And
she liked hearing that it’s okay to fail. I think she gained a sense of hope
from the information these women presented.”
Key take-aways included:
- It’s okay to
fail – failures are learning opportunities.
- Dream big,
but realize dreams can change.
- Don’t hate
your parents or role models – respect them. They are looking out for you
and want you to be your best self.
- Speak up and
be bold in standing up for yourself.
- It’s okay to
leadership skills – be willing to take on projects.
- Be friendly
– learn to have conversations.
- Do your
homework and show up prepared.
- Think about
what you bring to the table that is different. What do you bring that no
one else can?
- Learn what
you are passionate about – it is easier to take risks then.
- Get out of
your comfort zone – if it’s not a little scary, you are not pushing
- Seek out
mentors – you can have more than one and they can come from anywhere, be a
guiding resource, and offer another point of view.
“This session was
inspiring and it gave my Little new perspective,” Big Sister Katherine said.
“She got out of her shell a bit, asked questions during the tour, and learned
about functions within the tech field that she didn’t realize existed.”
The Facebook staff gave
BBBS’ matches a complete tour of the offices which included some quirky murals,
a large lounge, snack areas, balconies with views of downtown Austin, and game
areas. “Facebook’s offices are like a kid’s hangout. The environment is like a
playground,” Big Sister Anna commented. “If kids decide to go into the tech
field, this is the type of setting they will work in versus traditional cubicle
work stations. I wanted my Little to see that.”
The matches really
enjoyed the whole experience. “It was a powerful event,” Anna said. “It was an
experience that will resonate with these girls throughout their lives.”
The Facebook staff also
hope the event will stay with the Littles for a long time. Kelsey, a Facebook
Community Operations Specialist, said, “In six years, we hope to see you back
“We are so thankful to
Facebook for hosting us and for putting together such an excellent panel of
women to speak with our matches. Having women from a company like Facebook,
that is recognizable to everyone, talk about how their skills and education got
them where they are today really made an impression on the girls,” Lauren
Big Brothers Big Sisters
plans social, educational, and recreational events for matches throughout the
year. These activities provide Bigs and Littles with opportunities to interact
with other matches, have new experiences, develop new skills, and deepen their
In addition to regular
Sister 2 Sister and Brother 2 Brother events, other special match activities
include Open Nights in the Youth Activity Center at BBBS’ new mentoring center,
Hobie Day, a day of sailing on Lake Austin, Adventure Quest, as well as an
annual fall carnival and holiday party.
Read more about BBBS and sign up to follow our blog here