"Build Social Value."
"What would you do if you weren’t afraid?"
These were just a few of the Facebook values and company ideals that LCLD Fellows found on posters in corporate offices when they recently visited Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together,” LCLD Member Colin Stretch (below), Vice President and General Counsel, told Fellows in his opening remarks. Over the course of the day, Fellows learned how Facebook builds communities both internally and among users around the world. They also learned the role the legal department plays in that function and how diversity and LCLD fit into the puzzle.
LCLD President Robert Grey started off the day by asking Fellows to think about the opportunities provided by their own community. “You’re in a unique position,” he said. “Nobody else will have the opportunity to build the network that you are building, and nobody will be in the position to understand the ability of leadership to move organizations to the next level.”
Fellows next heard from Stretch, who gave an overview of his role as general counsel and how the legal department operates within the broader business. He also touched on how his legal department promotes diversity internally through a diverse slate approach to recruiting, and how they measure the diversity of outside counsel. Stretch also said participation in LCLD programs is a key part of Facebook’s legal diversity efforts: “Retention and advancement are where LCLD matters. When people can learn from others about what’s working and what’s not, that yields results over time.”
Next, Ime Archibong, Vice President of Product Partnerships, shared his journey to Facebook—he’s the son of Nigerian immigrants and a former electrical engineer—and how he sees more and more people leveraging Facebook’s tools to support their communities—like allowing people to coordinate volunteers, provide materials, and offer support following a recent hurricane in North Carolina.
Archibong also shared his involvement with one of Facebook’s important internal communities. Five years ago, he helped found a black employee resource group to focus on improving recruitment; as it grew, the group began hosting the Black Community Summit as a way for more employees to connect with one another. This year’s summit was a multi-day event that brought almost 1,000 employees from around the world to connect with one another and hear from speakers like Van Jones and Valerie Jarrett.
“At some point, all communities were created by someone who raised their hand,” Archibong said.
Fellows next heard from Yael Maguire, Vice President of Engineering, who spoke about Facebook Connectivity, the company’s efforts aimed at bringing more people online and at faster connection speeds to overcome barriers of access, affordability, and awareness. One effort highlighted was Facebook’s participation in a "fiber build" in northwest Uganda that will provide backhaul connectivity to more than three million people in the region.
Vanita Wells, Head of AR/VR Customer and Internal Operations, then provided a business perspective on emerging markets for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. She discussed Facebook’s AR/VR mission (“Give people the tools to feel connected anytime, anywhere”) and department's role in building virtual and augmented reality hardware and platforms as well as devices that make it easier to connect with loved ones. She discussed her role at Facebook and some of their strategies for building inclusion, such as training managers to build inclusive team environments and sessions on how to be an effective ally.
The morning wrapped up with a panel on Facebook’s cross-functional approach to working collaboratively to drive decisions forward, whether in the context of community operations, content policy enforcement, or platform safety. The panel featured David Clarke, Team Lead, IP Operations; Jay Nancarrow, Policy Communications Director; Karla Haynes, Associate General Counsel, Global Trade Compliance; Leah Perry, Associate General Counsel, Privacy; Neil Potts, Public Policy Director; and Shauna O’Brien, Global Safety Manager.
Fellows then broke for lunch, where they had a chance to connect with more members of the Facebook legal department, who sat with Fellows in small, informal groups. Afterward, Fellows were taken on a tour of the Facebook campus, an inviting area that fosters community, collaboration, and creativity as reflected by open workspaces, gathering places, outdoor ping pong tables, an ice cream shop, a bike repair station, and plenty of space for “walking meetings.”
Fellows then got to test out some of Facebook’s hardware products built by the AR/VR team, including Portal, a video communication device that features Smart Camera which intelligently adjusts to follow the action in a room, and the Oculus Rift, the company’s first commercial PC VR headset.
After the tour, Fellows had a Q&A with Paul Grewal, who shared his journey from intellectual property litigator to U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, to Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Litigation at Facebook.
“The scope of influence as a judge was relatively small; at Facebook I’m impacting billions of people,” Grewal told Fellows. He discussed his work leading Facebook’s litigation team, including some of the top issues they face (platform content, data privacy, competition, and tax liability), and how they partner with outside counsel. “We mandated diversity commitments for outside counsel two years ago; one-third of all teams must be from underrepresented groups,” Grewal said.
Closing out the day was a panel of Facebook Fellows: Alma Chao, Director and Associate General Counsel, IP; Andy Mar, Director and Associate General Counsel, Product; Brian Lewis, Associate General Counsel, Security; Johnee Rui, Director and Associate General Counsel; Karla Haynes, Associate General Counsel, Global Trade Compliance; Nadir Joshua, Business Lead, Ads; and Pearl Del Rosario, Director and Associate General Counsel, Global Ethics & Compliance. They spoke about their career trajectories and provided advice on utilizing the Fellows Program—in particular, how to build relationships and community within the program, either through accountability partners or regional networking opportunities.
“There are candid conversations you can have with other Fellows about your goals that you’re not going to find anywhere else—so use them,” said Lewis. The panelists also spoke about how participation in the Fellows Program helps them add value at their organization. “At Facebook, there’s an expectation after you participate in the Fellows Program that you’ll bring back ideas and share that energy,” said Haynes, echoing Stretch’s statement earlier in the day.
Prior to the Learning Experience, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP co-hosted with Facebook a dinner reception for the Fellows at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum with lawyers from Facebook and Kilpatrick, including Paul Grewal, Chris Sonderby, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Compliance, Security & Investigations, and Ashlie Beringer, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Product & Privacy, who together with Pearl Del Rosario and Larry McFarland, Managing Partner of Kilpatrick’s Los Angeles office, kicked off the two-day event.
LCLD would like to thank the Facebook team for organizing the Learning Experience: Andy Mar, Brian Lewis, Karla Haynes, Malcolm Wells, Nadir Joshua, Nate Levinson, Nicole Cowing, Pearl Del Rosario, Rachel Chenoweth, and Veronica Rocha. LCLD would also like to thank Larry McFarland and Ty Lord at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.