We are teaming up with OKREAL for our interview series, “Pay it Forward.” We spoke with women who we collectively admire to hear what mentorship means to them, the advice that has been most meaningful and the importance of uplifting the women around you. OKREAL is a platform that curates wisdom shared by a range of smart, leading women role models.
Second in our series is Deb Liu, vice president of Marketplace at Facebook. We spoke with Liu about taking risks, impostor syndrome and where she does her best work.
Check back next week for our third interview in this series. We’ll be talking to Roxane Gay, author of “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger.”
Yes. In 2009, I was debating joining Facebook. I had been at PayPal and then eBay for seven years, working part time with extremely flexible hours and had recently returned to work after my second child was born. During my interview with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, she spoke to me about how to think about my career as a female leader. These concepts were later published in her book, “Lean In.” She encapsulated my ambivalence about work and motherhood so aptly and asked me to not let that hesitation slow down my career.
Empathy and care. People want to know they are cared for and respected. My best managers and mentors are ones I know care about me both personally and professionally. I aspire to model these qualities.
I transitioned to a team with a manager I truly thought I could not work with after having multiple conflicts with him over the years, and I considered quitting after being told he would be my manager. While I respected him, I really couldn’t see myself working for him. I almost quit the day they told me. But in the end, it was one of the very best learning experiences I’ve had. Working for someone who is nearly the opposite from me in every way, but still has my back made me realize that there is something to be learned from everyone as long as we both put in the effort.
Amy Klement was the VP of Product at PayPal. She hired me as a product manager even though I had no idea what the job entailed and I knew little to nothing about tech. Each time there was a new opportunity she bet on me even though it was not the obvious choice. Her mentorship and leadership is something I carry with me each day and pay it forward for other women leaders.
When you know someone has your back, it gives you the courage to take risks.
Eliminating impostor syndrome. Every day I make decisions that have significant long-term impact on products and people, and part of me always wonders if I’m good enough or wise enough for this role. I struggle to overcome the feeling that someone could clearly do it better.
Late at night after my three children are in bed. I make a cup of jasmine green tea and sit down to work. The house is quiet, and I can think deeply without interruption. It’s when I do most of my strategy work and writing.
Optimize for people and passion. The rest will follow.
Be open to feedback. Really listen and internalize it. Even if you disagree, something is the source of it, so find out what.
There are those who will tear you down and tell you that you are not good enough, but there are others who believe in you. Listen to those who are rooting for you and that will carry you through any difficult circumstance.