O’Neil poses for fun at the Facebook Headquarters.

Come April of my 4th year at UVA, I was full of big aspirations for my future, yet I was still jobless. I did not think I could handle one more question of “so Colby, what are your plans for next year?” Not only was I jobless at this time, but also I was extremely nervous about how I was going to top my last four years at UVA and go on to use my invaluable education to do something worthy.

While sitting in Toro’s Tacos with a bunch of Thetas, I received an email from a Facebook recruiter asking if I would be interested in pursing a position on their Small/Medium Business team in Austin, TX. At first I panicked at the thought of moving to a state I had never been to before that is so incredibly far from everything that I know and love. However, after a short moment of panic, I knew that I had to do everything in my power to take advantage of this opportunity.

I will never forget the day I was studying in Alderman for my finals when my phone rang and the Facebook recruiter officially offered me a job in Austin. I was so overcome with emotion, as it seemed I was getting everything I ever wanted, but at the same time leaving so much behind. This was the first time it hit me that I was no longer going to be surrounded by all of my best friends at my favorite place.

I have now been working at Facebook since the beginning of August. My position at Facebook works with multiple cross-functional teams from Sales to Marketing to Product Development/Engineering. I help small and medium sized businesses alike to use the Facebook advertising platform to achieve their business goals. In the process, my team becomes a voice for our customers by working with the engineers on how we can develop our products to better serve the businesses that need them. It is incredibly remarkable to work with a platform that impacts 1.3 billion people in one way or another, and to push to improve it daily. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I have been given, and I attempt to show that gratitude day in and day out by demonstrating my commitment and dedication to Facebook’s mission of making the world a more open and connected place.

This past weekend I attended the Facebook Women’s Leadership Day in San Francisco. This event is dedicated entirely to the empowerment and recognition of women who have made immeasurable strides in an industry that is predominantly male. I heard from a multitude of inspiring speakers beginning with Claire Shipman, the Senior National Correspondent for ABC News as well as author of The Confidence Code, a book about the development of women’s confidence. Next we heard from Khalida Brohi, a 23 year old who is the founder and executive director of the Sughar Empowerment Society, a nonprofit in Pakistan dedicated towards providing tribal and rural women with opportunities to grow their leadership skills and fight against honor killings. We also heard from our CBO Sheryl Sandberg who urges women to “lean in “ on a daily basis and to never compromise your desire to be wildly successful for what you think might be


By Colby O’Neil (’14)