“Emerging technologies can improve our working lives by connecting everyone at a company and breaking down barriers”: Q & A with Laney Zamore, Software Engineer at Facebook Boston

October 14, 2019 | Celen Ebru Paytoncular

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Laney Zamore speaks to us about her role within Facebook, the work being done to promote women in tech internally, and her thoughts on Women in Tech East Coast 2019!

Laney Zamore is a Software Engineer at Facebook Boston, where she also serves as the Site Lead. Laney started at Facebook in 2012 and moved to Cambridge, MA in 2015. During her time at Facebook, Laney has worked on News Feed, GraphQL, and Design Tools. Laney was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and received her BS in Mathematics and MS in Computer Science from Stanford University. In her spare time, Laney enjoys running, baking, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Q: Please can you tell us a little bit about your role within Facebook?

A: I split my time between two roles: I’m a software engineer on the Design Tools team, and I’m also the Site Lead for Facebook Boston. On the Design Tools front, I’ve been working to improve the collaboration between designers and engineers with the ultimate goal of building higher-quality products. For the Facebook Boston office, my role focuses on making sure that our office is and continues to be a great place to work -- from our physical space to our office culture to our involvement with the surrounding community.

Q: What is Facebook doing to promote women in tech internally?

A: We’re committed to building a workforce as diverse as the people and communities we serve. We are constantly looking for ways to improve, and we’re taking a number of steps to make this happen, focused on three key areas: finding, growing and keeping talented women of all backgrounds. Here are a few examples:

  • We ensure hiring managers adhere to a diverse slate approach, and we have a suite of inclusion trainings such as managing bias and managing inclusion.  
  • Facebook hosts a Women’s Leadership Day locally in each region. This is a company-wide event for the women of Facebook that provides a day of learning, community building, and inspiration. 
  • We have placed more emphasis on the creation and expansion of internship programs for women and other underrepresented groups, such as Facebook University (FBU) which has grown significantly since it started in 2013. 
  • We’ve expanded our recruiting team and partnerships with organizations that provide near-term diverse pools of talent — such as women’s colleges, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the national non-profit organization, and Rewriting the Code. We’re also prioritizing being present at local conferences like Women in Tech East Coast. 
  • We host a good number of casual social events to help women in tech get to know each other and find peers, mentors, and role models. 
  • We also have programming and classes focused on career development for our women in tech. Some of our bigger events span across different Facebook offices. For example, we have an annual East Coast Women in Engineering day that brings together women from Facebook offices in Boston, NYC and DC. Our Women@ ERG and our Women in Tech community also have internal Facebook Workplace groups that allow members to highlight exciting news, get advice, advertise opportunities, and have open discussions.

Q: Why does the industry need events like this?

A: Events like this give women in tech the chance to build their networks, share what they’re working on, and hear inspiring content from other women. For most of us, our day-to-day work involves being outnumbered by men in most meetings, conferences, and work events. There’s something special about coming together for a few days to step back from our immediate work and hear from a bunch of awesome women. 

Q: In this age of digital transformation, how can emerging technologies improve and change our working lives?

A: Emerging technologies can improve our working lives by connecting everyone at a company and breaking down barriers – geographic, departmental, linguistic, technical, and more. More and more companies are adopting easy-to-use, mobile-first technology that gives every employee a voice regardless of their level or location. Collaborative tech can also help with work/life balance by allowing people to work from home or join a meeting remotely, helping people work when and where it suits them best. 

Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career in tech?

A: Don’t get intimidated by lingo or braggy talk! When I took my first computer science class in college and later when I did my first coding internship, many of the other students were throwing around acronyms and terms I had never heard. It seemed like they had been coding their whole lives, and I felt like I was so far behind. In reality, their talk was exaggerated and I was able to catch up relatively quickly. I also worry that young people have an image in their head of a programmer as somebody who lives and breathes technology and spends all of their spare time building computers or coding a side project. There are certainly people like that, but there are also plenty of successful people in this field who have other interests and hobbies. For example, I like to run, hike, bake, and spend time with my family! I want young women (and all young people) to know that you don’t need to spend every waking hour sitting in front of a screen or thinking about technology to have a great tech career that you enjoy.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

A:  I am most looking forward to connecting with the talented women working in all facets of the tech industry.  It’s a unique and powerful opportunity to foster professional development, build relationships, and share best practices. It is also inspiring to look around and see other like-minded, strong, technical women!

Q: How did you find out about Women in Tech East Coast?

A: We saw this advertised locally and felt it aligns closely with Facebook's mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together— including in the neighborhoods where we work and live. As Facebook grows in the Greater Boston area, our connection to the people around us should become stronger and our local community investments should reflect our core values. 

Q: Why did you decide to sponsor the conference, and what were your objectives with this sponsorship?

A: Our commitment to improving the representation of women and underrepresented populations in technical roles at Facebook is undoubtedly important to us. We also want to ensure we have an inclusive environment where everyone feels that their ideas and perspectives are valued -- a place where people of all backgrounds and experiences love to work.  Sponsoring conferences such as Women in Tech East Coast is key to our commitment to support the advancement of women in tech.

Congratulations to everyone who secured their seats for our Women in Tech East Coast Debut 2019 🇺🇲 

We are looking forward to welcoming you for 2 days of life-changing networking, speakers sessions and workshops at the Boston Convention Center, October 24-25 2019.