A 'fancy coffee' offer to a friend helped her get a temp job at Facebook — where she worked up to VP

Before Ami Vora ascended to the role of Vice President at Meta, she began her journey as a temporary employee in Facebook's public relations department, even sleeping on couches. In an episode of "Lenny's Podcast" published on Sunday, Vora recounted how she landed her first job at Facebook. Over time, she rose to become the VP of Product at Facebook and later the VP of Product and Design at WhatsApp. However, her initial goal was simply to get a seat at the table, which required some creative networking.

"I always knew that I wanted to be part of the exciting developments in Silicon Valley during the mid-2000s," Vora shared. After quitting her job and traveling the world, she moved to New York and enjoyed an "extremely blissful lifestyle." Vora had previously worked at Microsoft as a product manager for three years before resigning, as noted on her LinkedIn profile. Although her unemployment period was one of the best times of her life, she eventually felt the need to find a job — and she specifically aimed for Facebook.

In 2007, Vora explained, people valued Facebook more than their cars, describing it as a "magical product" that connected many people to the world. On a post on Lean In, she wrote that none of the jobs listed on Facebook's career page were suitable for her at the time. Despite looking at other companies and submitting some applications, she couldn't stop thinking about Facebook’s mission and energy.

Determined not to give up, Vora leveraged her network and flew to Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters. She arranged to meet an employee she knew by offering to buy them "fancy coffee" at a downtown Palo Alto café in exchange for a tour of the office and introductions to other staff members. "I introduced myself to everyone I met, saying, 'Hey, I'm Ami, and I really want to work here. I'll do whatever you need,'" she recalled in the podcast.

Vora admitted in her Lean In post that she was nervous and spent time pacing around outside the Facebook building. She dedicated the day to striking up conversations with anyone who would listen. Despite only receiving one call from the head of PR after her visit, who cited several reasons why they couldn't hire her then — including her lack of experience and current headcount — there was a need for someone to review press releases, leading them to offer her a temporary position in the PR department.

"This wasn't exactly what I had hoped for, but I was passionate about the work and the company. So once again, I flew from New York to San Francisco," Vora wrote. She accepted the offer, moved to California, and stayed on couches. A few months later, she was offered a full-time position.

"Eventually, they hired me full-time, and I never looked back," Vora said during the interview. Over the years, she progressed to become a director at Instagram, VP of Product at Facebook, and VP of Product and Design at WhatsApp. After spending over 15 years at the company, she left in 2022 and currently serves as the Chief Product Officer at Faire, an online wholesale marketplace.  

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