Q&A: Jamie Keane

Meet Jamie Keane (Workplace Product Management Director) and get a glimpse into her career path, some of the most valuable advice she’s ever received, and what she predicts will be the biggest trends in employee experience in 2022.


What do you do at Workplace?

I am fortunate to lead a team of product managers for Workplace. We are responsible for bringing together functions across the company to understand our customers’ and employees’ needs and developing the strategy for what we should build next.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

100% it has to be the customer success stories. Of course, I get excited when teams ship something new - working together and overcoming obstacles to hit our internal goals is always fun. But hearing back from customers how they are using what we’ve built – how it’s helping them solve real business challenges – that’s immensely rewarding.

What’s been your proudest Workplace moment so far?

I don’t know if I could pick a single proudest moment. As a people manager, I take the most pride in seeing members of my team grow. That tends to show up in little moments – when someone nails a presentation they were incredibly nervous about making, finds confidence to convince another organization to team up and drive better outcomes, or solves a really hard problem in an elegant way.

That said, I am pretty proud of our 2022 product plans and roadmap! The planning process is always a challenge and involves nearly everyone in the organization working together over multiple weeks. Seeing the outcome of all of that hard work manifest into the great set of things we’ll get to ship to customers this year is definitely something I’m proud of.

What's your favorite product or feature that you’ve worked on?

This question always feels like you’re asking me to pick my favorite dog (which my two boys would definitely protest!). Rather than single out an existing Workplace feature, I’ll tell you about my favorite program across all of our teams – designing how our product will evolve to meet people’s needs in the metaverse. I’m excited to explore how this next generation of devices can pair with more flexible working styles to connect employees in new ways.

Which Workplace feature do you use most often?

I use Workplace near constantly. My most common use case is communicating in targeted groups to keep everyone aligned and informed. In my role, I tend to work on a large number of projects that span a wide range of teams or even organizations. At a company the size and scale of Meta, that means I’m working with dozens of people, some overlapping, some not, on projects at different stages. I use small group chats for quick comments or questions and posts to solicit document feedback, communicate important decisions or give progress updates.

What inspired your career path in product management?

I landed in product management almost by accident. I spent the first part of my career as an engineer building internal tools at a company where PM wasn't a function. After a couple of years, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated. I was often stuck doing rework on features, as there was a lack of cohesive requirements from stakeholders. My work was driven by ‘loudest/last in wins’ instead of building cohesive solutions.

I expressed frustration about this to my HR partner, who was incredibly supportive. After a few quick questions, she introduced me to the Director of Product - who explained what product management was and why it might be a fit for me. I interviewed that same week, and started as an Associate PM a few days later. I think about this transition often. I never could have predicted at the time how product management as a discipline would evolve or how much I would enjoy it. But I am forever grateful for the support I had in my early career to help me explore what might fit – and try to pay that forward in my role now.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t make decisions from a place of fear. Project a vision of what could be – what could happen if things go right – and build towards that ideal state. Humans are wired to avoid pain, failure, or embarrassment. If an entire team is making decisions based on what minimizes fear for them, you’ll always pursue the least risky option on which a group can agree rather than exploring what might be amazing. Of course, you still want to assess your ideas for risks and mitigate them accordingly - but don’t let fear be your default deciding factor.

What advice would you give someone who’d like to work at Workplace?

If you’re considering interviewing, I would emphatically encourage you to do it! I have found my time at Workplace to be some of the most rewarding in my career. The environment is challenging, yet supportive, and we work on interesting, important problems.

If you’re not sure that you quite have the right skillset to apply, I would still encourage you to reach out. We have numerous programs in place to allow people to explore roles here and build skills, which might lead to your perfect role down the line. Check our pathway programs, Rotational Product Management program, and internship programs to get started.

Which three words best describe your team?

Smart. Motivated. Inspiring.

How do you think your team would describe you?

Organized. Driven. Supportive.

What piece of tech can you not live without?

‘My phone’ feels like too obvious of an answer, even if it is probably the most accurate. For something a bit less expected, I’d have to choose my Portal, which has quickly become something I use daily. I love the ease of connecting into meetings from a single calendar app, without having to worry about juggling different VC tools. The camera and mic are so much better than the webcam I bought in the early WFH days, and having video on a second screen means I can see everyone and interact naturally, while still taking notes on my laptop.

Ultimately, I'd say Portal because it's a device I also use outside of work! I can call my parents and talk to them together, in their living room, rather than awkwardly handing the phone back and forth or hearing only half the conversation. It has changed how we keep in touch now that I’m based in London.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

My time on the weekends is usually split between two modes: active outdoor time and downtime with the family. I’m an avid cyclist, so most weekends include a trip to Surrey to hit the trails or a road ride to Richmond Park to visit the deer. Most evenings you’d find me on the couch, hanging out with my dogs, knitting and binging Netflix.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I started university with a major in Music, planning to pursue a career as a classical flutist. I spent a little over half a year on that track, deeply engaged in music lessons, ensembles and theory courses. In my second semester, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment where I realized that I didn’t want the thing I loved (music) to be my full time job and switched to a Computer Information Systems degree. Today I get to engage with music purely for enjoyment. I still play the flute and I took up piano lessons during lockdown last year.

What would be the coolest thing to experience in the metaverse?

I’m really excited about some of the early immersive learning concepts. I am a firm believer that we should all aspire to be lifelong learners - both for work and in our personal lives. I love the idea that the metaverse could make learning experiences much more visceral, speeding the path to understanding and increasing retention. I look forward to exploring ancient sites, taking language courses on ‘location’ with native speakers, or traveling to places in nature that would otherwise be unreachable.

Which big trends do you predict for 2022 in terms of how we work and employee experience?

Companies are going to be investing deeply in ways to make hybrid work more sustainable and inclusive. We’ve seen a massive trend towards employee choice and flexibility in the last two years. People are able to work in more locations, on flexible hours, sometimes across multiple jobs. All of that flexibility comes at a cost though - as context building, timezone complexities, and even VC/on-site parity issues are surfacing. I expect companies to be investing heavily in processes and training to set baseline expectations and for new solutions designed specifically for these challenges to come to market.

Can you share any 2022 Workplace product plans at this stage?

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve got an incredibly exciting roadmap on deck for 2022. We’re continuing to invest in connecting employees with their leaders and making sure that connection happens seamlessly in all the new, flexible ways people will be working. We’re also about opportunities to connect and empower the frontline, and have some great features planned to help support the full employee population.

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