Caribbean-born achiever heads Facebook drive for diversity

By Thomas L Blair 08 March 2017 copyright

Maxine Williams /Facebook photo acknowledged
Maxine Williams /Facebook photo acknowledged

Trinidad-born lawyer and actor Maxine Williams heads Facebook’s new global search for diversity. That makes her a prominent International Women’s Day achiever 2017.

Praised in the West Indian press, she said her task is “getting everyone at Facebook involved in working on the issue of generating greater diversity. Innovation, openness, and drive are what will deliver impact”.
 Caribbean Beat sums her up admirably: “Big ideas can change the world. This underlines her basic mantra. “My role at the powerful web company is a platform for spreading the benefits of the digital world”, she told reporters.

There’s a rise-up story in her achievement. “I started using Facebook in 2007. I joined as an employee in 2013 — I am the global head of diversity for Facebook. That means that I develop strategies to find, grow, and keep the best and brightest talent from all backgrounds, while leveraging the diversity of perspectives already present at Facebook to build the best products possible for the 1.23 billion people who use Facebook all over the world”.

Furthermore, Williams  said:
“Facebook is so much more than a place to find out what your friends are doing on their vacations, or where they are going for dinner. It is the place where Trinidadian Olympic swimmer George Bovell could build a friendship with a Ugandan swimmer, and through that develop a programme to reduce drowning deaths in Uganda, by teaching people how to swim.

“It is a place where parents of sick children share groundbreaking medical interventions. And it is the place where someone like me, living in the diaspora, can stay in touch with friends and family far away in an instant”

Moreover, she said, “My upbringing in multicultural Trinidad and Tobago certainly set the stage for an appreciation of differences among people. I have also always been eager to experience the breadth of offerings in the world — from pursing a number of different careers to living in and visiting a number of different countries and learning different languages.

Williams’ pioneering rise to the top of a major info-tech company is a remarkable tonic. It illustrates the global theme of women standing up against adversity. That theme makes International Women’s Day especially important for Black women at home and abroad.