Facebook's first VP of HR talks to HRM America about leadership, philanthropy and women in technology
Two decades in HR have brought Beth Steinberg to BrightRoll, where she now serves as VP of People - but in the HR world, she's more often cited as Facebook's first VP of HR. She's also very active in philanthropy and champions the cause of women in technology.
What defines your leadership style?
My style as a leader is defined by collaboration and iteration. I like to talk through ideas. I learned a long time ago that you can’t get to the best outcomes alone. To develop my team, I try to balance setting high expectations so they can learn and grow, while not pushing them too far. I think people can often far exceed what they think they can. Watching people develop is one of the best parts of my job.
You’re heavily involved in philanthropy, particularly in organizations that empower women for success. How did you first become interested in that arena?
I become involved in the TechWomen program fairly recently. I think it is critical to get women and girls interested and involved in STEM careers. Since many of these fields of study and careers have been and still are primarily dominated by men, I think it is up to women in the field to encourage others to take the leap. Everyone I know who is successful has had someone help them, prop them up, encourage them a long the way. I think it is a part of my responsibility as a leader to do the same for others.
What’s your favorite part about HR?
Helping leaders succeed and become confident and competent.
What time do you get up in the morning?
Early—usually by 5 AM.
Tell us a story about a weird candidate encounter.
Luckily, I have not had too many. One funny interview I had was when I was with Nordstrom many years ago, and the candidate called the “Savvy” department “Savier” the entire time. I did not have the heart to correct them. I kept calling it Savvy, but they did not take the hint.
What’s the last book you read?
The last book I read was Young Money by Kevin Roose. I’m currently reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
And your drink of choice?
I drink a lot of water and coffee. Beyond that, I like a good Oregon Pinot and St. George’s Botanivore Gin.