Power Women of the Diaspora: Facebook Chief of Staff Defines Her Career on Her Own Terms

How Morin Oluwole transitioned from science to successful social media career

Morin Oluwole, chief of staff to vice president of global marketing solutions, Facebook (Image: About.me)

Morin Oluwole, chief of staff to vice president of global marketing solutions, Facebook (Image: About.me)

As the business lead and chief of staff to the vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook, Morin Oluwole walks among power women around the world relentlessly charting their own paths to success. Since joining Facebook in 2006, she’s held diverse roles within the company and has been part of launching some of the most innovative tools available to more than 1 billion users across 211 nations.

Morin Oluwole’s diverse journey proves she isn’t one to walk away from opportunity. Not only does she speak five languages, the Nigerian-born careerist has lived on three continents and manages some of the world’s most successful brands—from Michael Kors to American Express.

When she says, “I don’t have the time, I make the time,” she isn’t being sarcastic. She’s mastered the art of managing clients, cross functional teams, time zones and her very own passion project, Daily by Morin, a life & style fashion portal with over 25,000 followers.

So, what does it take to successfully develop a career with the world’s largest online social network? BlackEnterprise.com caught up with a new face of remarkable women shaping our world in fashion and social technology.

BlackEnterprise.com: You have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human biology and sociology from Stanford University. How did you transition into the technology and marketing fields?

I really thought I would follow the traditional path to becoming a doctor. But while working the overnight shift as an intern at the emergency room, I realized this is not how I envisioned spending the rest of my life. It wasn’t passion. It felt more like an obligation. At that point I went through a period of exploration so I could focus on what I really wanted to do with my life.

After graduation, a friend told me about a great opportunity at Facebook which would align with my sociology degree. I was on Facebook like most other students, so I figured the position would be a great way to build on a sociology and technology career.

Facebook has definitely grown from a small start-up in Boston to a worldwide powerhouse. Tell us more about how your career evolved.

As the company progressed, it needed people with different skillsets to help build the next phase to come.

I started in operations then transitioned to product marketing where we launched Facebook pages. I later moved to the public content team. I spent several years building our media and public figure partnerships in the lifestyle and luxury fashion industry.

Throughout my journey, I built great relationships with everyone from working with technology and engineering to our marketing and media partners.

Relationships are so crucial in developing one’s own personal career. But at the same time relationships can’t solely get you to where you want to be.

I have professional mentors in technology as well as other industries. But I never approached anyone and asked him or her to be my mentor. You have to build relationships and trust first before you can really transform the relationship into a mentoring interaction.

I believe opportunity plus planning equals good luck. With the support of people who understand my value, I’ve planned how I wanted my career to advance and taken advantage of opportunities.

What are the challenges of working across cultures and functions?

When you’re working in a company, everyone is united around the same goal, but there is also a subset of separate goals that they want to achieve. You have to really understand what the other party wants to accomplish. Ask them versus telling them what you need from them because that is how you build understanding.

It’s pretty safe to say Facebook gave us a whole new meaning to the word social. Take us through a “day in the life” of your role.

My goal each day is always the same: to work with the head of global advertising to ensure that we build the best business and sales organization possible.

On any given day, that could be meeting with a client in London, working on a presentation for a Latin American client, or planning a meeting for a big event like the Cannes Lions festival.

What tips would you give to someone interested in a global career?

Have a global focus and a clear understanding on what kind of impact you want to have. Stay very informed. Find out every piece of information that would make you competent. Get to know people in a real way so you can build relationships with power players in the industry who can really advocate for you.

Kandia Johnson is a freelance communications strategist, brand builder and world traveler who also loves fashion, food and wine. She’s traveled from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Thailand to Africa. When she’s not helping clients create engaging communication campaigns, she’s writing about her globe-stalking adventures for her blog LadybugsInWonderland.com and Travelista.TV.

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