Anne Marie Heywood, My Visit to Facebook Headquarters
Last spring, I was fortunate enough to take advantage of Santa Clara’s location in the heart of the Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley is home to thousands of startups many people have probably never heard of as well as companies it would be hard not to know, such as Facebook, which is headquartered in Menlo Park, about 20 miles from Santa Clara’s campus.
I entered through the wide glass doors of Building 23 to meet my family friend and Facebook researcher, Rick Szeliski. The first step (after navigating my way to the correct building) was to sign in on an iPad. Then, I put on a badge to signify my admittance on the campus. Rick came down the stairs to meet me and we spent most of our time outdoors on Facebook’s 9-acre rooftop park. Yes, it really was like a park. There were walkways, benches, and lawns where employees could take a break, conduct meetings, or work on individual projects. Rick sometimes goes for jogs around these rooftops while other times he visits for an afternoon snack or lunch. The park also includes are smoothie bars, barbeque, and more scattered throughout the rooftop.
After touring the rooftop, we moved inside. The building truly embodied an open environment geared toward employee satisfaction, similar to theme of the rooftop park. I walked by hundreds of employees working and collaborating in the spacious, open area. I even walked by Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s office. I happened to visit in April and, unfortunately, both offices were empty as Mr. Zuckerberg and Mrs. Sandberg had commitments to tend to in Washington D.C. with Congress. Almost every employee I walked by had two screens up: one for their work and one for Mr. Zuckerberg’s live testimony.
The opportunity to visit and tour such a legendary campus and company will forever be a highlight of my time at Santa Clara. Location is sometimes an underestimated factor when choosing a university. I am so grateful I did not overlook the opportunities associated with living in the heart of the Silicon Valley and look forward to the companies and headquarters I will visit in the next few years.