Community Connector Netta Conyers-Haynes

By Julia Halprin Jackson

Photo: David Schmitz

“My role at Facebook allows me to tap into things I enjoy doing—connecting people and building community.”

Strolling through Facebook’s Menlo Park campus, Netta Conyers-Haynes passes a café stocked with coffee and fruit, gestures to conference rooms named after 1980s movies and stops before a wall-turned-whiteboard covered in doodles. As Facebook’s head of internal communications for North America, Conyers-Haynes, ’07 Public Relations, values every word.

“The free drinks and free food are lovely, but it’s how we work with each other—the openness in the environment we create, the autonomy that we really push our teams to have,” she says. “That’s really the essence of our culture.”

Conyers-Haynes specializes in promoting positive culture at work and beyond, a likely result of attending 13 different schools before 10th grade. Though it was difficult to be uprooted, the constant cultural shifts taught her to adapt, relate to others and pursue her goals. A self-supported college student, she’d had to work through her San Jose State commencement ceremony. Ten years later, she delivered the convocation address to the class of 2017 at the African-American Convocation. Touched by the students’ passion for social justice, she refers to it as “her” graduation, an opportunity to launch a new generation.

“We don’t grow when things are easy,” she said to an auditorium of Spartans clad in red, black and green. “We grow when we face challenges.”

From negotiating her first promotion to founding her own communications firm, Conyers-Haynes has never hesitated to accept a challenge. Propelled by a desire to expand opportunities for people of color, she learned to “interact with people in an intentional way, where you can influence with your voice, either for yourself, the people you love, your beliefs, or the causes you advocate for.”

“I consider myself a connector,” she says. “My role at Facebook allows me to tap into things I enjoy doing—connecting people and building community.”


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Watch Conyers-Haynes’ convocation address:


 

Julia Halprin Jackson

Julia Halprin Jackson is an advancement writer on San Jose State University's Strategic Communications and Public Affairs team.

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