A former Facebook exec initially turned down the job — but a few weeks later, she had a change of heart based on a metric she still uses today

Steve Maller‘It became very clear that there was a lot to learn in this new role at Facebook,’ said Libby Leffler.
  • Libby Leffler, a former Facebook executive and Google employee, is now the vice president of membership at SoFi.
  • Leffler initially turned down the opportunity to work at Facebook when the company approached her in 2008.
  • She changed her mind when she realised she’d be able to learn and experiment a lot in the new role.

In 2008, Libby Leffler was offered a job at Facebook.

At the time, Leffler was an account strategist at Google – which, she told Business Insider, was a much more established and recognisable company in Silicon Valley. She turned Facebook down.

A few weeks later, Leffler called Facebook back and said she’d had a change of heart: She wanted the job.

Today, Leffler is the vice president of membership at personal finance company SoFi. She spent about seven years at Facebook, then left in 2015 to attend Harvard Business School.

Leffler said she did a lot of “self-reflection” in the weeks after declining Facebook’s job offer. The factor that ultimately changed her mind? “It became very clear that there was a lot to learn in this new role at Facebook.”

She’d be working as a client partner, but she’d never had any formal sales training. “This was a great opportunity for me to dive in and see what I could do,” Leffler said. “My instinct at that time was very clear to look for and move into new opportunities where I could learn skills that I wasn’t familiar with.”

After less than one year at Facebook, Leffler was offered a role as a business lead to the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, Leffler wrote in a LeanIn blog post. (Sandberg also previously worked at Google.)

Leffler’s advice to anyone thinking about next steps in their career is to look for opportunities where you can learn – even if that means making a lateral move.

Throughout her time at Facebook, Leffler said, “I was really always drawn to things that intrigued me, gave me the chance to learn as much as I could, and gave me the opportunity to learn something new, with plenty of room for experimentation.” Her next role at Facebook was as a strategic partnerships manager.

Leffler added, “As I consider the time I spent at Facebook, I was always looking for, ‘Where is an opportunity for me to contribute and make an impact at the company?'” She said she approaches her work at SoFi the same way.

Another piece of wisdom that has guided Leffler’s career is simply to listen to your gut. She said, “I’ve found that the best decisions I’ve made are ones in which I’m really true to what my instincts are telling me.”

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