Erin Egan

Chief Privacy Officer

Washington, DC

As a family, we learned the benefits and challenges of leaning in.

Joining Facebook was not a decision I took lightly. But unlike its community of users, my choice was between the successful law practice I'd built and leading Facebook's new privacy policy team.

I had built a privacy and data security law practice at a premier global firm, with clients that included Microsoft, Hulu, American Express and The Washington Post. I had done it over a decade while raising three children, and I was finally at a place in my career where I had a tremendous team, worked with fantastic clients and had gained the respect of my partners (no easy feat!).

Throughout my career, people have described me as "fearless," handling multiple high-profile matters as a young associate and, later, convincing senior partners that the privacy and data security field was worth their investment, and then building the practice into one of the best in the country. Yet, when the opportunity to lead Facebook's privacy policy team came my way, I hesitated.

I had several good reasons for hesitating, considering the hard work I'd put into getting to where I was at the time. But someone very wise helped me realize that I was leaning back. She sent me a poster from Facebook headquarters the day after my interview. The poster said, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" I knew my answer.

Working at Facebook has been an incredible professional experience. As expected, when I first joined I worked harder than I had ever worked in my life. On several occasions during those first few months, my 10-year-old daughter (my oldest) asked me why had I left the firm when I was working so much harder at the company. We spent lots of time discussing my work and its impact on the family. She learned to appreciate my professional satisfaction and I learned to carve out new ways to spend quality time with my husband and children. As a family, we learned the benefits and challenges of leaning in.

Since joining Facebook I have never looked back. And my daughter doesn't look back anymore, either. She knows that I'm having the time of my life, learning from the smartest and most talented people I've ever known. Now, when she or either of her two brothers worry about taking on a new challenge, we walk upstairs and read the words from the framed poster hanging in our family office, and they, too, lean in.

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