Barbara Furlow-Smiles

Barbara Furlow-Smiles

Global Diversity Program Manager, Engagement/Employment Resource Groups


San Francisco, CA USA

Be open to opportunities and know that your mind may change. What won’t change is inherently what is inside of you...Do your work and pay it forward.


By Roadtrip Nation

Barbara Furlow-Smiles

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My road in life took a while to figure out.
I was born in California, but raised in Texas—my experiences with racism as a teenager inspired me to help other people feel included.
Attended Spelman College where I received my degree in political science and international relations with the goal of one day working in government in Washington, D.C.
During my junior year, I studied abroad in South Africa and volunteered abroad in Costa Rica.
After returning to the U.S., I decided to switch my focus from political science to communications and media.
My first internship out of college was working for MTV where I was able to work on projects with VH1 and BET—this is what first sparked my interest in a career in diversity.
Got a job working for Viacom in New York City as the Diversity & Employee Resource Group Project Manager.
Moved to Atlanta, GA to start my family and worked for Cox Communications for a few years.
After being an active user on LinkedIn promoting my work in diversity, Facebook reached out to me and offered me a job—I'm now their Global Diversity & Inclusion Engagement Leader.
Keep following my journey


High School
Political Science and Government, General
Spelman College
International Relations and Affairs
Spelman College
Public Administration
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College


Global Diversity Program Manager, Engagement/Employment Resource Groups

I manage Facebook's employee resource groups making sure everyone has a voice and feels included.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

No day is ever the same. My job is definitely not a 9-to-5 because it involves solving really big problems. You can find me either on the road traveling and talking to people, celebrating cultures, and helping people find their voice; or, I can be on the Facebook campus teaching inclusion and supporting employee activities. I manage all of our employee resource groups that are all structured around identity, so employees can feel like they have a voice and feel included.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You have to have tenacity, perseverance, and grit. In order to be successful in media, you have to really get to know people and understand the benefit of good relationships. If you are authentic and empathetic, it will get you far. Don't be shy and reach out to mentors and ask for help.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Know how to use social media and make it work for you. Utilize the professional resources it gives you to network, make connections, share what you are doing are in your career, and explore new opportunities.


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"Diversity can be messy. Is it really that important?"

Challenges I Overcame

Changed Major
Self-Esteem Issues
Racial Discrimination

Interviewed By

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