Nine years ago, Eva K. was stocking snacks, buying furniture, and onboarding new employees at the Facebook company’s newly established Seattle office. “Seattle was our first tech site outside of the Bay Area,” Eva says. Today, she’s still with Facebook. But at the moment, Eva is 4,500 feet above the earth.
Eva is gaining altitude over Puget Sound, making her way toward the San Juan islands—an archipelago about 66 nautical miles northwest of the greater Seattle area.
“Flying above Seattle is incredible,” Eva says. “I have this moment, every single time, where I'm like, ‘I was right there earlier. I was right there on that street’ or ‘I've been literally on the deck of the building here at Seattle’s Facebook office, and now I'm thousands of feet above it, looking down.’”
When you’re flying alongside a billow of clouds, everything can look smaller down below. But for Eva, it still feels small because it is small. “That’s one of the things we do well here,” she explains. “We don’t think of ourselves as this remote outpost. The Seattle office is an inclusive place that we’re so lucky to be at. It feels so personal. You still feel like you're seen, like you're not just part of an army of people walking through the door every week.”
In 2011, the Facebook company opened their first engineering center outside California. Back then, Eva was a general manager at a coworking office space provider, comfortable in her position but hungry to expand her horizons and give Facebook a try.
“I'd been at my old company for seven years,” she says, “and I thought, ‘You know what? I think I'm going to go for it.’" This choice was met with reservations by some of her peers. “People were saying, ‘Is this Facebook thing going to actually happen? Is Facebook really a thing at all?’”
As it turns out, trying new things is in Eva’s DNA. A native Washingtonian, Eva enjoys kayaking, backpacking, and riding the 200 miles from Seattle to Portland on her road bike in the summer. An adventurous thread of aviation also runs through Eva’s family. A few years ago, she was having lunch with three friends from work when the subject of flying came up.
“We were chatting one day about our aspirations to potentially learn how to fly, and we said, ‘Why don't we just go and do it together? Why don't we approach this flight school and see if they would put together a course that's just for us?’ And we did, and they did. We all passed our written exam two months after that, and then started our flight training.”
The Facebook company maintains two campuses in the South Lake Union neighborhood and others across the lake in downtown Bellevue and Redmond. “I love the natural beauty all around us that we have such easy access to, but also the fact that you can have a great set of friends and people that you meet through Facebook, to experience all this stuff with,” Eva says.
Eva has had her pilot’s license for over two years. She flies single engine aircraft, sometimes Cessnas and other times her own Cirrus SR22T. “I love the peacefulness of flying, where you're literally up in the air, above everything else. Ten minutes before, you were way down there, and it was busy, and noisy, and all of those things, and all of a sudden you're just out, and you're totally free.”
“I love the challenge of flying. It’s a constant challenge in that you can continue learning pretty much forever, you can continue adding on things. One of the cool things about being here in the Pacific Northwest is that we've got all these opportunities to do float plane training, or gliders.”
Eva sees big challenges all around her at work, too. “We've really invested and continue to invest in trying to hire and represent the world that we're serving. That means that there's going to be an endless amount of things that we can build for the people who use our products. I'm constantly impressed, even just last week, with the innovation we’re working on in AR and VR. It’s amazing, and really cool. I have a front-row seat to the future."