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Bärí A. Williams is Head of Business Operations Management, North America at StubHub as of January 2017. In this role, she is responsible for business planning and operations, including cross-functional work with Product, Marketing, Strategy, Partnerships, Customer Service, Trust and Safety to manage and oversee technical metrics, product innovation, key strategic partnerships and drive P&L results across the company.

Prior to StubHub, Ms. Williams was Lead Counsel for the Global Infrastructure, Development, and Operations (“Inbound”) Commercial Legal team at Facebook. In this role, she drafted and negotiated contracts supporting Facebook’s internet.org connectivity efforts, building aircrafts, satellites, and lasers, along with purchasing and procurement to keep the company running – from software and hardware for the development of new products for users, including marketing messenger bots for Tommy Hilfiger during Fashion Week, to deals for supplies and equipment needed to take care of Facebook employees worldwide. Additionally, she also successfully took on the passion project of developing strategy and implementing the launch Facebook’s Supplier Diversity Program, announced at White House Demo Day in 2015, and officially launched at NMSDC in October 2016. She also served on Facebook’s Black Employee Resource Group leadership team, which recently had its successful inaugural “Black Leadership Day” event.

Prior to joining Facebook, Ms. Williams was an attorney at CSAA Insurance Exchange, formerly known as AAA Insurance, where her work focused on commercial contracts, primarily in the IT space, data and privacy.

Ms. Williams' writing has been featured in Fortune, TheRoot.com, WIRED, and Fast Company. She has been a featured speaker on panels at festivals and events, and has been featured on Elle.com (online feature of Elle Magazine), TheRoot.com, Levo League and in Black Enterprise and Essence magazines. She is a 2015 recipient of the National Bar Association’s “40 Under 40” award, recognizing young attorneys excelling in achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and legal community involvement in their careers, as well as their “Excellence in Legal Innovation” award, and a 2015 recipient of the Digital Diversity Network’s “Top 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity” award.

Ms. Williams is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (BA, Mass Communications), St. Mary’s College of California (MBA), the University of California, Los Angeles (MA, African-American Studies), and the University of California, Hastings College of Law (JD). She is also very active in her community as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Links, Incorporated, and in political organizing and fundraising at the local, state, and national level. An Oakland native, she and her husband, Jaime, live in Oakland with their two children

She will be live on June 1 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    4 months ago #

    Bonjour Bari,

    Thank you for doing this AMA.

    I have a few questions for you:

    1) How can companies leverage the power of diversity to take their innovation ability to new heights?
    2) What makes StubHub unique from a growth standpoint?
    3) What is the one thing you took away from working at Facebook?

    Merci!

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi there! Thanks for asking these great questions.

      1. I would say always understand the business case. The first thing I think of is "Black Twitter" (that'll make an excellent case study one day). The way that Blacks use Twitter is very different than it's initial use case, and perhaps leveraging that fact to refine and create new products may be beneficial for that company. I think the same is applicable to other companies.

      Look at demographics generally, and as they pertain to your industry. Black millennials are the largest group of early adopters. That may be a game changer if you have a technology based consumer focused app, let's say. So, it's about understanding the unique business case for diversity for your company within your industry, and then how those demographic trends will have ramifications for your business if you DON'T embrace or incorporate them. But basically... more voices provide more opinions, use cases, and marketing messages - better business.

      2. It's unique because it has yet to pair with certain strategic partners. Again, the usual customer doesn't fit the diverse millennial demographic, but that just presents an opportunity to refine the product to appeal to them. That's a growth opportunity. The challenge is being nimble, yet fast, enough to seize those opportunities in time.

      3. Culture is a BIG DEAL. Working at Facebook really made me come to love the way they manage - they are all about empowering people to do their best work, play to their strengths, and to make and own decisions. I fully embrace that. It's the way you learn and grow. And empowering people to own their work and make key decisions means they will be more invested and engaged. When everything funnels from the top, and has to funnel back up before decisions are made... that can be discouraging.

      5 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        4 months ago #

        Boom - now that's how you kick of an AMA!

      • BW

        Bärí A. Williams

        4 months ago #

        Anuj - That's a great question... I don't know that anyone is doing it really well, to be honest. I think Twitter has an awesome opportunity to do it, but they haven't so far. Snapchat is also poised for a come up with Black millennials if they keep at it.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        4 months ago #

        re: "Black millennials are the largest group of early adopters".
        What companies do you think have best leveraged this audience to kickstart their early growth?

  • TO

    Tonmoydey Opu

    4 months ago #

    Hello Ms. Williams!

    thanks for your AMA

    My Question-
    1. what challenges you faced while developing strategy and implementing Facebook’s Supplier Diversity Program?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi there! Thanks for asking.

      I think a large challenge was just getting started. Launching that program was something I was passionate about on a personal level (just based on who and what I am), but taking on something that large can be overwhelming. Also, trying to balance doing that work with my core function that I was hired to do... be an attorney.

      It was first just understanding where and how to start. What are the key organizations in the SD space? Who is doing it right? What are some unique challenges with the tech industry and suppliers? What are unique challenges when you don't have centralized procurement systems (like a Chief Purchasing Officer, a la Disney and other larger traditional orgs)? How do you solve for those?

      The first thing I'd suggest is to harness the information you have within your company... who are your key suppliers? How much do you spend? What's their percentage of spend? What does success look like - is it percentage of total spend or just general dollar amount spent or percentage of diverse suppliers used (nevermind spend %) as compared to the whole? There are lots of ways to measure success and to define it, but you have to know what is your company goal, and how that places you in your industry.

      5 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    4 months ago #

    Hi Bärí!
    If I understand correctly your role includes assisting with marketing strategy - is that correct?
    If yes, can you talk more about what your role entails and how you work with the marketing team on an ongoing basis?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi John,

      The marketing team does a pretty good job of understanding key drivers for the business across the different genres we serve for tickets (NBA, concerts, NCAA, theater, etc.). It's interesting how different the drivers for purchase can be. I tend to ask a lot of questions, to be honest. *WHY* are we choosing to market this event this particular way? What's the demo you are going after? Is this the right way to reach them? What about incorporating a social media element? If something has show an uptick, it's also important to understand why... is it anything we did, or is it based on the landscape (meaning, the events offered)?

      I can never take my legal hat off, and lawyers like to ask "why" and poke holes until we can get as close to a definitive answer as possible.

      3 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    4 months ago #

    Hi Bärí - so excited to have you here!
    What do you think the tech industry needs to do differently to see more more diversity and women in (more) key positions? And recommendations would you give ladies who would like to get more involved in the this industry?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      I think the industry is starting to mature and grow up. A lot of the companies were founded by young men, who... liked to comport themselves as young men. While there are definitely elements of that still in play, I think people, and companies, are maturing a bit, which will make it better.

      That said, it's an uphill climb. My concern is that women and underrepresented minorities in tech are typically under-leveled and underpaid, and until that changes, we won't see gains. I'd love to see companies actually take holistic stock of their data (is their parity in regard to rate of promotion; true pay equity for a man/woman with same # years of experience and similarly degrees; are opportunities to interface with senior leadership presented equally, etc.) and then actually DO something about it.

      One thing that could help... have static measurements for how one gets to a certain level. Managers have discretion, and use subjectivity, to decide promotions and raises. If there were hard and fast metrics across the board one had to hit, you can't deny the facts - and either someone hit the goal or they didn't. That's a start.

      I'd tell women NOT to get discouraged. It's easy to say and hard to put in practice. But I look at it this way... my grandparents were Mississippi sharecroppers with elementary educations, and they didn't sacrifice moving westward and working to the bone for me to say "I'm tired." Everyone has a story of sacrifice in their family they can draw on. Think of that person, and how hard they worked to give you the luxury to say "I'm tired," then remember they didn't quit and that's how you got here... whether it's immigration, or women's suffrage, or sharecropping, or working multiple jobs.

      2 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        4 months ago #

        That last paragraph has got to be among the most inspirational responses we've seen on here yet.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    4 months ago #

    Hey Bärí - so cool to have you on here!

    I'm very interested in learning more about whether you learned something new about negotiation when you were going after the contract for internet.org with Aquila and others?
    Whether you did or did not, what lessons about negotiating, in general, do you think we can all take away from that experience?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Anuj, thanks for asking!

      I think what I learned in tackling a large project like that is know your strategy first. I'm someone who is big on understanding an overarching goal ('what are we trying to accomplish and why?') and then back into it. Once you understand what you're going after and why it's important, you can figure out what steps you need to take in order to be successful. It's like the old adage of how to eat an elephant... one bite at a time.

      Legal strategy - particularly for IP - is key. Do you want to own the IP? License parts of it? You just want periods of exclusivity? You should know all of those things before you contract to assemble something, because you don't want to end up with license periods that are unequal, or a key component is time barred due to exclusivity with a competitor, etc.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    4 months ago #

    Thanks for spending this time with us today Bärí.

    From your LinkedIn Profile, part of your responsibilities are "objective analysis, operational insights, and strategic initiatives focused on both drivers of our existing business and new/emerging opportunities"
    I'm specifically interested in the new/emerging opportunities aspect. What role do you play and can you share any insights in general about how StubHub goes about evaluating such opportunities?
    Also, can you talk about any such initiative from the recent past that has panned out really well for Stubhub?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Glen!

      First, I'd suggest taking stock of things that you DON'T have. What are some basic things that if you tweaked or refined would improve the business? In some cases, that might be looking at things you aren't leveraging - like social media integration, bots, partnerships with publications (in our case, due to sports and entertainment), or even working with influencers.

      It's, of course, going to be industry specific as to what works for you. Coming from a social media company, and having supported some bot deals, the first thing I thought of was "why isn't there better social media integration or bots to assist with ticketing on social platforms?" That seems like a natural fit. If Facebook has 2B users and you don't have an interface or integration with them... you're missing out on a huge opportunity. Something like that is low hanging fruit.

      Other unique opportunities will be company, or even genre, specific. What are key music publications or ways to enhance and influence the experience of attending an event? Is that coordinating your parking? Are you traveling and perhaps there's a way to provide discounts or opportunities to partner with companies that can help us provide a seamless experience, from travel to the event to attendance. All of those things should be considered, size the market opportunity, the opportunity costs to implementation, and whether or not it's viable/worthwhile.

      Hope that helps!

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    4 months ago #

    Hi Bärí - what technical metrics do you manage for the business? How do these map to key metrics for the overall business?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Mark!

      A lot of what I do is assessing cost benefit analysis and really striving to maximize efficiencies and practice ruthless prioritization. It's looking at schedules - when is something supposed to launch, if it's launched did it have the positive effect we thought it would have, why/why not? Is it going to trend that way? If it trends negatively, should we continue to allocate resources (time, people, dollars) to it, or pivot to something else?

      All of this Q&A is done with analytics, of course. But it's really looking at metrics that help us decide if a business decision is a good or bad one. What should we do to make it better, should we scrap it? What can we do make up the funds? What can we look at for incremental gains?

      The initiatives are what I'd call "cherries on top," the overall business is the usual 'run the business' functions of ensuring there is inventory, it's correctly mapped and resourced, and then initiatives either have incremental monetary gains for us, or are strategically focused. Hope that helps!

      • BW

        Bärí A. Williams

        4 months ago #

        Well, I think some of it is innate, to tell the truth. I've always been super organized as far as work is concerned, and even at home I live and die by a shared color coded Google calendar with my husband.

        I think that's a good start, though. Do a forensic accounting of your time. See how you spend it, and then look at what it yields. It's like a pros/cons or cost benefit analysis.

        You'll find that you can make time for things you'd like to do, or the things you say you don't have time to do, if you first take stock of how you spend it. You'd be surprised...

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        4 months ago #

        I find prioritization to be an ongoing challenge.
        Any frameworks/tools/books/resources you'd recommend towards becoming a ruthless prioritizer?

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    4 months ago #

    Hi Bärí,
    You're career is clearly progressing amazingly.
    What have you've learned about managing your career and positioning yourself for success so far?
    Also what advice would you give your 20 year old self to do differently knowing what you know now?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Tri! Great question...

      I have a mentor, who is now GC for the Seahawks, and I went to him with a question about positioning myself for a raise and/or a different type of work. He said, “If you don’t, who will? No one will fight for you like you will.” I appreciated being reminded of that, because as an attorney I negotiate passionately for my clients, and Ed was reinforcing that I need to do the same for myself, and that I'm my own best advocate. No one will know my strengths (and weaknesses), accomplishments, and potential with the level of detail that I do. My mother and grandmother also taught me that you teach people how to treat you, and that knowing your worth teaches people how to treat you. If you lowball yourself, or take less than you deserve, people will treat you accordingly.

      I also suggest people embrace self-awareness. I'm not afraid to say "I don't know" as the answer to a question. I'm comfortable knowing what I don't know, and saying that. I'm also very eager and happy to learn new things, but I am humble enough to say "I don't know, but let's figure it out."

      I'd tell my 20 yr old self two things: (1) stay that 4th year in college, there is absolutely no really good reason to graduate a year early and rush into 'adulting' - bills will always be there, LOL, and; (2) patience is a virtue, but be strategic and mindful while you're in a period of waiting. While you wait, be solutions oriented. I was raised in a home where I couldn't raise an issue unless I also had a solution to go with it. I'd stress to myself to remember that. Always. Don't just gripe... solve.

      2 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    4 months ago #

    Hi Bärí
    Do you find that your background in law gives you any sort of "unfair advantage" when it comes to influencing people?
    if yes, can you elaborate on that?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Javier... great sneaky question! lol

      I think it can give me an advantage because I know how to structure things in very specific ways, and I can also account for legal hurdles to certain business challenges because of that, too.

      I already know counterarguments likely to be raised, cause lawyers are trained to think of those things, and how to negate them, before they are made. If you can anticipate what someone is going to say before they say it, you can be prepared. If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready...

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    4 months ago #

    Hi Bärí!
    What are the biggest challenges you've faced as a manager so far?
    How have you been able to overcome them?

    Sort of related question: What has been the most unexpected thing (good and not-so good) that you've experienced in your current role?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Danielle... great questions.

      1. I would say the hardest part was... getting started. Will this person like my style? What's their style? How can I give them the things that they need? *What* do they need? How can I ensure I provide it? I think what was key for me was being really blunt and honest about who I am and how I carry myself, and then giving the freedom for them to also express themselves and tell me what their goals were, what they wanted in the immediate, and how I could best help them.

      The best managers I've had have been the ones that: (1) block and tackle for me (knock obstacles out of the way); (2) point of escalation - they allowed themselves to be sounding boards and someone to bounce ideas off of; (3) open, strategic and intellectually curious; (4) authentic (5) empowering - allowed me to own my work with pride, let me shine, and provided opportunities for stretch goals. So, I modeled that behavior. I like to them I'm most of those things on an average day, so it wasn't too hard to do. But first, I think it's about level setting and having that baseline conversation. Can't give people what they need/want if you don't first identify it.

      2. Most unexpected thing? Well, I started on a Wed. morning and on Friday morning was at the airport headed to Tampa for the Clemson/Bama championship game. I worked the StubHub booth and actually handed out tickets and looked at how the whole operation ran. It was interesting... and tiring! But I really loved seeing how excited people were to get their tickets and to tell me their stories about how they came to the game. That was rewarding!

  • SK

    S Kodial

    4 months ago #

    Bärí
    On the home page of your website you have a super quote ""Diversity gets people in the door; inclusion keeps them there."
    How can everyone (in tech and beyond) can get better at inclusion?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      FANTASTIC QUESTION!!

      I actually wrote a piece on this for Fortune last month. It's 8 ways to measure diversity that have nothing to do with hiring... and those measures are key - parity in hiring, leveling, and pay; rate of promotion; access to leadership; communities of inclusion/ERGs in a company and their influence; supplier diversity programs, Those are ALL things people need to think of and incorporate holistically to really be serious and show you are serious about inclusion.

      The article is a good read, here: fortune.com/2017/04/20/workplace-diversity/

  • JD

    James Dunn

    4 months ago #

    What have been the biggest workplace culture differences between Facebook and StubHub?
    Is there something StubHub is actually better at than Facebook?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi James!

      Well, for one... the pace!! Facebook pace is insane, for better or worse. I really loved it when it was invigorating and the projects were first of their kind (deals of first impression) and it was all new and shiny. But the flipside is the pace could still be insane and you were 20 deals deep and it was like drinking from a firehose. I think the ability to be around brilliant engineers while they go from ideation to implementation in something like 5 weeks was phenomenal. Another interesting difference... the makeup of the workforce here is older. Facebook, I think the average age was around 29 when I left.

      I think one thing that StubHub does well is really vet decision making. Like the pace of Facebook, that could be good or bad depending upon how many episodes of iteration there are, and how long the process takes. No decision is perfect, and you want to avoid decision paralysis or a cycle of constantly asking for more granular information when it won't really add any value. But seeing how thorough they are before making decisions is great, and not something seen as much as Facebook on the projects I worked on. That may also be due to the fact that Facebook was cool with spending oodles of money on experimental technology... luxury of having cash to spend.

  • CA

    Carlos Abad

    4 months ago #

    Hi . Thanks for doing this AMA.

    I work mentoring some startups and most of them are struggling to find a way to optimize the measurement of their marketing initiatives.
    What do you suggest they can start implementing to improve the measurement and effectiveness of the initiatives they have, to obtain more leads?

    Thanks in advance

    Carlos

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Carlos, thanks for asking!

      I think it depends on a lot of factors - what are you solving for? Customer acquisition or customer retention? Are you looking at share, or effectiveness of certain campaigns? Is there a seasonal component, etc?

      All of those would require different analytics and baselines. I think it's important to first ask "what are we solving for" and then you can determine what the best metric for success looks like. Example - if you currently have 800 customers, but you're looking to grow to 3,000 then you'd want to measure the effectiveness of customer acquisition instead of retention (all things being equal and your retention was strong). Does that make sense?

      • CA

        Carlos Abad

        4 months ago #

        Thank you for your answer.

        They aim right now is Customer acquisition, in a responsible path without sacrificing revenue.

        Regards

  • CC

    Chris Chan

    4 months ago #

    I'm looking for resources on how to build out solid BizOps and business development teams, while trying to differentiate how to set each up for success. To this end, I have the following mini-questions:

    1) Who should I hire first (the experienced but expensive Ops veteran or the less experienced, but more adaptable consultant)?

    2) What tools or books would you recommend?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi Chris.... great questions!

      1. I'd suggest go with the experienced hire, in this case. The reason I say that is it's incredibly hard to knock down and rebuild something once it's been put in place. It's easier, and more cost efficient to do it right the first time, and then build off of that. If you do it wrong, it will cost you more time and money on the backend to fix it. Considering those functions are highly intertwined into the overall success of your business, I wouldn't play around with those with someone that is learning on the job. That could be make or break.

      2. I *FIRMLY* believe in the value of people --> processes --> products... in that order. To that end, I would suggest "The Lean Startup" is an oldie but goodie, and "Running Lean" is also a good one. Because I think culture is the engine that powers everything else in your company, I'd suggest "The Culture Code" and "The Trust Factor."

      Hope that helps!

      3 Share
      • CC

        Chris Chan

        4 months ago #

        Thanks, Bari! Appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and advice with us!

  • RC

    Rasheen Carbin

    4 months ago #

    Do you find that pro sports teams have accepted the secondary market as a permanent part of the ticketing landscape and have stopped trying to thwart its growth?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      I think it's splintered... some have and some haven't. And it's really on a league by league basis, and within that, it's team by team. Like, the Yankees (MLB) embrace it, and the Warriors (NBA) hate it, but the 76ers (NBA) like it.

      I think they should accept it, though. As long as people have tickets and may or may not go, you'll run into this. There are more business opportunities for them (and partnership dollars) if they roll with it.

  • SL

    sherad Louis-Charles

    4 months ago #

    Thanks for doing this. Where can we find you? What are you looking to do next?

    • BW

      Bärí A. Williams

      4 months ago #

      Hi there!

      Where can you find me? All over the innerwebs... lol I write a good deal and I'll be speaking a couple places this summer. But you can find me on Twitter enjoying all things diversity, tech, legal, Raiders and Warriors @bariawilliams

      Ideally, one day I'd love to be COO. From my fingertips to the universe's ears... but I would love to do that and also consult on creating supplier diversity programs/dept. in companies, more writing, helping more diverse founders get funded, and how to maximize the diversity within an org and push for REAL inclusion. That's key. Without inclusion, companies are revolving doors.

      Thanks for asking this... you're going to force me to hold myself accountable.

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