Where Are They Now? - Q&A's With Notable Jenks Grads
Stephanie Worthy - Agency Partner at Facebook
When she arrived in New York City nearly 16 years ago, Jenks grad Stephanie Worthy (Class of ’97) was armed with little more than ambition and a drive to succeed. Today, Worthy is part of one of the tech industry’s most recognizable companies and one of the world’s most famous brands. As an Agency Partner for Facebook, she consults with clients and agencies to help grow businesses and maximize profits via social media platforms. Worthy, now a Brookyln resident and mother of two, shares her memories of Jenks and her career journey in the following Q&A.
What are your fondest memories of attending Jenks High School?
Worthy: I don’t know how anyone who went to Jenks can answer this question without mentioning Mary, the crossing guard. I remember her fondly for many reasons, but ultimately because she took her job so seriously. I respect her for that. I loved football games, the on-camera crew, going to see our theater productions, and if I’m being honest, I also really loved making mischief with my friends. When I think back to high school, I think mostly about my friendships and all the highs and lows we had together.
When you were growing up attending school in Jenks, what were some of your career dreams and aspirations?
Worthy: I honestly didn’t think a lot about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew I wanted independence and I wanted to be a self-sufficient person. I became interested in marketing and advertising because of the psychology behind it, but I wasn’t sure what that interest would translate into. I remember wanting to wear a suit, work in an office, and to be the “boss lady.” I thought that would mean I was successful, but my idea of success has completely changed over the years. I wear what I want to work, I am rarely in an office, and my definition of success is so much more broad.
What were some of the key steps in your career journey that led you from Jenks, Oklahoma to New York City as an employee of one of the largest, most recognizable tech companies in the world?
Worthy: I am naturally ambitious and have always hustled to find my place in the world. When I went to college, it was unexpectedly difficult for me. I was able to overcome those struggles and after graduation, I moved to New York with a month’s worth of cash and the idea that I’d make it work. I did. After the first job I landed after college, every new position I took was because someone I’d worked with before called me and asked me to consider a move. I have made a lot of calculated career moves, always tried to deliver way more than what was expected of me, and invested in learning another part of my industry. My professional network was built on the back of partnering well with people, being dependable, and holding a high expectation of integrity for myself and those around me. Early on, I put in the hours and took on as much work as I could. Over time, that was exhausting. So, I started to think about how to focus time on the most important work; the work that would make the most impact for my business.
As an Agency Partner for Facebook, how would you describe your role and daily responsibilities?
Worthy: I work with ad agency groups to figure out how they can use Facebook and Instagram to impact their client’s businesses. I also work with the agencies themselves to consult with them on how to think about ways they can evolve their businesses to be more profitable and move more quickly. Many times, my work centers on our ads products–ad strategy, ad effectiveness, etc–, but there are also times when I am working with agencies on talent acquisition and retention, building systems to make their work more efficient, or supporting new business units.
What are some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
Worthy: It’s fun to be able to be part of an industry that’s changing so fast. Mobile has changed the way people live, including how they interact with content and media. To get to be part of that change is a really rewarding part of my job. It’s challenging to change an industry, though. Facebook, Google, and others are asking a lot of the industry, encouraging them to re-think how they’ve done their job for the last 75 years.
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms have completely revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we connect, and even the way business is conducted around the world. What does it mean to you to play a small part in the success of those global brands?
Worthy: It’s what makes the job so interesting. I took the Facebook job when it was still kind of a mystery what happened there, and when marketers didn’t know how to work with the platform. I didn’t think I’d be there five years later, but it’s this big shift that keeps me so engaged.
With the technology and social media sectors constantly changing, how do you think Facebook has been able to adapt and stay ahead of the competition?
Worthy: Like many companies, we have a set of core values. Ours are Focus on Impact, Be Bold, Build Social Value, Move Fast, and Be Open. We are literally reviewed every six months on our ability to do these things, so these aren’t just signs around the office. They’re how we grade ourselves.
What are some of your favorite things about living in New York, and what, if anything, do you miss about living in Oklahoma?
Worthy: In New York, there are cultural microcosms that are fun to explore. There are people here from all over the world, and it’s interesting to see how we all blend. The food scene is incredible, and there is never a dull moment living in this city.
I wish I could have experienced the evolution of Tulsa. I rarely am back in the city, but from what I hear and read, there are some really cool things happening there. I think it would have been a fun ride to see that change and maybe even be a part of it.
Some things I do remember fondly are riding around with friends singing at the top of our lungs, Taco Bueno, field parties, football games, the Jenks/Union rivalry, and the house lights at Christmas.
What is next for you both personally, and professionally?
Worthy: I don’t have any plans to leave Facebook, but I am beginning to think about what my next career will be. I am thinking about what I want to be doing in 10 years so that I can start to create a plan for how to get there. It could be a big shift, or not. I do know that I want to have more ownership over how and when I work, so that I’m setting myself up for flexibility.
My husband Jack and I are likely staying put in Brooklyn until our boys graduate high school, but then we plan to move back to Austin. Until then, we’re soaking up all this city has to offer us and planning our next travel adventure.