Saturday, November 11, 2017

Facebook Community Leaders Event with Sheryl Sandberg in Singapore

It's like a lifetime experience for me that I was invited to attend this event: Facebook Community Leaders Event. And there, I got to meet other community leaders from Asia Pacific and ... SHERYL SANDBERG! 

Sheryl Sandberg! Gosh I'm still amazed that I was on one frame with the COO of Facebook. I'm overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude. So let me just share about this whole event, even though I've shared a couple of things on my Instagram.

How it began

I got reached for the very first time by Facebook in late September 2017. They said that Facebook thinks I've been making positive impacts by using Facebook group with Rumah Ramah Rubella. They wanted to know about how I've been using the Facebook group, how people have been helped by the group, how we've been interacting thru that platform, some successful stories, etc.

The first step was just interview by chat. Then I was scheduled to have an interview thru video call with Facebook Team from Singapore. The video call was in the morning. At noon, I got another news that the Singapore Facebook Team wanted to chitchat with me in person, in Jakarta. So I flew to Jakarta in the second week of October. The interview took place in Facebook office.

Singapore, I'm coming!

I got another one more interview thru video call with Facebook Team US. Then, long story short, they told me that I was chosen for the final event, which happened in Singapore. That alone has made me very glad and excited. I didn't know that Sheryl Sandberg would also attend that time.

First activity in Singapore was making a video for each of the community leaders. It's the Facebook Team from Menlo Park US who was in charge. It's like an interview, but recorded. They had these sophisticated tools, I was so amazed. LOL. This guy who did the interview, Ali, is a really nice guy. He could create such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere so that it didn't feel like an interview at all. I think I did pretty great. Hehehe.

Second activity was having dinner together with other Facebook community leaders and some Facebook team from Singapore and US. The restaurant, RISE in Marina Bay Sands Hotel, was superb! They got various foods and beverages. Seafood, sushi, naan, creme brulee, gelatto, you name it. 

There in the dinner, we were informed that Sheryl Sandberg would attend. So it was by then we knew that we would meet an inspiring lady executive from Facebook. We went like, "Wow, really? Oh my God. Sheryl, really?" Everyone became more and more excited.

Final event!

It was in November 8, 2017. We gathered in the hotel lobby at 9.30 AM. Then we walked together to the meeting room. The room was perfect. The chairs were arranged nicely. We each had a nameplate with our name and our community. It really helped me remembering others' names, since I suck at remembering people's names. LOL.

They also prepared delicious snack and lunch. The juice really grabbed my attention. It's so handy yet cute!

The snacks were satisfying!

The first session was getting around knowing each other (also the Facebook Team). It was casual talks while we had our snacks. 

And, tadaaa, Sheryl Sandberg showed up. We were struck in awe!!!! Then we were called to sit and begin to introduce ourselves and our community. That was in the second session.

What amazed me from Sheryl is how she seems so bold and powerful, but still so humble. She paid attention closely and was all ears when each of us spoke. She gave remarks after we introduced ourselves. It felt so personal.

Then of course photo session with Sheryl! 

There were some press there. I got interviewed by The Straits Times Singapore. 

The third session was giving feedbacks to Facebook Team on how they should improve Facebook and what features that we think significant to add. Facebook Team in charge was Vaughn Hester. She's the Facebook Product Executive from US. She took notes of every single thing we suggested. It's so heartwarming knowing that our opinions and suggestions matter for Facebook. Really.

And let me introduce you to other Facebook Community Leaders from Asia Pacific.

💞 Jacqueline Loh from Aidha that supports and educates domestic workers in Singapore.

💞 Suzanna Yuzon from Miss Possibilities that creates pageant for kids with special needs aiming to celebrate and embrace their conditions.

💞 Rakhee Chhabria from Teachers Help Teachers that provides and shares teaching materials and tips.

💞 Asma Nadia from Aku Bisa Menulis, well you certainly know her, right.

💞 Natwut Amornvivat and Cholatip Yimyong from Help Us Read that enables blind members to upload photos and then their volunteers would interpret the pictures. 

💞 Chatchai Aphibanpoonpon from Run2Gether that holds running events for people with disabilities accompanied by volunteers.

💞 Simran Oberoi Multani from Ovenderful Mom Bakers that shares healthy ingredients for baking then bakes to share to less unfortunate persons.

Meeting all of them gave just the perfect booster and motivation I need to continue my journey with Rumah Ramah Rubella.

Excited is an understatement, because it feels beyond excitement. Something I'd keep for a very very long time.

Let me end this post quoting what Sheryl Sandberg said.
Facebook aims to give people a voice.

So let's use our voice and speak up for a good cause!

When I thought that I couldn't be happier, I got an email from Sheryl Sandberg!


Thank you for all your support all along. I wasn't there because I'm the strongest special needs mom. I fall so many times, but then I get back up again and fight. And I wouldn't be able to do that if I don't have so many kindhearted friends supporting me. So thank you!



  1. Congratulations mami ubii, love how to see your community getting bigger and impact others with positive vibes

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  3. Gesi. Proud of you. You deserve it. Me and Icha talk about you when you are making video and we say “ Gesi wow Gesi Wow” again and again. And when i look at you walking out from the interview room, i really really blessed that i know you, not just as Grace Melia but as Gesi. I love you

  4. Ouh.. I was speechless when read Sheryl's email. So touched. And yes, proud of you, Mbak Gesi.. you're very inspiring many people.

  5. Aku bacanya mewek. Bangga sama kamu Gesi

  6. You are so cute ^^

    Thank you so much dear. After reading this article, i am thinking of a plan. Stop writing negative status(es) at fb. It's better to share any knowledge, experiences, etc.

  7. Congrats ya Gesi... Proud of you.Tetap semangat ya...😄

  8. Congrats, Mbak Gesi. :D Aku nggak begitu bisa ngomong Bahasa Inggris, tapi paham kalau ada orang bilang. :'D Dan, aku setuju banget, Mbak. Menulis status negatif, hanya akan memperburuk nama penulisnya. Sebisa mungkin, aku juga harus menghindari.

  9. Very amazing, Mbak. :D That's all true

  10. Wow! So proud of you, Gesi.
    Teruslah semangat dan selalu menginspirasi.
    God bless you, always.

  11. WOW MAMI UBI!!!!! you are so awesome! Kece banget lah. Thanks for sharing ya

  12. Gesiiii, aku merinding bacanya
    BANGGA HARU BAHAGIA campur aduk jadi satu

  13. Di akhir tulisan mbak Gesi, pas baca email dari Sheryl aku nangis mosooo.... Keren banget mama ubi... sehat-sehat an banyak rejeki yah...

  14. Mami Ubii kan diundang ke event ini oleh Facebook karena grup Rumah Ramah Rubella ya?
    Lalu apa manfaatnya event ini untuk Rumah Ramah Rubella? Saya baca postingannya sampai habis tapi ngga nemu apapun.
    Bukannya saya menuduh Mami Ubii hanya menggunakan Rumah Ramah Rubella sebagai "kendaraan" untuk kepentingan pribadi, tapi menurut saya perlu juga diceritakan: apa dampak positif event ini (bila ada) bagi Rumah Ramah Rubella.
    Terima kasih

    1. Hai Mba/Mas. Manfaat event ini sebetulnya lebih besar untuk pihak Facebook, ketimbang untuk komunitas-komunitas yang diundang kok memang. Di sana kami memang memberi banyak masukan untuk Facebook, tujuan mereka mengundang karena ingin mendapat feedback apa-apa saja fitur yang perlu diimprove dalam Facebook, and feedbacks are important. Dari kami sendiri, kami bisa langsung 'minta' banyak sekali fitur yang kami butuhkan dalam FB group yang selama ini dipakai untuk berkomunikasi karena memang banyak fitur yang kami rasa kurang memfasilitasi.

      Sebenernya sudah aku singgung sedikit di bagian ini, tentang key agenda event tersebut:


      The third session was giving feedbacks to Facebook Team on how they should improve Facebook and what features that we think significant to add. Facebook Team in charge was Vaughn Hester. She's the Facebook Product Executive from US. She took notes of every single thing we suggested. It's so heartwarming knowing that our opinions and suggestions matter for Facebook. Really.


      Memang tidak di-elaborate aku mengusulkan fitur apa saja dan Facebook menjanjikan akan ada fitur baru apa saja, karena aku nggak tahu apakah itu sudah boleh dishare ke publik. Begitu :)

  15. Congrats ya Mami Ubi, aku nunggu cerita ini.. sukses terus yaa mbaaa. Ikut seneng baca emailnya ��

  16. Congrats mami ubi, menginspirasi kita :)

  17. Beruntung sekali, selamat ya mba...

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Thank you for giving your comments. Means A LOT to me. If you ask me a question in this comment section, but need answer ASAP, please poke me on my Instagram @grace.melia ^^