From Fear To Facebook: Meet Jay Hammonds

 VIP Ops @ Facebook - IT @ Instagram - Advisor @ Hack The Hood - Ambassador/Alum @ Year Up
VIP Ops @ Facebook - IT @ Instagram - Advisor @ Hack The Hood - Ambassador/Alum @ Year Up

How can a single opportunity change a life? Jay Hammonds' story is a prime example of how one chance can sway a life path and in this case, help and inspire so many others.

Jay Hammonds grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. His unconventional childhood was marked by a mother suffering from drug addiction, and an absent father. At the age of four, after being abandoned by his parents, he was adopted by a family friend. Despite these obstacles in his early life, Hammonds remained focused, and upon graduating high school, began attending Oakwood University, an HBCU. However, just a year later, financial hardships led him to take a hiatus from his formal education. By a stroke of luck, he discovered Year Up, a national internship-placement program empowering urban young adults to reach their potential, and immediately applied. Through Year Up, Jay earned an internship at Facebook where he is still working today, 6 years later.

Starting as a IT specialist intern Jay's drive, passion and competence have led him to fulfill many crucial roles within Facebook. After working as the IT lead at Instagram (owned by Facebook) for 4 years, he now serves on the VIP Operations team at Facebook, responsible for Technical Project Management for the CEO and COO. Jay's heavy involvement with the world's most significant social networks have led him to be recognized across several platforms, including CBS’ 60 Minutes.

If you ask Jay what he is most grateful for, he’ll tell you it's that he now has a platform from which he can fulfill his true passion - giving back to the community. He is dedicated to helping people who are eager for personal advancement, but may not have the opportunities necessary to succeed. One way in which he does this is his continued involvement with Year Up as an ambassador and curriculum expert. He is also the liaison between Year Up and Facebook, working with around 150 interns form every intern class. Jay prides himself on his efforts to mentor these youth on a professional level, as well as a personal level, by way of regular 1:1 meetings. Jay also serves as a board member for Hack the Hood, an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for small businesses in their own communities. Furthermore, he is an advisor for LeadersUp, a nonprofit talent development intermediary that was founded with the belief that a network of employers intentionally cultivating, recruiting and retaining young adults can significantly impact the youth unemployment and opportunity-divide challenge.

Aside from his technology aptitude that allows him to excel in his work for Facebook and Instagram, Jay continues to work tirelessly with several nonprofits in his area. He is on a mission to help spread opportunity to individuals in need, and help them maximize their skills, as he once did. Now 25, Jay's unquenchable thirst for knowledge still drives him every day, as it did 6 years ago when he embarked on his career journey. One opportunity can change a life, and Jay is looking to change as many lives as he can.

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