Melissa Oppenheim Lano stands outside on a neighborhood street, smiling at the camera. She has long black hair and is wearing a black turtleneck.

Melissa Oppenheim Lano: Creative Shop Lead, Facebook Inc.

The #SheInnovates stories team sat down with Melissa Oppenheim Lano to discuss the role of women in innovation. Get involved at She Innovates Global.

#SheInnovates Stories: Innovation is solving the world's problems. What problem are you solving?

Melissa Oppenheim Lano: One problem I am passionate about solving is encouraging people to share their creative ideas with the world; in order to better our communities, build empathy, and contribute to culture. It takes a lot of bravery to share a concept or a piece of work with someone else,­ let alone a larger community of people. However, sharing is how connections are made, productions are created, and businesses are built. At Facebook, I’ve led the creation of a new initiative: Curated by Facebook. It focuses on shining a light on prolific creators who are boldly putting their work out into the world. These stories represent the exciting potential of sharing a creative idea with others, and elevating new and diverse voices.

#SheInnovates: When did you realize your innovation was a breakthrough?

MOL: I realized this idea was starting to work when Curated started receiving requests from creators around the world, wanting to be featured on our platform. We started this initiative just over 9 months ago, and since then we have been able to profile and partner with some of the world’s most incredible and diverse talent.

#SheInnovates: What were some unexpected obstacles you overcame in the innovation process?

MOL: This initiative started out as just a kernel of a concept. From there, nearly every day presented itself with a myriad of different kinds of obstacles, from feasibility to execution. However, this is what also drives my team and fuels our creative brainstorming and problem solving. If there were no obstacles to solve, this initiative wouldn’t feel nearly as rewarding.

#SheInnovates: What inspires you to love your work?

MOL: I love my work because I’m able to work with creatives of all kinds from around the globe to look at how technology is influencing craft, and how different communities are formed and come together around great ideas.

#SheInnovates: What do you hope that young women coming behind you take from your work?

MOL: I want women to feel confident and empowered to lead multifaceted, creative, and strategic teams with their vision.

#SheInnovates: Why are women in innovation important?

MOL: Women are critical in innovation because we bring a different toolbox and unique perspective to the table.

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Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.