Passion for Art a “Golden Thread” Through Beth HORN ’95’s Tech Industry Career

Beth HORN ’95’s career is as unique as her interests, perfectly threading her passion for music and the performing arts into roles where her sharp business mind and eye for innovative brand marketing shine. Working across an industry that’s known for rapid change, she’s seen her fair share of challenges and has helped her companies navigate them—thanks, in no small part, to the confidence and values instilled in her as an Ellis student.
Beth most recently spent 12 years at Meta, where she was Director and Head of Industry for Retail & Ecommerce, overseeing Meta's relationships with retail and ecommerce companies in the US and UK. Modern Retail named her one of the 25 Top UK Retail Industry Influencers for 2023, she was profiled by CIO Look magazine as one of the 10 Most Influential Leaders in RetailTech, and she has been nominated in the ‘Inspirational Role Model’ category of the 2024 Burberry British Diversity Awards.

Prior to Meta, Beth led global paid search for Expedia, Microsoft, and Intuit at Efficient Frontier, and she began her career in the creative department of She is a frequent speaker on marketing and the future of retail, having delivered keynotes at events across North America, Europe, and the Middle East, including a TEDx talk on youth, technology, and change. She served on the Advisory Board of Tech. by Retail Week in 2019, was a Board Director of The Fragrance Foundation UK from 2020-2023, and is currently a Non-Executive Director of NiX by Nicola Harding, a home goods startup. She sings with the Crouch End Festival Chorus, one of the UK's preeminent choirs, with performances at Royal Albert Hall, Ally Pally, the Barbican, and Wembley Arena.

Beth is an honours graduate of Stanford University. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she now lives in London with her golden retriever, Bridget. In November, she shared her perspectives about her career, reflected on her time at Ellis, and offered advice for today’s Ellis girls.

You work in the tech industry now, but you have a significant background in theater and music. Can you speak to how the arts have helped to shape your career, and the early lessons you learned that benefitted you later on? How has your love of music and theater continued to be part of your life and career?

The arts have been a golden thread throughout my life, from Ellis to now. I took voice classes and was in Glee Club at Ellis, and I had a life-changing experience as the lead in my senior musical. That led me to studying drama in college, after which I spent the next decade specifically pursuing the performing arts—acting in New York, founding and running a theatre company there, singing with choral groups in Maine and California. In my 30s, performing took more of a back seat while I moved to work in tech, though it still cropped up here and there. Much of my role at Facebook involved public speaking, and the training and experience I had from years onstage was instrumental to that work. It let me scratch the performance itch without having a script or score in my hand. In the past year, performing has come back to the forefront. I sing with the Crouch End Festival Chorus in London, which performs at places like Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena—and the first piece I performed with them, the Brahms German Requiem, I first learned in Glee Club at Ellis in 1993. I still knew it, word for word and note for note, thirty years later. And I’m about to start a new role at Spotify, which feels wonderfully full circle—music will be my job.

You had a long tenure at Facebook, and in those 12 years a lot changed—in the world at large, and in media and digital marketing. What were some of the most challenging moments in that work? What were the best lessons you learned during that time?

I joined Facebook in 2011, when we had just over 600 million users and just shy of 2,000 employees; when I left in 2023, we had 3 billion users and over 70,000 employees. The 12 years in between held a lot of growth, a lot of challenges, and a lot of learning, and the main skills that were needed in that time were resilience, flexibility, and focus. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the business would grow as quickly or as dramatically as it did; it happened because of hard work by dedicated people who cared.  

I worked on the advertising side, so the problems we worked on were around helping our clients to grow their businesses—building a world-class advertising and measurement program, evolving as consumer behaviors shifted, embracing new technologies, making sure that our products were fit for purpose for the industries we served, listening and taking criticism and feedback on board. For all of the challenges and concerns about social media, and there are very legitimate ones, I do take comfort in knowing the deep level of care and dedication I saw every day from my colleagues working on social issues, safety, and trust.

Facebook taught me the power and importance of having hard conversations, something that Sheryl Sandberg (an incredible woman to work for!) drilled into us and modeled for us. This ended up being a skill that was deeply useful not just in my career, but in my personal life. Facebook was also a deeply collaborative place to work. My colleagues had intellectual horsepower to make you marvel, and I had the gift of stretching myself every day—there wasn’t a handbook outlining every aspect of the job, we were building it as we went. I’m a naturally curious person who needs to be constantly learning, and that was a requirement of the job. It’s a big part of why I loved it so much, and stayed as long as I did.

As an Ellis student, what did you find most challenging? How did you handle it? What do you appreciate about that experience now as you look back?

I have long said that even though I double majored at Stanford and graduated with honors, that Ellis was harder. It was, and I mean that as the highest of compliments. Ellis pushed me, and allowed me to push myself. What I most appreciate about that is that I was given the chance to take the reins off and see how fast and far I could gallop. That let me think much more broadly about what shape and scope my life could have, and helped lead to the wonderful adventures and experiences I’ve had since graduating.  

What experiences did you most enjoy as an Ellis student? How did they influence you on either your personal or professional paths?

Ellis taught me how to be a lifelong learner, and to follow the things that make me curious and hungry to learn more. I could go on for hours about each of the phenomenal teachers I was so fortunate to study under, in just about every subject—but I’d be remiss if I didn’t specifically call out and thank Patricia Gray (music/voice/Glee Club) and Charles Altman (speech/drama). I was a pretty nerdy, bookish kid, and they helped to open me up to an entire world of artistic exploration and expression. The creativity they fostered has impacted how I work, how I problem solve, how I experience the world—and it’s connected me to a phenomenal chosen family of friends who have similar wiring and passions. Pat and Charles changed the shape of my life, and I can never, ever thank them enough.

What values did you learn at Ellis that have carried into your career or personal life?

My biggest takeaway from Ellis was a sense of ‘why not me?’—that nothing should hold me back from pursuing opportunities. Ellis gave me confidence in my own voice and in my right to have a seat at the table. Particularly when gender bias has come up in the workplace—because of course it has, I live in the world—that bedrock knowledge that my voice is of value has helped to see me through, to face hard conversations head-on, and to advocate for others. I don’t know that I would have taken the big leaps I have—founding and running a theater company in my 20s, starting a career in tech in my 30s, moving to the UK to build a life here in my 40s—without the confidence in the worthiness of my own journey that Ellis helped me develop.

What advice or encouragement would you like to share with current Ellis students?

You’re at such a special school, one with the ability to provide you opportunity and focus alongside coaching and personal attention. Use the time to cultivate who you are, what makes you unique, makes you tick, makes you curious, makes you think. What makes you different makes you special, and embracing your specific voice leads to a rich and adventurous life. Enjoy it!