With the upcoming release of Ingredients of Outliers: Women Game Changers, we are continuing the theme of honoring outstanding women!
Sheryl Sandberg might not be a name you recognize, however I am sure you will all recognize the company she works for. Sandberg is the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Facebook. Sandberg was the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board. Prior to Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google (isn’t that a mouthful!). This is an especially meaningful accomplishment since Sandberg is an active advocate for womens’ equality in the work place.
In 2010 Sandberg was invited to speak at TEDWomen, her talk is titled “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders”. Sandberg opens with a few striking statistics that I’d like to highlight for you:
- Out of 190 heads of state — nine are women.
- Of all the people in government in the world, 13 percent are women.
- In the corporate sector, women at the top, C-level jobs, board seats — tops out at 15-16 percent.
“The numbers have not moved since 2002 and are going in the wrong direction” Says Sandberg. To be honest, these statistics shocked me. Sandberg tells one story that is a bit funny while also being a bit unbelievable. She was pitching a deal in a New York office and during a break, she asked one of the partners where the bathroom was, and to her amazement he looked a bit perplexed by her question, which is when she realized he didn’t know where the women’s bathroom was. Sandberg says to him “Are you telling me that I am the only woman to have pitched a deal in this office in a year?” and he responded, “Yeah. Or maybe you’re the only one who had to go to the bathroom.”
Sandberg works in a world that is dominated by men. In her talk Sandberg leaves the audience with 3 pieces of advice. You will want to have a listen to get more insight:
- One, sit at the table.
- Two, make your partner a real partner.
- Three, don’t leave before you leave.
Sandberg encourages women to believe in their abilities, to sit at the table and reach for more opportunities.
Sandberg has written books titled Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, published March 2010, and Lean In for Graduates, published April 2014. Lean In is focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what they can’t do to what they can do. Her books have sparked a movement called Lean In Circles, small groups that meet monthly to encourage and support each other in an atmosphere of confidentiality and trust.
Sandberg is truly what we would consider an outlier, her influence and drive to encourage not only women but also men to continuously challenge themselves and create a world of equality. Sandberg drives her point home by saying “I want my son to have a choice to contribute fully in the workforce or at home, and I want my daughter to have the choice to not just succeed, but to be liked for her accomplishments.”