To all of my female readers: I strongly encourage you to take an hour out of your day to watch Sheryl Sandberg’s recent keynote speech at the 2011 Grace Hopper conference. I watched it three days ago and I am still motivated and inspired by her message. Sandberg’s background is overwhelmingly impressive, with credentials as a Harvard MBA, McKinsey consultant, World Bank analyst, Chief of Staff for the Treasury Department under Clinton, GM at Google, and now COO at Facebook. Regardless if you are passionate about media or technology, you will want to hear what Sandberg has to offer!
“She offered five suggestions for women interested in advancing their careers, saying they should:
1. believe in themselves, see their successes clearly and donâ€™t underestimate their achievements â€“ no one ever achieved what they did not set out to do
2. dream big, be ambitious â€“ success is positively correlated with men, while the opposite is true with women; but with more women in power, this will change
3. choose a supportive partner â€“ this is the single most important decision a woman can make for her career, because women typically assume the additional responsibilities of raising a family
4. avoid making career decisions too early â€“ trying to plan life too carefully can close doors rather than keep them open
5. start talking â€“ itâ€™s important to acknowledge the challenges women face and communicate them openly, or change will never happen”
What do you think of this advice? Any you might change?
If you don’t have a free hour in the near future, watch her condensed 15-minute TED talk. There is some overlap, but she also tells some new stories which was nice for viewers like me who wanted to watch both. Specifically, she mentioned the story about Heidi Roizen, which resonated with me because I read her case last year in my Leading and Managing class. It goes like this:
Heidi is extremely successful at networking and leveraging her strengths, which she does to become a successful venture capitalist. Readers often found Heidi to be overly bold, arrogant and not someone they would want to work with/for. However, when the case writer changed the name “Heidi” to “Howard” readers spoke fondly of Howard and how driven and likeable he was. As Sandberg notes in her talks, success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. Why is this? Jealousy? What can we do to stop this detrimental mindset?