Growing and Guiding a Social Media Platform to Becoming a Publicly Traded Company
Four years ago, Sheryl Sandberg was named chief operating officer for Facebook. This June, she was appointed as the only female member of the board of Facebook. As I wrote about before, she has also been in the press a lot for her thoughts on why there are too few women leaders, and what can be done about it.
From a review of her bio, Sandberg has been very strategic in her career, and has always continued to ‘lean forward’ in her roles. She graduated from Harvard both for her undergrad and MBA. She has worked at the World Bank as well as McKinsey, and was the chief of staff of former US Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers under President Clinton. Before her role at Facebook, she worked at Google as vice president for global online sales and operations.
Sandberg has a book coming out next March, title ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’. Sandberg writes that “I wrote ‘Lean In’ so women can make more informed choices and increase their chances of making it to the top of any field or pursue any goal with gusto. And I wrote it for men who want to understand the challenges women face so they can do their part to build an equal world”. I’m interested in more specifics, as well as the more general public response to the topics that will be raised.
Trying to Revive a Fading Internet Company
In July Google’s vice president of local search, Marissa Mayer, was named chief executive officer of Yahoo! Like Sandberg, she has an impressive background and current set of responsibilities, including employee #20 at Google, and serving on the Board of Directors at Walmart. She has been in the news a lot this past week as she gave birth to her first son (that she then was maybe crowdsourcing a name for?), and is the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to do so.
A letter to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer was written by entrepreneur Amanda Steinberg to address the challenges (and reactions/judgments) of others as Mayer is simultaneously starting her family and trying to right the ship at Yahoo!. In addition to several suggestions on how to handle the critique, Steinberg brings up what I think may be the most important point – companies also need to adjust to the blend of family and leadership.
These women are moms
While I don’t think either Sandberg or Mayer set out to be examples of powerful businesswomen (who are also mothers), that is a role they are now playing. When Sandberg shares that she leaves her office every day at 5:30 to have dinner with her kids (and makes up for it with late night work), and Mayer says that she will work throughout her maternity leave (and it causes an uproar), it leaves me with mixed emotions.
I’m happy and proud to see two women with the confidence and choice to do what they want for their families and careers. I’m frustrated that these are topics and issues because of the gender the leader happens to be.
What do you think? Is it fair to pass judgment on what Sandberg and Mayer are doing as women leaders?
Are these same things not an issue for a man who has a newborn or young kids at home? Can men use the same excuse for going home and ‘get away with it’?