Confidence Woman

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg is on a mission to change the balance of power. Why she just might pull it off

  • Share
  • Read Later
Peter Bohler for TIME

Strategy meeting Sandberg with LeanIn.org team members

How She Does It

Among the myths that circle around Sandberg is that she leaves the office at 5:30 p.m. Actually, that is true. But after putting in some time with her family, she returns to work with a vengeance. She’s one of those work-hard, play-hardly-ever types. She usually goes to parties only to work the room or if she’s holding a gathering of women at her home. She and her husband Dave Goldberg try never to schedule dinners on the same night. If that does happen, she often calls on her sister. “She lives a mile away, and the answer is always yes,” Sandberg says.

On their first outing, years before they started dating, Sandberg fell asleep on Goldberg’s shoulder during a movie. “I was smitten, but I found out later she does this to everyone,” he says. Her favorite film is 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption. The last time she picked a movie for a group of friends, she chose Fame. As punishment, the group made her sit through the whole film. And not sleep.

In many ways her domestic life is very traditional. The family plays a lot of games; Zuckerberg recently taught them the Settlers of Catan. Her kids already get their own breakfasts and make their own school lunches (with help). Sandberg says studies that show working moms of today are as engaged with their kids as traditional moms of yore “make me feel so good, so much better.” She declines to answer questions about her domestic help, saying it’s not a question you would ask a man, then declines my offer to ask Goldberg the same question.

Chapter 8 of Lean In claims that one of the most important career choices a woman makes is whom to marry. She and Goldberg, who’s as laid-back and genial as Sandberg is intense and energetic, dated after several years of friendship, during which time Sandberg was briefly married. Four years ago Goldberg left a big job at Yahoo so the family could be together in Northern California. He took over SurveyMonkey, which at the time had 14 employees. “That was hard,” he says. “But what Sheryl has been supergreat about is that there may be a time when we’re going to move someplace for my career.”

(MORE: Readers Respond: How to Get Ahead at Work)

The job change hasn’t held Goldberg back. SurveyMonkey now has a staff of 200 and 14 million users, and he just completed a recapitalization of the company that values it at $1.35 billion.

Sandberg urges women to negotiate shared household duties with their spouses early and often. “We have areas of responsibility. I do travel. I do anything electronic, computers, cars,” says Goldberg. “I do photos and videos. We share the child care 50-50. Although it’s not like we keep score.” And he does the finances. Since Facebook went public, his wife has cashed out about $90 million worth of shares, according to a schedule that was set before the IPO, and she still has almost 18 million shares left. But she demurs when asked how much she’s worth, claiming that that’s Goldberg’s area. “He manages our money,” she says. “I have essentially no interest.”

There is always chatter, especially among Californians, that Sandberg, who’s a big Democratic fundraiser, will return to the public sector. She has the contacts and skill set. “I really loved being in the government,” Sandberg says. “I won’t rule out that I would ever want to go in again, but not run for office. But, not now. It’s not the right time for my family.” According to her father Joel, public policy was always her first love, but he’s not sure she isn’t there already. “Turns out that she probably has a better platform for doing it this way,” he says.

Sandberg doesn’t act as if she wants to leave her current job, even though it’s almost impossible for her to become CEO. “Ironically, having written a book about women and leadership, having, like, the top leadership role is not the most important thing to me,” she says. “I could have done that on the way out of Google. I had those offers.”

It may be that solving the problem of fade-out in women’s potential is enough of a mission for Sandberg, at least for now. It has proved to be a significant challenge for many of the corporations and governments that have tried to address it. But it’s possible that in amassing circles of women and giving them simple empowering tools, she’s putting the infrastructure and players in place for a much more ambitious trophy than a seat in the corporate boardroom. Getting women to the highest echelons of business might be her idea of getting them to the starting line. After the women get the power, well, then she can really let loose.

MORE: TIME’s Complete Coverage on Sheryl Sandberg

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. Next
151 comments
Howardpaker
Howardpaker


Thanks to dr.marnish@yahoo.com for his wonderful work, My girlfriend left a week before our vacation to be with another man. I was desperate to get her back when I found dr.marnish. I tried 5 other people to do a spell to get her back and nothing worked. I was still alone. Then I found dr.marnish by accident. I don’t know how I found him, I don’t remember. But, when I first saw the good testimonies about his wonderful work and after reading the Testimonies, I decided I had to try and give it one last shot. After my spells, I got a text from my lover. And we started going back and forth by text, she asked to meet the next day. So we did, and that night we ended up sleeping together, and about a few days after we got back together. anyone who needs help, should email dr.marnish. He is the best.
Howard packer

CathyOlsen
CathyOlsen

Love this article, it is spot on. I don't understand the whole "easy for her to say with a supportive husband and loads of money"- how do you think she got that?? By LEANING IN! She didn't accept a substandard husband- and she didn't wimp out of career or family achievements. (If you can say 'achievements' when it comes to family). I think too often the issues that the 70's feminists highlighted  (unequal treatment of women in society) has turned into a stagnation- "poor us, what can we do, look how they treat us!". What do you do about it? You have to speak out for what is fair, not accept unequal treatment (even from yourself), recognise your own internalization of unequal standards, and not accept substandard conditions. Too often I hear women who are married, complain to their friends about their husband's lack of help around the house, or how unfair it is that they give up their working lives in sacrifice for a family. Not fair! They should be doing something about it instead of accepting this unfairness and giving up! (I say 'they', but this is what I did too!). Good on your Sheryl Sandberg, and you know, I hope you do run for office!

bdoppes
bdoppes

and furthermore -  - some men do make it 'on their own' - women need HELP  to 'make it' - either with a responsive support system being in that of a mother, father or sibling - or a very 'cooperative' spouse who does nothing without you and you without him  - to be missing any of these support systems - -  you start to  'improvise' the best way you know how to and when you finally realize that most of your family is gone or just does not give a 'hoot' or is smart enough to acknowledge and help and your husband is a self-obsessed man or self-serving geek of sorts -  - you no longer have the 'luxury' to continue to 'profit' - buy appropriate clothing - have time to go to functions and meetings and trips - leaving children in 'good hands' or spend hours and hours on 'hobbies' like gardening and book writing ~ et al et al ~ none of that happens to any WOMAN without true continuous support and inspiration and that my friends - is the way MOST of the women in today's world live!

RobertF
RobertF

Is it so bad fewer women are CEOs in the business world? Perhaps women simply prefer more interesting, creative jobs in science or the liberal arts.

Jean_Grow
Jean_Grow

Belinda Luscombe got it right, with the kind a detail the teacher in me lusts for. “Sandberg is embarking on the most ambitious mission to reboot feminism,” as Luscombe says. Good for her and the rest of us. The fact that Sandberg took “too long” to realize she was a feminist, as Emma Brockes of The Guardian states, is reality. I see the same hesitation to embrace feminism in my students. And it is for exactly the same reason Sandberg took her time, because they think equity already exists. Unfortunately, they are wrong. We need to give everyone who wishes, men and women - including Sandberg, the time it takes to find feminism. 

Contrary to many, I do not think Sandberg blames women or “sells guilt.” Nor does she demonize men. In this way she exemplifies what it means to be a feminist. It is true she never has (and doubtfully ever will) experienced what many women, including myself, have had to struggle through. However, that does not negate truths, including how women sabotage themselves. I see this everyday in my students. Rather, she is giving voice to a long needed debate about the unspoken problems that are crippling women in societies across the world. This does not mean every woman will seek the top. Nor does it mean, nor does she imply, that it is easy or for everyone. But it does mean more of us should find the courage to do so, because in doing so we help all women.

I teach and conduct research about the lack of women in advertising creative. On average there are a dismal 15% of women creating the advertising images that we see across the globe, which explains a lot. Further, my students, as well as those of my colleagues, are in large part women (70-80% depending upon the study). This matters greatly – and not just in advertising creative. 

We need to have this dialogue for the sake of the young women and men I teach as well as for the non-college youth I serve as a volunteer. These young people desire equitable educational and employment opportunities and have a passion to give back. Yet, when all too many of them enter the world of work, especially women, they suffocate – constrained by narrow thinking and outdated rules.

It is time to have this discussion out LOUD. Big and bold. It’s time for each of us to speak our individual truths. It’s time for each of us to listen to the individual truths of others. It’s time to make room for everyone, some leaning in and some leaning out. Thanks for keeping this big, bold dialogue going, Belinda!

LauHiengHiong
LauHiengHiong

In recent decades in many countries, much more women than men graduated from university, particularly in fields like literature, education and social sciences. However, like the general American situation, the academic dominance by women has not correspondingly translated into political or career success in relevant domains. In Asian regions at least, cultural expectations for women are much more prominent, persistent and decisive than the American counterpart.

According to centuries-long traditions, women are supposed to function as a ‘background heroine’, assisting their husbands or children to move forward at whatever level in whatever careers. With very few exceptions, this is a typical mindset of most Asian women, poor or rich, illiterate or professional. Under such circumstances, a typical female professional or academic has comparatively less incentive for a senior administrative position, regardless of numerous superior qualities demonstrated – smart, capable, articulate, confident, and ambitious. Any tradition may change course, but it inevitably takes time.

Lau Hieng-Hiong, Hsinchu, TAIWAN

steven.mgarrison
steven.mgarrison

Thumbs up to Belinda Luscombe. She did a great job with this story.

krazykitty
krazykitty

%s That he's honest, not corrupt. He's good people, basically. %s

WilliamBergmann
WilliamBergmann

My prediction is that within 20 years women will have reached true equality in America. There will be equal pay for equal work, half of the executive positions will be women, and half the Nobel winners will be women. 

Men have had there chance at running things and have done a pretty crummy job of it. Women should at least get an equal chance to screw it up.

 

pamela_aceves
pamela_aceves

%s %s %s Muy recomendable Gaby! Gracias por compartir! :D

livetoskiutah
livetoskiutah

I believe Sheryl Sandberg brings up a very valuable point.  Women are rated with a different measuring stick than men.  Just look at what is happening to Marissa Mayer at Yahoo for her decision to stop the Work at Home policy.  Many say if Melissa was a man there would be no uproar.  It is most important that we treat all people as just that- people.  If they are qualified for the job it should not matter if they are a man or a woman.

In the women's fight for equal rights I think we women need to remember one thing- all women are fighting the same fight.  We need to cooperate with each other and not pit ourselves against each other.  As a leader in the workplace I have seen woman in leadership cut other women down for fear of the competition.  We need to recognize this behavior not only hurts the one woman we climb over but the model of all women as rational thinkers and producers.

downeygirl2
downeygirl2

Sheryl Sandberg has nothing new to contribute to feminism.  It's the same, tired old whine - "why can't a woman be more like a man?"   There are not more women in powerful positions because the skills needed to get them there -  aggression, ego, and the willingness to exploit other's weaknesses and vulnerabilities - are not typically in our tool set, and many of us have no desire to acquire them.  Sheryl Sandberg is an exception, as this article demonstrates.  She uses her "high E.Q." to exploit personal information to gain advantage in a sale.  She cunningly manipulates her employees to garner adulation (the two employees who bragged that they were both the first to introduce her children to a farm).  She didn't advocate for special workplace accommodations for pregnant women until she herself needed them.  I came away from this article with a negative opinion of her, not just as a feminist, but as a person

Feminism will truly evolve when we reject the Sheryl Sanbergs and the patriarchal power structure they try to claw their way into,  and rewrite the rules to better suit a women's world.  A world where cooperation, fairness, generosity and humanity trump ego, ruthlessness and aggression.  It is time that women not be required to adapt to a man's world to get a seat at the table - it's time to shake things up, girl-style.  Sheryl Sandberg is not our role model.

TeriStoddard
TeriStoddard

Sheryl Sandberg has completely missed the point - not everyone is made to be an executive. I think it's great to encourage and empower people to succeed. But NOT just one gender. And NOT in just one way. To some (women and men) success is owning a small at-home business. To some (women and men) success is being employed part-time, or full-time at a small business near their home. To some (women and men) success is being a stay-at-home parent/spouse. I say, "Listen to your heart. If YOU want to be an executive, THEN listen to Sheryl Sandberg."

glamavon
glamavon

Yesterday evening, I read the cover article on Sheryl Sandberg and found it quite interesting.  If you take away all the criticism surrounding Ms. Sandberg such as "sure she can say whatever she wants because she has help and a supportive husband,"  what she is actually saying is that women have put up too many internal roadblocks for too long.  By that I mean, from the time women are little, they've been socialized as wives and nurturers.  In school, girls are told "don't show off how smart you are, you'll make the boys feel bad."  As women in the work place, they are the ones expected to either have it all or give it all up for marriage and family.  Odd, no asks the man to do the same, this is what gender equality at work looks like?  The polarities of having it all or giving it all up looms so large that there seems to be no room for in-between.  The in-between is where we find women like Sheryl Sandberg who have learned or are learning to exist.  There is no one solution rather, that in-between space is flexible that allows for multiple solutions based on the situation.  I personally see nothing wrong with women actively pursuing their career as long as it's fulfilling and sustainable.  I believe what Ms. Sandberg is trying to do is redefine the work/life balance that men and women face everyday.

j.tom.osterman
j.tom.osterman

What is unfortunate is that there was even a need for the Betty Friedens, Gloria Steinems and Sheryl Sandbergs.  This situation that exists today should have been resolved centuries ago or at the very least many years ago.  The problem doesn't rest with women primarily; it rests with men.   

If men over the centuries really understood women and rendered to them the equal footing they deserved, it is likely most of the wars that men have engaged in would never have happened.  While we had in this country, our Dolly Madisons, Martha Washingtons, and Abigail Adams at the beginning, had they had a larger role we would never have had the run up to the Civil War, nor eventually would we have gone to war in Vietnam, or the gulf wars.  And as far as the present day congress, do you think if the House or Senate had equal representation of women that we would have gridlock.  

The best thing that women can do for the men today is advise them to shed their egos, cut out the macho stuff and get real about women's capabilities and their critical thinking. 

LuxuryPRGal
LuxuryPRGal

Don't hate her because she's successful: An interview with %s of %s %sb%seed v%sIME

DoloresMercado
DoloresMercado

I agree with BlackRock... and I am a woman.. not every woman figts to be a CEO maybe women evecuties are happy to the level they have reached...  I  agree that there might be companies/men who dont like sharing power with women..

Swapnadhond
Swapnadhond

I appreciate what Sandberg is trying to do. But a lot of us don't own over $90 million in Facebook stock. We don't make millions of dollars to hire all sorts of help to cook, clean and look after our kids. Although Sheryl has declined to comment on whether she has domestic help, she must know that she is an exception, not the rule. 

At some point all families do the math- is there a greater financial pay off to staying at home vs. going to work? It is not always possible for everyone to leave at 5:30 pm without feeling alienated by co-workers and being passed up for promotions etc. just because we want to tend to the need of our families. A lot of companies have great policies in place, but they are always left to the discretion of the manager to manage the needs of the department. Do you think I should need approval of my manager to take my child to the pediatrician or a recital or a play? Yes, I can delegate it to a nanny and such but would that give you the same satisfaction? Is leaving my child in day care or with a stranger for 10-12 hours a day the best thing for my child? These are all individual decisions. 

For a lot of women, it is completely gratifying to stay home and raise families.  Not everyone needs to go to work at a corporation to feel that they are equal or superior to men. We all have our own place an roles in our families and societies. While it would be great to see more women as law makers and CEO's , Sheryl Sandberg you must remember "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". 

squintar
squintar

@Jastrow75 merci ! Pas par hasard que ça ressemble à l'Allemand Mensch, sauf que ça a bien plus de sens ;)

CelesteOJ
CelesteOJ

@DTakruri me too my little Didi! I had a paint au chocolat this morning and I thought of you!

Jastrow75
Jastrow75

@squintar je remercie la série The Nanny pour l'acquisition de yiddishismes :)

squintar
squintar

@Jastrow75 \o\/ et moi je ne peux que accuser ma non connaissance des séries pour expliquer mon inculture ;)