October 25th – San Francisco
Today I taped a Lean In Live interview with Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook headquarters. She gave me such a gift! It was a chance to join the conversation before passing along the baton to those coming after. The impact Sheryl has had is nothing short of stupendous. It’s about the 35,000+ Lean In Circles around the world (80,000 people in Beijing alone), but also about changing the cultural norms around women’s role at work and at home. And then there’s the Lean In-McKinsey Women in the Workplace research. Awesome.
So yes, I was nervous. Sheryl wore gorgeous over the knee boots that gave her an imperious look. She was in perfect makeup and hair. And then there was me. Imagine a garden gnome dressed in Issey Miyake and you’ve got it. Aging, chubby, twinkle in the eye, and delighted to be there.
Ten minutes after the interview there were 10,000 views, 800 likes, and 100 shares. Five hours later, we were at 46,000 views, 1,100 likes, and 180 shares. This was my personal lesson on the internet. Most viewers live thousands of miles away, but chose to come together in this way. They left hundreds of comments, some colorful and rude, but most, very kind and generous. A few were my friends (my actual friends), blended in with people who don’t know me. I’ve been to 21 countries, so maybe I’m wrong on that count. Sheryl is a rock star!
Perhaps the Clif energy shot upped my nervousness quotient. Surely. I was flying on dextrose and caffeine. That speeded up the flight of my thoughts into the air. I teared up thinking about my girls. I openly admired Sheryl and showered her with praise. I was gleeful when she thanked me for the book. And I botched my opening. Badly.
Gaby and Jetta, I really did write the book for you (and your wonderful friends). But I also wrote it for thousands of Millennials like you who grew up somewhere else in very different circumstances, who attended other schools, and who settled into very different industries and jobs. They’re as different from each other as any generation. Yes, most do want financial stability, some measure of recognition, advancement, and a good life (who doesn’t?). Most also want meaningful work, connections and mentorship, to be challenged at work, and to be heard.
250 Millennials took the time to be interviewed. Almost all allowed me to print their stories. So their collective voice is what I wished I had talked about. Man, how 10 minutes fly by. We packed it in! My brain went into overdrive as the questions bounced off it. Here’s one for you: what’s the one word that describes you? I said playful (thinking about those gnomes). Maybe I should have said, Tasmanian devil. Which I was today, most definitely.