Sheryl Sandberg: This Is The Most ‘Gratifying’ Thing I’ve Ever Done

Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook Business Insider/Julie Bort screenshot

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg took the stage Wednesday night to discuss the influence she’s had on gender inequality by writing her book ”
Lean In.”
She was talking with CEO Marc Benioff at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

Sandberg told a lot of encouraging stories about women — and men — whose lives were changed by the book and by joining something called a “Lean In circle.” A Lean In circle is group of people who support each other in their careers.

For instance, she talked about Sara Kurovski. When Sandberg met Kurovski she asked, “What would you if you weren’t afraid?”

Kurovski said, “I would run for Mayor.” And she did. Earlier this month Kurovski won, becoming the first woman mayor of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, and at age 29.

But of all the stories of women leaning into their careers and fighting bias, one is the most “gratifying,” Sandberg said.

A few months ago, she attended a Lean In circle in Minneapolis on an Air Force base with women who are officers in the Air Force and Navy.

“These are women who are risking their lives doing the same job standing next to men,” Sandberg said.

While the women get equal pay, “they don’t get the same respect. They are subtly and not so subtly harassed,” she said.

So they created a Lean In circle on their base and expanded it online, opened it to woman all over the country. They told Sandberg it is making a big difference, because they now have a support group, “rather than being the only woman” in their units.

“When I think about having even the smallest impact on making their lives easier, that’s incredibly gratifying because boy, do those women deserve it,” Sandberg said.