Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Every 20-Something Year Old Girl Needs To Read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In

This post is the inauguration of my blog's return (hooray!) and as the first post of 2013, I feel that it is incredibly fitting to talk about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book Lean In. Sandberg's memoir-slash-life advice book is about fostering environments for female leaders and driving all women to achieve their dreams. Sounds soft, fluffy and a drag doesn't it? I literally finished the book in one reading (avoiding meals), which is hugely momentous because I can't remember the last book I read to the end.

Every word of Lean In is relevant to my life (okay maybe not the pregnancy parts but it will be someday). I felt like a 20-something year old Sheryl Sandberg and what she writes is what I feel and what she says is what I need to hear. It's hard for me to explain the urgency of reading Sandberg's book without sounding like a bandwagon feminist but I'm being honest when I say this is probably the most important book I'll read of my career.

My life both professionally and personally has propelled forward in the last 6 months, requiring me to make a mass of decisions--what I recently realized is called growing up--and a big part of growing up means realizing your dreams, especially the dream to lead. Ten years ago, my dream was to create kick ass advertising campaigns that ended up in advertising annuals and won awards. And I'm here, doing that (the awards part is coming). The question is what's next? What's next for me is to do what so many clients, VPs, Directors and Strategists have done for me which is guide, teach and inspire girls and boys like me to push the boundaries of the industry.

The most memorable quote for me in the book actually didn't come from Sheryl but came from a reference to Harvard Business School's definition of leadership"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." This has been an unspoken mantra of mine and I find it most fulfilling to lead in this way.

I applaud Sheryl for attacking the topic of female leadership face on with a book referencing her own experiences, thought provoking research and an actionable plan. As a 20-something year old you often want to idolize your peers and amplify the voices of your generation, but after today, I feel Sheryl Sandberg's message is really important and this post is my way of getting it heard.

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