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By Debra Osemwegie
University News Service      
Facebook’s Sandberg Launches ‘Lean In’ Initiative at Howard University

WASHINGTON (October 18, 2013) –Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, one of corporate America’s most successful women, brought her message about the need for inclusive leadership in the workplace to more than 250 students at the Howard University’s School of Business on Oct. 15.

Sandberg is chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. In her remarks, she announced that she was expanding her programs to college campuses.

“I’m launching the campus program right here, right now,” Sandberg said, adding that Howard University would be the first location for the program. promotes the creation of small professional women’s groups whose members support each other in making career moves. The new campus program will expand that effort to colleges, in a push that will include virtual appearances by Sandberg.

“You are the leaders we have all been waiting for,” she said. “In this room are the people who will run our law firms, our businesses, and hopefully, our government.

In her remarks, Sandberg expressed dissatisfaction with sexism and racism in today’s society, especially in the American workplace. She assailed the gender wage gap that impacts Black and Latina women, calling it “completely unacceptable.”

Sandberg engaged the audience – many of whom were professionally dressed female undergraduates at Howard – about their own experiences and asked how many had been labeled as “too aggressive,” “too bossy” or “overly ambitious” at work. Hands shot up across the room.

During the question-and-answer period, Nya Whitaker, an international business freshman, asked what African-American women should do to fortify and prepare themselves for trials associated with seeking out executive positions.

“As women and as women of color, the bar is higher,” Sandberg responded. “We know men get promoted based on potential and women on what they already know. Now we’ve got to change that, and until we change that, the onus is on us to be super prepared.”

Prior to joining Facebook, Sandberg was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google where she built and managed online sales for advertising and publishing and operations for consumer products worldwide. She was also instrumental in launching, Google’s philanthropic arm.  Sandberg previously served as chief of staff for the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton. She began her career as an economist with the World Bank.

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