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Top Female Exec at Facebook Brings Words of Advice to Philadelphia

(Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg responds to a question.  Credit: Ian Bush)

(Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg responds to a question. Credit: Ian Bush)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A top executive at Facebook was in center city Philadelphia today to give a pep talk of sorts to fellow women — and men — in business.

Sheryl Sandberg worked at the World Bank and Google before becoming the chief operating officer at Facebook.

“The blunt truth is that men still run the world, and I’m not sure that’s going that well,” she said this morning.

It wasn’t a male-bashing session so much as Sandberg holding up a mirror at both sexes, to shatter stereotypes which she says start young:

“Next time someone’s about to call a little girl ‘bossy’ — a word we only use for little girls, not little boys — we can say instead, ‘My daughter has executive leadership skills.’ “

Sandberg has been criticized for how she tells women to negotiate.

“Explain why it’s good for the company, not just for you,” she advised. “Because as a woman, you need to justify things for yourself in terms of helping others.”

Sandberg says it’s all about having more women in positions of power; then, such tactics won’t be necessary.

But why aren’t there more women at the top?

“Because there aren’t enough women leaders, and therefore we don’t encourage it.”

Pushing women to believe they can nurture and lead can benefit her company and boss — “if you’re a better manager of women, you’re going to outperform your colleagues,” Sandberg said; having an equal partner in life means “you have a happier home, more sex with your wife — very motivating for many people.”

The Facebook boss suggests women have a long-term dream — and make a much more specific 18-month plan.

“I think the stuff in the middle is a mistake, because trying to connect those dots makes us too risk-averse,” Sandberg explained. “If I wanted to plan out my entire career when I was leaving college, there was no Internet.”

Sandberg says it’s not about moving up the corporate ladder anymore; she calls it a “jungle gym,” where shifting sideways and even down can mean forward progress.

“When we’re no longer learning and growing, reach for a new opportunity where we can gain new skills and contribute more,” she advised.

Sandberg’s talk, which came the same day that Facebook unveiled a new family of Android apps, was hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

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