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  • Writer's pictureKarla Trippe

Don't Lean In. Stand Up!

This has been a rather newsworthy week which is why my blog is late. I will discuss a big development in Silicon Valley first and then discuss the First Amendment next week.

Sheryl Sandberg is departing Meta to work on her non-profit. Congrats to her. She’s worth $1.7 billion though what she did to earn that much money I’m not exactly sure. I’m also not sure how many other women she has helped to make that kind of money.

Sandberg was part of the so-called girl boss movement. I was a girl boss long before Sandberg or Sophia Amoruso. I was a girl boss who came up the ranks of the Silicon Valley when seeing a female VP last for more than six months was a rarity and no female sat in the C-suite or a board chair.

Sandberg, for the record, did not get to her position by beating any boys at the game. She played the men in academia. Sandberg was Secretary of the Treasury Larry Sanders’ Chief of Staff. Remember him? When he was president of Harvard, Sandberg’s alma mater, he stated that women have a different aptitude from what is needed to work at the higher end. He had to leave Harvard after saying that, thank goodness.

Sandberg left Summers and her Harvard years to take a GM position in the Google Adwords group. Google Adwords was the easiest way to generate sales leads at the time. I know. I used it with my clients. It was the Google goldmine and she rode the wave.

From there she wrote a book supposedly to help women get farther in their careers by “leaning in” to positions of leadership. To this day I have no idea what that really means. I know plenty of women who want to be in positions of leadership whether in business or government. When I counsel them, my advice has never been to “lean in.” It has always been to stand in your power.

Now you can be a nice girl with a pretty smile and an Ivy league education and get pretty far in the Valley. But respect? No. Because these girls always do as they are told and that’s why they get to sit in a cushy chair and bring home a nice salary. They allow the boys to set the rules and they play by them. There is no clearer proof than what has been allowed to happen at Facebook, particularly during the Trump Administration. The company continued positioning itself as a platform company (it’s a media company) and thus didn’t need to adhere to the ethical standards that every J-school student is taught. And, then of course there was collusion with Russia and the money-making ads they were placing all over Facebook which is basically against the law. Plus it helped to elect a man that would later try to overthrow our government.

Do you know what was the inspiration for Sander's lean in idea? That when she was pregnant at Google she felt women in her condition needed closer parking spaces. Wow. I write about my pregnancy experience in my soon-to-be-released book. Read it. It’s quite a different situation.

What is important to remember is the MeToo movement is still alive and necessary. While diversity may be the current mantra I can tell you that male-dominated C-suites and boards don’t have a problem with the

color of the men. Just the number of them.

I will continue to tell women of all ages and colors that if you want to get ahead be proud of how you think and what you can do. Don't play games by leaning in. Stand up for your work and ideas and show the world your power.


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