Sheryl Sandberg: Why Her, Why Now?

sheryl sandbergFacebook COO Sheryl Sandberg fills a void for businesswomen, writes Globe and Mail reporter Leah Eichler. “Many professional women, like me,” explains Eichler in a recent article, “hang on to her every word, tweeting her one-liners en masse as soon as they hit media sites and giving her the status of an oracle, or at least a business superstar.”

So what’s that all about?

When Eichler asked for my analysis, here’s how I responded, and what she reported in her article:

“When I started coaching women [9-years ago], no one wanted to hear that the playing field might not yet be level for women in the workplace,” recalled Dr. Ann Daly, an Austin, Tex.-based author and career coach devoted to the advancement of women.

Before the Sheryl Sandberg generation, observed Dr. Daly, most successful business leaders took the Carly Fiorina approach, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. who once declared that there is no glass ceiling. At that time, it was too risky to be self-identified as a woman with struggles because that carried the baggage of a victim or whiner, explained Dr. Daly.

Dr. Daly believes the time is right for our culture to digest this message and Ms. Sandberg is perfectly placed to be its spokeswoman, given her role at one of the “greatest success stories in corporate America.”

“Today, it is no longer taboo to talk about it. Despite the fact that women are now better educated and more ambitious, the workplace is still structured to favour men,” Dr. Daly said.

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