Sheryl Sandberg’s Wonderful Admission –

Are male graduates really thinking about supporting women?
Male Mentors -
When Ms. Sandberg brought out her book “Lean In”, a year ago, I couldn’t help but think about the missing key to her thesis.  Men.  I couldn’t recall once when she indicated the importance of having a male mentor, yet with the small percentage of women in positions of power it is vital.
Yes, Ms. Sandberg is in a highly visible position with Facebook, yet she isn’t the person who sits in the chair where the buck stops.  She still answers to the person who is. She’s also married to a man that also sits in that chair. Two male mentors in her life?
Over the last year Sandberg has used her foundation to create Lean In “Circles” – small support groups.  She indicated in the USA Today article that there have been 16,023 of them formed in 72 countries.  And what they’ve learned from the process of forming these circles is “how important it is to surround yourself with peers and make an explicit commitment to figuring out what your goals are, and going for it.  So I would probably have added: ‘And don’t do this alone!'”
That’s been my experience.  When her book first came out I thought back on my life and the various jobs I’ve held.  How did they come about and who helped?  First job at May Company in San Diego was possible only because my dad gave me an old beater car to get back and forth.  Bus transit between La Mesa and Mission Valley Center was reliable but terrible hours.  That allowed me to take any shift, any day and work my way up to Assistant Manager of a department.
Next adventure was library assistant at an elementary school.  I had been an Early Childhood Education aide and the library asst. position was available.  Who did the push on that one?  My school Principal.  I eventually moved on into the District Office and Accounting.
Many years later in Roseburg, OR  I took a part-time temporary job in Accounting at the school district.  After many months working in the Special Ed office, it was the male director who pulled me up and through.
Accounting Supervisor at the Water Board in Coos Bay, OR?  The Business Manager at the School Dist. in Roseburg.  Admin Asst. at the Council of Governments, the Director of the Water Board.  And ultimately Congressional Aide, one of my cohorts at the COG whose roommate had the job and they were looking for someone to replace him.
All male mentors.  All great jobs for the time of my life.  All reasonable pay.
When the AP writer asked “What about male graduates?  Are they thinking about supporting women?”  I was delighted to see her response.  “What’s clear is that we won’t get to equality by just women working on it alone.  We only get to equality if men and women work on it”.
I so value and appreciate my various male mentors over the years.  I didn’t feel less capable or worthy because I had a mentor.  Quite the contrary, I felt delighted to have had their help, support, and push.
Who is your mentor?
P.S. – Thanks to AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck for her article and quotes.

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