Editor's Note: Watch Soledad O'Brien's interview with Sheryl Sandberg on "Starting Point" at 7 a.m. ET on Monday, March 18th and Tuesday, March 19th.
By Soledad O'Brien, "Starting Point" anchor
When you walk into Facebook’s New York City office, you get a sweeping loft-like feeling from a beautiful courtyard with big open windows in the very modern Bank of America building on Madison Ave. You’re also faced with a message in massive red letters that you can only read at a distance:
“PROCEED AND BE BOLD.”
I was there for my sit-down interview with Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer. She walks me over to the wall of windows with red letters to make it clear that the message is the ethos of the social media company.
Sandberg is wearing a navy and red dress, with a dark navy cardigan, and comes across as professional and personable. She had just rushed from another interview with CNN sister company Fortune magazine. You may have also seen her in one of her other zillion interviews this week, with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” or on the cover of “TIME” magazine.
As we prepare for the interview, she tells me she doesn’t enjoy the process of talking about herself, and admits she finds it to be a bit of a struggle. But the struggle must be worth it, because Sandberg’s message is gaining traction as a result of her book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” which was released on Monday.
The advice in “Lean In” is best when used to guide young women. In the book, Sandberg writes that women should strive to close the ambition gap with men, and to become leaders early in their careers to allow them flexibility later on.
“ 'Lean In' is not about fixing women,” she tells me. “'Lean In' is about all of us coming together to understand the stereotypes that are holding women back and fix them.”
However, that’s not how many have interpreted Sandberg’s points.FULL STORY
By Holly Yan and Vivian Kuo, CNN
(CNN) - Terrilynn Monette had no problem uprooting her life to help children.
When the California native learned of the "teachNOLA" program, which sends educators to New Orleans to teach in impoverished areas, she packed her bags and headed to Louisiana.
"I always wanted to be a teacher, and what better place to teach than New Orleans, where passionate teachers are needed most?" Monette said in a 2011 video.
Her dedication and excellence in the classroom earned her a "Teacher of the Year" nomination in her district.
But after a night celebrating the accolade with friends, the 26-year-old vanished.
That was almost two weeks ago. With each passing day, her family's anxiety compounds.
"There's total emptiness in my life right now. I miss my daughter so, so much, no one can hardly believe the impact that she has had on our family," said Monette's mother, Toni Enclade.
"She's a beautiful person. She walks in the room, she lights up with her beautiful smile. I can't imagine anyone that would take her away from us."
Hundreds of volunteers and police have scoured New Orleans, but are no closer to finding Monette.
She left no clues behind.FULL STORY
By Breeanna Hare, CNN
"I always did something I was a little not ready to do," she said last year while speaking on her best decisions in a talk with NPR Correspondent Laura Sydell. "That feeling at the end of the day, where you're like, 'what have I gotten myself into?' I realized that sometimes when you have that feeling and you push through it, something really great happens."
If the 37-year-old still makes career moves by her tried-and-true process, then she's likely anticipating something great to occur in her new role as Yahoo's CEO.
Mayer's hiring last summer, which accordng to Fortune made her the youngest head of a Fortune 500 company, came as a surprise, and her high-wire decisions since have spread far wider than Yahoo's campus.
First, there was her brief maternity leave after she gave birth to her son in September. When the Silicon Valley star first announced that she was pregnant, on the very same day Yahoo revealed she was the company's new CEO, some saw it as a progressive move and hoped Mayer would set a new standard for mothers trying to balance the competing demands of their corporate and familial roles.
What they saw instead was a businesswoman eager to get back in the office and who said that having a new baby in her life wasn't as difficult as she'd been told.
But the real critiques came last month when Yahoo's HR department issued an e-mail telling staff that they will no longer be able to work from home, prompting an angry backlash and leading some to question Mayer's judgment.
While some found her position just, others hoping the new mom would create a more reasonable corporate culture interpreted the move as unfair, noting that Mayer approved the edict while building a nursery next to her office – not an option for most working parents.
But over her nearly 14-year career in the tech world, Mayer has consistently shaken up expectations. If we've learned anything about this influential computer engineer-turned-corporate executive, it's that she plays the game of business by her own rules.
1. She doesn't do stereotypes
Part of the legend of Marissa Mayer is that she doesn't fit into our assumptions of what it means to be a tech geek.FULL STORY
(CNNMoney) - Ideally, gender wouldn't affect the jobs people train for and get, or how they are compensated. But we're certainly not there yet. At the same time, certain American jobs have shifted from majority male to majority female over the past few decades. Here are five professions that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women rule.FULL STORY
By Todd Leopold, CNN
(CNN) – Sheryl Sandberg is a role model, say her defenders.
The chief operating officer of Facebook earned two degrees from Harvard and spent the early part of her career in public service, rising to become chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers during the latter days of the Clinton administration. She helped build Google into a powerhouse; she has led the Facebook team in making the social media site ubiquitous. She's a mother who cares deeply about work-life balance and has been outspoken about women pulling together.
Sheryl Sandberg is no role model, say her detractors.
She's glided to the top thanks to the help of powerful men, whether it's the patronage of Summers, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt or Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. She's worth hundreds of millions of dollars, lives in an exclusive Bay Area suburb with a staff of minders and knows as much about being a working mother as a Pacific Heights socialite.
One thing's for sure: Sheryl Sandberg is in the crosshairs.
Her new book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," is out Monday, and her arguments, focusing on how women in the workplace can grow their careers and their lives, have attracted both praise and denunciation - though, as the New Yorker's Anna Holmes has noted, many of the denouncers have jumped on Sandberg in the "ready, fire, aim" fashion typical of the commentariat.
"Anyone who had read her book would have known that Sandberg herself is the first to acknowledge the debts she owes to the women who came before her, not to mention her youthful naivete and eventual engagement with gender politics," Holmes wrote.
So just who is Sheryl Sandberg, and why are people saying such extreme things about her?FULL STORY
Editor’s Note: Michele Wucker is publisher of World Policy Journal and president of the World Policy Institute (www.worldpolicy.org), a global ideas incubator focused on emerging challenges, thinkers and solutions. She also is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and author, most recently, of "LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right."
By Michele Wucker, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The courage of women like Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old student leader in Pakistan who was shot and nearly died for fighting for girls’ right to education; Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who endured nearly 15 years of house arrest because of her stand for democracy in Myanmar; and of precedent-setting presidents like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is inspirational.
America’s women and work discussion could take a lesson from other countries.
Americans make plenty of pronouncements about why countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia should let women go to school, drive cars and have many of the rights American women take for granted.
But focusing exclusively on the extreme examples of restrictions on women’s rights elsewhere provides a convenient way to overlook the ways we could do better here at home.
We have an opportunity to learn from countries that are far ahead of the United States in closing the gender gap in leadership positions in politics and business, if we are open to it. FULL POST
(CNN) - CNN asked readers, staff and previous guests on CNN's Leading Women to share words of inspiration from the women they admire.
A stream of thought-provoking proverbs on love, insightful sayings for successful careers, hints for a healthy life - and plenty of wit in between –follow.
By Vivian Kuo and Michael Pearson, CNN
(CNN) - The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual assault cases at the University of North Carolina at the request of current and former students, and a former administrator who say the university has long turned a blind eye to such allegations.
"We love UNC," said Annie Clark, the lead complainant. "We're not trying to vilify the university, we're just trying to make it better."
Clark and other students named in this report agreed to be identified by CNN, which does not typically identify the victims of sexual assault.
The investigation comes amid outrage on campus and nationwide over intimidation charges filed in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, school's student-run honor court against one of the women involved in the complaint.
Investigators from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights will look into the women's allegations that school administrators brushed aside concerns about sexual violence on campus and failed to adequately investigate complaints of sexual assault, according to a March 1 letter sent to Clark by the agency.FULL STORY
(CNN) - CNN Anchor Soledad O' Brien speaks to TIME's Executive Editor Radhika Jones about the magazine's cover story on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
(CNN) - Every March 8th, International Women's Day honors the achievements of women past and present, while remembering that equality is still a work in progress.
So, in the lead-up to this year's event, we're asking our readers to share their favorite quotes from celebrated women of the world.
It could be a motto on love, a tip for success, a proverb on happiness or a witty observation about life. Just share the words that have inspired you along the way and it could be featured - along with your name - as part our special coverage.
Lost for inspiration? Check out some of these quotes from a few of the amazing women who've appeared on CNN's Leading Women over the last year.
"If you can find something that you're really passionate about, whether you're a man or a woman comes a lot less into play. Passion is a gender-neutralizing force." Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer.FULL STORY