lean in roundtable
lean in

The TechCrunch ‘Lean In’ Roundtable, Part 3: Linking Up With Real Mentors — And The Right Life Partner

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Welcome back for part three of our four-part roundtable discussion of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new best-selling book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

In part one, posted Tuesday, we discussed the controversy surrounding Lean In as well as the element of fear and how it plays into women’s career paths. In part two, posted yesterday, we discussed the emotion of guilt and the myth that women can “do it all.”

For our roundtable, we assembled a small group of Generation Y female leaders that represent the Silicon Valley tech industry’s rising new guard: Leah Busque, the former IBM engineer who is now the founder and CEO of TaskRabbit, the startup that has built a platform for outsourcing errands, tasks, and deliveries; Ashley Mayer, the senior director of communications for cloud-based enterprise storage technology firm Box; Megan Quinn, the Google and Square alum who last year made the leap into the venture capital world as a partner at Kleiner Perkins; and Pooja Sankar, the Stanford MBA and former Facebook engineer who is now the founder and CEO of educational Q&A platform Piazza.

In this segment, we first tackled the topic of finding a mentor to help steer your career path. In Lean In, Sandberg argues that many women go about seeking mentors in all the wrong ways, and says that asking outright “Will you be my mentor?” is one of the most common mistakes women make. One of our panelists admitted that earlier in her career she was guilty of asking that very question — to Sheryl Sandberg herself! Though she says it ended up being a positive learning moment, that was certainly a surprising disclosure for us all to hear.

We also discuss Sandberg’s viewpoint on finding and linking up with the right life partner. Sandberg minces no words in Lean In about how important a solid partner is for having a successful career, and offers very frank advice on how to find one, writing:

“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. Marry the boys who are going to change half of the diapers.”

Tune in above to hear our panelists talk about the mentors in their own careers, Sandberg’s straightforward view on dating and marriage, and more. And please check back in tomorrow for the fourth and final installment of our roundtable, in which we discuss how women can be their own worst enemies and our favorite takeaways from Lean In.