The TechCrunch ‘Lean In’ Roundtable, Part 1: Controversy, Fear, And How To Fight It

There has been a lot of buzz about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which made its chart-topping debut in bookstores on March 11th.

Many reporters, thought leaders and others have weighed in on the book and the larger movement being born out of it, especially from established women in Sandberg’s generation and above, and that’s been fascinating to watch.

But we at TechCrunch wanted to hear from a different perspective. So we assembled a small group of Generation Y women who are part of the Silicon Valley’s rising new guard — people that are arguably the perfect target audience to hear and respond to Sandberg’s message that women should “lean in” to their careers even as they start to think about building their own families and personal lives.

It was a big honor to be joined in the TechCrunch TV studio this week by four very accomplished women for an in-depth discussion of Lean In: 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.

We’ve split our discussion into four parts and in this first segment, we talk about how the controversy that has surrounded the book squares away with its actual content. We also get into the element of fear that Sandberg describes as one of the primary barriers women face when leaning into their careers. Sandberg writes:

“Fear is at the root of so many barriers women face….Without fear, women can pursue professional success and personal fulfillment—and freely choose one, or the other, or both.”

Tune in above to see whether we agreed with Sandberg’s thoughts on fear and how we’ve confronted fear in our own careers.