Sheryl Sandberg, Laphonza Butler & David Smith | 2018 MAKERS Conference
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, and Laphonza Butler, President, SEIU Local 2015, interviewed by David Smith, Author, Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women, on the importance of mentoring women
[MUSIC PLAYING] - Ladies and gentlemen, Sheryl Sandberg, Laphonza Butler, and David Smith.
DAVID SMITH: Well, I'm certainly delighted to be here, my first Makers Conference.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Welcome.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Congratulations.
DAVID SMITH: There's two incredible Makers Here. And in our book, "Athena Rising," my co-author, Brad Johnson, and I talk a little bit about how a lot of the successful, talented women out there and their experiences with male mentorship, and the one skill set that they found to be most effective was listening, was really listening. Listening with gender humility and not making assumptions about what women need or what they want. And certainly not looking at them in a way that they were somehow some alien species that they couldn't relate to or identify with.
And that men who approached women and their mentoring relationships with a certain amount of gender humility, really had a learning orientation and that women said that it was really helpful because it made the relationship feel more collegial, more mutual, and more reciprocal. And so today, in the spirit of practicing what we preach and walking the talk here, I'm going to shut up and we're going to listen and learn from these two change makers who have really inspired a whole generation of people and really touched a lot of lives out there.
So with that, Sheryl, certainly you have been out there and you've applauded the Me Too movement and the long awaited visibility and accountability it's brought to the workplace. But also you've talked about the harmful and potential unintended consequences out there. And so what is some of that backlash that you're concerned with?
SHERYL SANDBERG: Well, I think everyone here knows that we have a real watershed moment here. This is a moment to get things right. The Me Too movement is critical because it's shown how much sexual harassment was there. A lot of people think there's a lot more out there, and the need to end it now forever in a really institutional way. And that means not just change for the moment, but long term institutional change. It means organizations of all sizes and all types need policies that take any report seriously, that do thorough investigations, that take swift action.
It means victims need to know there's no retaliation and they are going to have the services and the legal support, something you've worked so hard on, that they need. And it means we really have to end the culture of complicity, where someone looks away and it's not their problem. It's everyone's problem. We also have to make sure that we continue getting women into leadership roles. I mean, you just saw Rachel, the amazing head of Lean In, tell you the state of the world. And those numbers are bleak. 6% of the Fortune 500, 20% of the Congress, 11 countries in the world.
And one of the things that men have always had more of than women, and particularly than women of color, is mentorship. And mentorship is critical for getting into leadership roles in all industries. That's been proven over and over again. And so Lean In and Survey Monkey launched a survey. We reported it today. And today in the US, almost half of male managers are afraid to do basic work activities of the woman.
So if the reaction to what's going on in the workplace is going to be an excuse to not mentor women or to isolate women further, that is not the answer and that is unacceptable. Because-- yeah. Yes.
We need to end sexual harassment, now and forever. And we need to invest more in women, not less. And we believe this. We believe this very strongly.
DAVID SMITH: As you mentioned, we've certainly both spent a lot of time around the importance of mentorship and sponsorship and written about it and studied it for years. Tell us a little more about today's exciting day and the launch of a mentorship around Lean In.
SHERYL SANDBERG: We're launching Mentor Her, hashtag mentor her, because everything needs a hashtag these days. And we're calling on leaders to do two things. The first is to mentor women, both men and women. But importantly, men are going to have to be part of that mentorship because look at the numbers. Women can mentor women, and that's hugely important. But if men don't do it, we know what the data says, which is women won't get the leadership roles they deserve.
We also want and demand, really, that access is equal. Equal. Our survey shows that men, senior men right now, are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to have dinner alone with a junior female colleague than a male colleague, five times more likely to not want to travel with a female colleague than a male colleague. If you're not going to have dinner with women, don't have dinner with men. Have breakfast and lunches with everyone.
I told this story in Lean In five years ago. There was a partner at Goldman Sachs who realized he didn't want to have dinner with men. And he announced and said-- sorry, didn't want to have dinner with women. He said, and I won't have dinner with men. I'm only having breakfast or lunches. Whatever people want to do, they have to be explicit and make access equal, because the only mentorship that happens, happens with real relationships and one on one conversations.
Those conversations need to happen. They need to happen in a workplace that is free of harassment, that is safe and secure for everyone. But those are critical to changing the dynamic. And by the way, it won't shock anyone, guess what organizations have lower levels of sexual harassment? More women in leadership. And so we know. We know more women in leadership is critical to ending sexual harassment long term. We know it's critical to how people are treated. We know organizations that are more diverse perform better and have better-- organizations with more women have better work life policies.
So this is in everyone's interests, but we're going to have to be explicit. It's going to have to be an explicit call to treat women equally and have equal access.
DAVID SMITH: Absolutely. Laphonza, we'd love to hear your perspective on the role of mentorship and women and some of the unique challenges that you're facing with the workers that you represent.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Sure. You know, I said this to Sheryl earlier when we were just chatting. She wrote and dedicated an entire chapter of her book, Lean In, to mentorship. And there's one simple line where she says, if we want something to change, you have to do something. And to me, that's what this entire conversation is about. That is what Mentor Her is about. It is the responsibility that we all have to do something. We don't get to sit on the sideline anymore.
We don't get to sort of be passive in our engagement. We have to do something. And so I'm excited to be a part of the conversation and be here and to share a little bit about the workers that I work with. You know, there's a couple of numbers that I want the audience to appreciate. First, 10,000 people a day turn 65 in the United States of America. I represent women, women of color, who are caregivers to our elderly and disabled in our communities.
And the next number I want you to know, if you are a Californian, is 14,000. That is the average wage that caregivers earn in the state of California. The next number I want you to appreciate is 48%. All of these women go to work every single day, work full time, and 48% of them still qualify for public assistance. This is the moment where we all have to do something if we're going to create the kinds of communities that our children and grandchildren deserve. This is our time and this is our moment to do something about it.
DAVID SMITH: Great.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Yes.
DAVID SMITH: You know, there's been a lot of focus on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, in corporate America broadly. What are the resources that the women need, in particular, as you think about the women in the caregiving industry to handle these issues? What are the resources that they need for that?
LAPHONZA BUTLER: I think Sheryl talked about a number of them. And I think it's important before we get to a solution, we just take the time to understand the problem. These are women whose job it is to love, where touch is inherent duty that they perform each and every day, whether it's bathing, providing medication, getting them up and dressed. Any touch that they offer is one that is intended to add value.
These are also women who exist in people's private homes, and often find themselves in very vulnerable positions, late at night. Some of their patients have mental disabilities, Alzheimer's, dementia, can be aggressive. And so it's understanding the problem that we can start to formulate solutions. So policies, policies are critical to protecting women in this industry where their touch every single day is one of good intentions. And we've got to demand those kinds of policies.
Second is courage. We all have to have the courage to support them, whether they are in our homes, providing care to our children, to our grandparents, to our parents. Let's have the courage to stand with them as they begin to raise their voices in joining women in media and entertainment. Let's encourage them to also join those voices. And lastly, I would I say, because I work for a labor union, collective action. Women are not standing alone anymore, whether they are home care workers or farm workers. I saw the panel earlier, women are choosing today that we're not standing alone anymore and that collective action has to be a part of whatever solution we come up with.
DAVID SMITH: Great. So it seems that we're still far from living in a world that, again, is inclusive and equal, and that part of that challenge and that problem is this power imbalance in the workplace. What would you tell someone who wants to be a more inclusive leader and an ally for any underrepresented group in the workplace.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: I would tell them what Sheryl said. Just do it.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Lean in.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Lean in.
SHERYL SANDBERG: I mean, I think there's a lot to say here and it's super important. One of the things I deeply believe and I hear over and over is that if leadership at the top, particularly if it is white and male, which it often is, is going to speak that they want diversity. They're going to have to really show they mean it. And the best way to do that is to say that it's the right thing to do because I believe in it. But it's also the smart thing to do. I believe my company's performance will be better if we have more diversity at all levels, and especially in leadership levels. And the data shows that.
More diverse teams outperform. And so saying, I believe in this so that people believe you, which means it has to be tied to the results, the right thing and the smart thing is really important. And then you really have to recognize the biases. I think people sometimes are afraid to say, wow, there's bias we all feel. We all feel it. Ready? I'm going to prove it. Men, men only. Raise your hand if you were called bossy as a little boy.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Two.
SHERYL SANDBERG: It's a man.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: Two.
SHERYL SANDBERG: There's usually one or two. OK, women, raise your hand if you were called bossy as a little girl. Right? Now what do we know? We know the data. We know that little girls are not any more assertive or aggressive than little boys. In fact, it's usually the opposite or equal. But look at that result, right? Men, raise your hand if you were told you're too aggressive in the workplace.
In your performance review, too aggressive. Women, too aggressive. Yes. That's the problem. But you know what? We can solve that. At Facebook, we're doing searches through performance reviews for the word aggressive, assertive. We know that when women get feedback, they're often given feedback even by the most well-meaning people, on their personal style. And when men get feedback in the work, it's more often the hard skills they need.
You can make sure that women, as you mentor them, as you sponsor them, as you work with them, get the same kind of feedback. Pay, every company should be scrubbing its pay cycles every time. We do it at Facebook. We make sure women, and people of color, and people of all ages are being promoted at the same rates, rated at the same rates, paid fairly. Every company can and should do that.
And you can also take the steps to stop the bias. There's nothing stronger than the most junior woman, junior man, senior woman, senior man saying, you just interrupted her. Can I hear what she had to say. Or actually, that was Dylan's idea. When it's attributed to the man, who's been through that?
Anyone else can say, actually, that was Dylan's idea. And we can stand up for and correct the biases. We also have to dig deep into the biases on women of color. Because there are all these biases on women, and then there are all these biases on race. If you have two identical, the same resume, you have a white sounding name and a black sounding name and you send those out, that white sounding name is worth 50% more callbacks, that's eight years of experience in the workplace.
The other major bias we have is on motherhood. Two identical resumes, one says PTA, just a mother, one doesn't. You see eight years of experience in the workplace differences. And so if you are a black working mother, you've got them all. Right? You've got the gender bias. You've got the race bias. And you've got the motherhood bias. So we need to pay a lot of attention to the gender bias, a lot of attention to the motherhood bias, and a lot of attention to women of color who are facing all of these multiple biases.
And we need to acknowledge we have them to fix it. Because pretending it's not happening and it's not happening in your company, in your organization, is often the root of the problem.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: The only thing that I would add is that these are biases that don't exist just within institutions, whether it's a company or an organization. These are biases that exist in our communities. And fundamentally, what our companies are, what our organizations are, are microcosms of our communities. And so we've got to take the individual responsibility as well. Each person in this room should leave here saying that I'm going to mentor a woman of color in some way, shape, or form. I am going to make a difference. I am going to make a contribution.
Because we don't come to these kinds of conferences just to build our network. I know women. We come to these kinds of conferences to build our communities. And so let's not just network together. Let's build our movement together. Let's start here building our movement and changing our communities because that's where these biases exist. And that's where the real change will come.
SHERYL SANDBERG: And we saw this today with a Mentor Her launch CEO. I know Tim Armstrong is here. Bob Iger of Disney, you know, from person to person to person, what we saw were men stepping out and saying, I am proudly going to mentor women. I'm not going to take this moment and shy away. I am not going to take this moment and do anything but make the investments we need to make to get to more equality at the top. And that's what I think everyone here is committed to doing.
DAVID SMITH: Someone asked the elephant in the room. So men are still in this majority of leadership positions across industries today.
SHERYL SANDBERG: The great majority, like more than the majority.
DAVID SMITH: Yeah, more than the majority.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Not like 51.
DAVID SMITH: Yeah, not like 51.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Like, a lot of the majority. All of Rachel's data she shared with you.
DAVID SMITH: And it's clear that if we're going to make advances and move forward into a safer and more equal workplace, that we need men's support. So for the men out there, what advice do you have for them? If they're men who really want to get it and they want to do the right thing in this very important moment of time?
LAPHONZA BUTLER: You know, again, it's not that complicated. Right? It is not--
SHERYL SANDBERG: Amen.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: I'm sorry. It just feels like we're studying for the LSATs or something. It's not that hard. My grandmother always-- I grew up in the South. My grandmother always told me, when you know better, you do better. And part of doing better and making sure that men are able to lean in as allies, is teaching them the data. Rachel just gave an incredible presentation. Every man in here should have been taking notes and making sure that they're going back, talking to their fellows at the barbershop. Hey, boys, we got to do better.
It's not that complicated. I would say, try to know something, learn something, and then do something.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Agreed. And know that it's-- and believe that it is not just good for the organization but good for you. If you are the most junior level man, or the most senior CEO, and you can work better with half the population as women, then put in people of color, you're more than half, you're going to outperform. That is a powerful reason to do it.
At home, real partnership. You cannot talk about real equality until we talk about real equality in the home. Women still bear the great majority of the responsibilities in the home. That is holding them back. And there's nothing more important than doing the work of being a parent. And it's so important that men should do it too. I'm going to ask a question of men here. How many men have been-- how many has someone said to you, should you be working? Anyone? Anyone? Women. Women. OK, 70% of mothers are working and they are breadwinners for their family, implying that that is a choice that they could make is absurd and insulting and doesn't recognize the reality.
And so we need equal partnership. Where there are heterosexual couples, if a daughter sees her father, sees her father, doing his share, not good enough to say, oh, dear, you can do anything you want. You actually have to do stuff. You have to help in the house. By 14, that girl will have broader career ambitions than someone who doesn't see her father doing some. Children with active fathers are happier, healthier. They do better in school. They do better professionally.
On anything you want to measure, that investment pays off for men at home and in the workforce. And I think, what was your grandma's thing? I love that.
LAPHONZA BUTLER: If you know better, do better.
SHERYL SANDBERG: If you know better, do better. If men clearly see the benefits to everyone of equality, they will know better and do better.
DAVID SMITH: Well, that's all of our time here today. And I just want to say that, again, trying to role model this, I listened and I learned. So I'm going to be better. And I commit to mentor her. Thank you both.
SHERYL SANDBERG: Yay.