A few weeks ago, Leah handed out copies of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg to everyone here at TaskRabbit HQ and gave us a homework assignment:
Read the book from cover to cover and get ready for a real discussion.
Armed with questions, comments, and concerns, we all gathered around the lunch tables, ready to dive in to a Lean In-themed Learnch. Learnch is a weekly lunchtime seminar series here at TaskRabbit designed to help us share knowledge, ideas, and inspiration amongst the staff. Typically, a Learnch lasts for about an hour — this one went on for three hours. We had a lot to discuss.
Our COO, Stacy Brown-Philpot, kicked things off by sharing her personal Lean In story and explaining why she believed this book was necessary reading for everyone — men and women — working in startups today.
Then Stacy opened it up for questions and we got to the meaty stuff. Is it okay to cry at work? What’s it like being a woman engineer in 2013? Does a company with an all-female C-Suite really need to think this much about gender stereotypes?
Over the course of the conversation, which centered around “Creating a Level Playing Field,” an education module by Stanford’s Shelley Correll Stacy asked us to watch in addition to reading the book, we were surprised to discover that even the most gender-enlightened among us were holding biases. “I didn’t realize until after reading this book and watching this module that saying something like ‘I have no idea how she does it’ is actually rooted in stereotype,” offered our very own Johnny B. “I would never look at a male COO who’s also a father and comment on how incredible it is that he juggles it all, why do I do this with a woman COO?”
The conversation will continue here at TaskRabbit, and we hope you’ll consider joining in as well. Keep an eye out for Lean In stories from the TaskRabbit team here in the weeks to come. Can’t wait? Here’s a couple to get you started: