Packed rooms full of Coke associates in Atlanta and via WebEx from Canada, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East waited to hear Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and bestselling author, speak in late August. Organized by Coca-Cola’s business resource group, women's LINC, and the company’s Women's Leadership Council, Sandberg visited Coca-Cola headquarters to empower and encourage female employees to achieve their ambitions.

Sheryl Sandberg with Coca-Cola associate

Sandberg spoke to attendees about gender equality – a main topic from her book, Lean In. She opened the conversation with a question to attendees: “Stand up if you want to be the CEO of Coca-Cola?” When not many people stood up, she explained three reasons why:

  1. "You don’t feel like you are capable of doing the job."
  2. "You feel having such open ambition is distasteful and/or uncomfortable."
  3. "You already, or want to, have children."
She shared reasons why women face gender biases and outlined actions women can take to change them, including joining a Lean In Circle. Lean In Circles are small peer groups who meet regularly to learn and grow and support each other. Circles enable women to pursue their aspirations with accountability. Sandberg announced the launch of a Lean In Circles chapter at Coca-Cola during her conversation.

Whether sharing personal anecdotes of encouragement for working mothers or describing what she means by “leaving before you leave,” the tendency of women to pass up on opportunities for advancement based on circumstances that may or may not have come to pass yet, Sandberg encouraged everyone in the audience to act on LeanIn.Org’s mission to help make the “world a better place by having more women at the helm.”