Let me tell you about the most amazing, life-changing book I have read recently.  This book is written with the intent of supporting female leaders everywhere, however if you are a courageous man, you, too can make a difference.

Lean In was written by Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO of Facebook. I was impressed by both her credentials and candor.  The book is referenced and annotated throughout, citing important data and research on this topic. I was so pleased to see that the ideas, thoughts, and feelings I have had as a female leader were legitimate. These were not just “how I felt” but backed by data. Amazing…

Her Ted Talk is about fifteen minutes in length and worth every minute.


Here are three of the items I have taken away from Lean In:

Sit at the Table

Sandberg talks about the necessity for women to sit at the table.  When I was a brand new vice principal, my Principal was holding a cabinet meeting, comprised of teachers and administrators. She intentionally did not sit, waiting to see who would sit where. Teachers scurried for seats. I noticed there were only a few seats left so I sat at the table.  Knowing no teachers, I did not sit near anyone I knew as this was my first meeting. Then I realized I had chosen the “head” of the table!  You know the seat…the one where the LEADER sits. I was mortified but it was too late to get up and move.  Just then, my Principal began the meeting. The first thing she did was commend me for “sitting at the head of the table.” Long before Sandberg’s book was published, I had the opportunity to work for a woman I consider my mentor. She “administratively raised me” and realized, more than two decades ago, how important it was for women to sit at the table.

Make your Partner a True Partner 

This portion of Sandberg’s advice is important and relevant for both men and women who work or choose to stay home and raise children. The most compelling proof for me is shared in both the Ted talk and the book.  To think that a home where chores, work, and child-rearing are shared equally have half the divorce rate is astounding! This reminded me of a recent article I read…


I find this research essential in building strong relationships, both at home and at work. There will be a follow-up blog on this topic, I can assure you.

Don’t Leave Before you Leave

Sandberg discusses why it’s important for women to keep their feet firmly planted on the gas pedal before leaving for childbirth.  She has found that many women decide that their career will have to be derailed to have children long before it is time to make that decision. I am taking this advice in a different way considering my current position. My contract will expire on June 30, 2018. You can bet that my foot will be firmly planted on that gas pedal until June 30.  I will not “leave before I leave”.

My deepest gratitude to Sheryl Sandberg for not only being a role model for women everywhere but for writing a “user’s guide” so that women can collaborate, reflect, and own their future.  This book has inspired me to establish a newly formed Women in Leadership group in my county.  More to come…

Author: Karen D'Avino

I am a passionate educational leader who cares deeply for the improvement of instruction through professional development and equitable practices and policies in schools.