Association of Women Business Owners ‘Lean In’ with Sheryl Sandberg
The National Association of Women Business Owners is partnering with the Facebook COO’s new foundation to help women achieve professional success.
The National Association of Women Business Owners last week announced a new partnership with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org.
The foundation, whose mission is to “create a global community dedicated to encouraging women to lean in to their ambitions,” is a natural fit for NAWBO, which is dedicated to promoting women entrepreneurs into economic, social, and political spheres of power.
“NAWBO is leaning in because we know how much female entrepreneurs have to offer one another,” Diane Tomb, the association’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We support Sheryl Sandberg and Lean In’s mission to connect and support women in all areas and stages of their professional development.”
Tomb said the association was approached to be a part of the LeanIn.org effort after its 2012 annual conference, which was partly sponsored by Facebook. The partnership will allow NAWBO members to share their knowledge and experiences as women business leaders as well as inspire them as entrepreneurs.
“We have 5,000 women who are members,” Tomb said. “We have 50 chapters throughout the country, and most of our members tend to be leaders in their community already, so there’s a big opportunity for us to share.”
Inspired by Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, LeanIn.org comprises three components: the Lean In Community, a place where women and men can share stories to help each other achieve their goals; Lean In Education, which offers free online lectures on topics such as creating successful teams, negotiating, and combating gender bias; and Lean In Circles, or small groups that meet monthly in which participants can share personal experiences and seek advice. (For some data on how women are faring in association volunteer leadership and executive suites, take a look at Mark Athitakis’ leadership blog post on Sandberg’s book.)
Although specific details are still in the works, NAWBO will work with the foundation to develop educational opportunities to help women in all stages of the business development process. NAWBO members will also have a chance to network and learn from a wider circle of professional women.
“Currently our members interact in their chapters locally and with us at the national level,” Tomb said, “but this [partnership] will open it up to other professional women in corporate settings and academic settings so it’s a much broader audience—everybody can learn from each other.”