Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Best advice from a Facebook star

March 28, 2013: 2:55 PM ET

When Carolyn Everson, Facebook's (FB) VP of global marketing solutions, confronted a management void in Europe, she opted to fix the problem herself. She moved her family--husband Doug and twin daughters--from New Jersey to London.

Facebook VP Carolyn Everson

Facebook VP Carolyn Everson

Now Everson is on the ground for six months, fortifying the European business, visiting international advertisers, and helping in the hunt for a new leader for the region. Last evening, during a quick trip home (she's due back for good in June), she hosted a dinner in Manhattan for friends and clients at companies including NBC Universal (CMCSA), Walt Disney (DIS), Viacom (VIAB), and Spotify.

I was there. While there was lots of chatter about Lean In--the No. 1 best seller by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg--Everson stirred the conversation by asking, "What's the best advice you ever got?" This topic--"Best Advice I Ever Got"--happens to be a popular Fortune franchise. Everson's dinner guests offered up 10 bits of advice that I'm adding to my list and will share with you:

1. Every time you walk into a room, think of yourself as a thermostat. (This is Everson's best advice, which she got from a former boss at Viacom.)

2. Always leave people feeling bigger instead of smaller.

3. Treat the waiter and the receptionist and the CEO the same way.

4. Don't be afraid to be wrong--and embrace your failures.

5. Know your workaround. Nimble people thrive on uncertainty.

6. View your career as a jungle gym, not a ladder. (This is my best advice, and Sheryl Sandberg's advice too.)

7. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

8. No matter what your level, don't be too proud to do what needs to get done.

9. Always learn. If you're not learning, what's the point?!

12. Find the win-win. Ambition and kindness are not mutually exclusive.

For more on Everson and Sandberg, come back to Postcards next week.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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