Postcards

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

How Sheryl Sandberg leans in to win hot hires

April 5, 2013: 12:00 PM ET
Carolyn Everson at Facebook's New York office

Carolyn Everson at Facebook's New York office

Sheryl Sandberg clearly knows how to lean in and position herself as one of the world's Most Powerful Women and a No. 1 best-selling author to boot. The Facebook (FB) COO also happens to be a pro at leaning on people to work for her.

Consider the experience of Carolyn Everson, a Sandberg protege whose official role at Facebook is VP of global marketing solutions--she is Facebook's powerful face to major advertisers. But recently, Everson raised her hand to fill a gaping management hole abroad and is now the interim acting chief of Facebook EMEA--the company's top executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Here's another woman who knows how to lean in to career opportunity. Last week, at a dinner she hosted for Facebook friends and clients during her brief visit to the U.S., Everson shared a story about how Sandberg aggressively lured her to Facebook from Microsoft (MSFT).

It was the fall of 2010 when Everson heard from Sandberg, out of the blue. Everson had never met Facebook's No. 2. And she certainly was not looking for a new job, since she had arrived at Microsoft from Viacom (VIAB) only four months before. "Carolyn, I know you're loyal," Sandberg said to Everson, astutely reading her mindset. "But you need to do what's right for you, not worry about what people think of you."

From then on, Sandberg called Everson once a week week to check in on how she was thinking about the job-switch opportunity.

To press her prospect, Sandberg used a tactic that had worked on her a decade before. In 2001, when then-Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt convinced her to move from D.C. to Silicon Valley and board the "rocket ship" that he and his fellow Googlers were building. Everson recalls Sandberg telling her: "You'll be lucky in life to have one rocket ship. I've had two. You haven't had one yet."

It took Sandberg five months, but she finally won Everson over.

As for Everson's current gig overseeing Facebook in Europe, she volunteered for the job because she has absorbed her boss's message to lean in to career opportunities. . Everson also says she reminded herself of some advice she once got from Coca-Cola (KO) SVP Wendy Clark about how to lead a successful life and career. "Wendy told me, 'It's not about balance. It's about integration.'"

Everson, 41, and her husband, Doug, and twin daughters are planning to stay in London for six months, through June. Back home in New Jersey, they left four dogs, one rabbit, and two frogs in the nanny's care. (Their guinea pig and other two frogs recently died.) The Everson clan also has four adopted elephants in Kenya, a koala in Sydney and two fish in China. "Call it guilty working mothers syndrome," Everson says.

You can read Everson's own story on on Sandberg's LeanIn.org site.

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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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