Her speech was titled "Why we have too few women leaders." The video became wildly popular. It has been viewed more than 2 million times on TED's website. Yet before she gave speech, Sandberg says, "a whole bunch of people told me not to." And although she'd given hundreds of talks on Facebook and social media and exactly one on women, after her speech people would ask her "is this your thing now?'"
"That was really the first time I spoke up," she says. Since then, Sandberg has come to call herself "a proud feminist."
Sandberg says it was the flood of responses that she received following the speech that got her thinking about writing a book. Some women wrote to her and said the speech encouraged them to ask for a raise. Others said it motivated them to ask for more family friendly work hours.
LeanIn.org grew out of the book with the help of co-founder Gina Bianchini, who was inspired by a course she took at Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research called "Voice & Influence." Its mission — "to empower women and men to be as effective as possible and to create organizations where all people can thrive" — is at the core of LeanIn.org. LEanIn.org hopes to reach as many people as possible by offering materials and easy-to-replicate guidelines online, for free. Sandberg calls it a platform, which, in the technology world means something that others can take, change and make their own.
"We are a startup," Sandberg says. "We are going to see what happens, and what companies do with our platform."