Posted by: africancleo | October 14, 2012

“Sit at the Table” by Sheryl Sandberg

Ever since we watched Sheryl Sandberg talk in class on TEDtalks I have not stopped thinking about it. However, there is one step that she mentioned that I have been trying to fulfill, “sit at the table.” Women tend to not be at the table when things are being discussed and I have encountered that daily. I am a Bonner Service Scholar here at CNU and I am currently working with the homeless population of Hampton Roads as well as the Refugee and Immigration population. Since 1992, LINK of Hampton Roads (non-profit organization that helps the homeless population) created a program called PORT. Christian establishments from the area collaborate by rotating each week  their church in order to provide a shelter for the homeless starting from October to the end of March/April.

There was a meeting on Saturday at one of the churches to discuss their plan for organizing the first week of December. I attended because I will be putting together a group of volunteers that will cover the whole night at that church. Anyway, many representatives from some churches came and I found myself slightly intimidated to sit at the same conference table as them. There were not enough sits and some of the women got up and said that they would pull up chairs in sit on the outside to the table. The head of the meeting, Pam Cook, made everyone slide their chairs closer together in order for everyone to be sitting at the same area so that no one would be excluded from the conversation. I thought that it was really nice that she made the effort to make everyone a part of the in-group. Not many people would have taken the time to have insisted on that and it made me realize what Sheryl was saying; “Sit at the table.” As the meeting went along Everyone started to talk and put in their input, so did I, but I must admit that if I had sat on the outside I might not have spoken up.

It is important to be a part of the in-group because your voice can heard and your input can be valued. It really caught my eye that the men had not moved from the table but the women were willing to sit on the outside. Everyone should have a say when it comes to getting together in order to make things happen. So women DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SIT AT THE TABLE!



  1. That is an awesome example. This clip was one of the very first things we even discussed in class and it has been stuck in my mind every time we bring up women in the business world. The day that we had the discussion on what we would want in the workplace, I kept saying to myself that if I had any leadership in a business or company, I would want to be a part of the “Big Boy” meetings and I would make sure that I wasn’t sitting in a corner. My boss back home is a woman and every meeting that I see her in, she is either in the back or doesn’t really get any attention to what her thoughts are. Her boss who is the General Manager tends to not want to listen to anyone else’s opinion or he takes credit for things. I think when we look at the idea of placing a leadership gender characteristic on women like we talked about last class, I think that some people think a characteristic of a woman is being quiet and I think this needs to be thrown out. Like the clip says, we need to sit at the table and show that women are capable leaders in their own right and cannot be put into a category of what a woman leader should look like by mythical standards.

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