Former WiJ Chair Eleanor Mills has bagged another one of Sheryl Sandberg’s first interviews following news of her Meta departure.

The exclusive Q&A was played to the business community at the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday during an event to mark a milestone for gender equality efforts.

During the interview, Sheryl revealed:

  • Mark Zuckerburg was living and working out of studio apartment when she started working for him so they had to have their meetings at her place
  • She now plans to devote more time to her philanthropic work including her Lean In Foundation
  • The broken rung on the career ladder is that men get promoted on potential whereas women are judged on experience so far
  • Mentoring and sponsorship is a powerful way to fix that

Eleanor was moderating a panel discussion for the 30% Club, a campaign pushing for gender balance at the top of the worlds biggest companies – and run by WiJ committee member and freelance journalist Laura Whitcombe.

The event was celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Club’s cross-company mentoring programme, which is now the world’s biggest with 16,000 participants from 50 countries and business 30 sectors having benefitted from it.

Analysis from Moving Ahead, the company that delivers the programme, reveals:

  • mentees were 47% more likely to be promoted than non-mentee peers in the three years after the programme
  • 70% of mentees said they felt more confident and empowered by the programme
  • the same proportion said there were “inspired to create change in their careers or organisations”
  • Half the mentees agreed with the statement: “My career has been affected by far less organisational bias and impenetrable networks since I found a mentor.”

Earlier this year, The Mirror publisher Reach (current WiJ Chair Alison Phillips is Editor of the Mirror) became the first newspaper group to sign up to the 30% Club. Its CEO and chair committed to beyond 30% female representation at board and executive level and at least one person of colour at both levels by the end of 2023 in support of the Parker Review, which pushes for greater racial and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership.

You can read more about the 30% Club’s progress in getting more women appointed to top jobs and the mentoring programme in Eleanor’s article for the Financial Times here and you can find out more about Women In Journalism’s mentoring programme here.