Emily Meredith I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, and in an effort to keep from climbing the walls of the airplanes that lack in-flight wifi (Yes, “Hi my name is Emily and I’m addicted to my email”), I’ve been reading some books that have been on my “must read” list for far too long.
I dove headfirst into Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Sandberg, formerly of Google and now the COO of Facebook, discusses the importance of women in the workforce and how more women must “lean in” and rise through the ranks of corporate America. It’s a powerful book with a powerful message.
Last week, I spent the week with our six College Aggies Online (CAO) Scholarship winners, all of whom happen to be women this year. Together we flew down to Arkansas where we visited with our CAO program sponsor, Tyson Foods. During a whirlwind week at Tyson’s headquarters, the ladies and I were able to tour Crystal Bridges (a breathtaking art museum originally commissioned by Abraham Wilson and Gloria Bachman), the Walmart Museum, visit with one of Tyson’s farm families, meet with Sara Lilygren (Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Tyson Foods), Donnie Smith (CEO and President of Tyson Foods), visit with executives from Tyson’s Social Responsibility and Social Media Departments; and tour the famous Tyson R&D and Food Safety labs.
We also were able to meet and learn about the hatchery/genetics process by visiting Cobb-Vantress’ U.S. headquarters. Whew! Makes me tired just typing it all!
Most of our CAO scholarship winners are about to graduate from college and enter the workforce and I have to honestly say, our workforce couldn’t be luckier than to have any one of these outstanding ladies on their team.
Throughout the tour, these ladies were engaged, animated and asked thoughtful questions. They soaked every experience up like mini-sponges and took every opportunity in stride.
Throughout Ms. Sandberg’s book she explores the challenges women in the workforce face – from finding life balance, to finding a mentor, to finding a supportive life partner. But the book is also filled with life lessons and nuggets of sage career advice from Sandberg and her equally esteemed professional colleagues (seriously it’s like reading a who’s who list from Forbes).
One of the most interesting pieces of advice was for women to take a seat at the table; to be present and speak up. I saw that desire to be noticed during our week with Tyson from our Aggies winners. They took a seat at the table and they spoke up.
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