Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Revs Motor City

By Kristen Jordan Shamus
Detroit Free Press

Cars matter, said Facebook COO and best-selling author Sheryl Sandberg as she spoke to a sell-out crowd of Adcraft Club of Detroit members this morning at Troy’s San Marino Club.

“I’m proud to be an American when I’m in Detroit and see how this industry has transformed America,” she said, drawing parallels to just how much technology — and social media — have also changed the way people live and work.

“Cars connect people. They take us places. They speak to new opportunities and new adventures. … Cars don’t just get us from point A to point B, they’re part of our journeys.”

The top question asked on Facebook, she said, is “What’s the meaning of life? What’s No. 2? It’s what car should I buy?”

Her message resonated in a room filled with advertising and public relations professionals in a city where the auto industry dominates.

Sandberg also spoke about gender and racial bias in the workforce, a topic included in her best-selling book, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”

“We elected an African-American president, and that is fabulous, but there is still racism,” she said.

“Mary Barra is the new GM CEO, and that’s fabulous, but there is still sexism. … I think the most important thing we can do to enhance equality is to start being honest about the real challenges stereotypes pose.”

Jacqueline Redmond, 31, an account director for Commonwealth in Detroit, which handles the Chevy ad campaign said
she was encouraged by how many men had come to hear Sandberg speak.

“This is the direction business is moving, Redmond said, “toward more equal ground.”

For more than 100 years, the Adcraft Club of Detroit has hosted breakfasts and lunches with such notable speakers as Martha Stewart, the CEO of Tumblr and the CEO of AOL, to name a few. Later this month, it will host famed TV physician Dr. Oz.

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