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Like Facebook, she connects instantly

July 03, 2014 10:09 IST

Like Facebook, she connects instantly

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BS Reporter in New Delhi

Apart from the chocolates, everything in the room -- the water bottles, flower vases, pens and name tags -- bore the company logo.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, was 10 minutes late.

When she did arrive, her  disarming informality put everyone at ease.

Dressed in a maroon suit and a floral scarf, she shook hands with each of the eight journalists selected to attend her press conference in Delhi’s Oberoi hotel, giving out her business card and chatting with them about their work.

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Image: Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg speaks about her book "Lean In : Women, Work and the Will to Lead" at an event organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Photographs: Courtesy, Business Standard

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Like Facebook, she connects instantly

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Sandberg sat down among the journalists instead of her designated seat.

She had a bad throat, she said, and wanted to be close.

Close enough for selfies with the reporters present.

Some of them had met her earlier and mentioned those meetings.

Sandberg, naturally, would have forgotten but instantly warmed up to the memories.

Like Facebook, she connected instantly.

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Image: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (left) with a village woman at Kalthana Village, Rajasthan.
Photographs: Courtesy, Sheryl Sandberg's Facebook page

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Like Facebook, she connects instantly

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The author of Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will To Lead, Sandberg, 44, who reports to 30-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, takes women’s empowerment seriously.

Accompanying her into the meeting were four colleagues, all women, including the head of India operations Kirthiga Reddy and public policy head (India), Ankhi Das.

She began with a story on how she started her career from India as part of a World Bank project on leprosy in 1991, working in New Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

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Image: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Photographs: Courtesy, Sheryl Sandberg's Facebook page

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Like Facebook, she connects instantly

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“There were 3-4 million leprosy cases when I was last here, now there are less than 100,000.

“There was no Facebook that time. I used to fax letters to family and office.

“And now, when I look at leprosy, it’s no longer a threat here.

“The way I see it, India has grown so much in the past two decades,” she said, adding Facebook wanted to be a part of the growth story.

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Image: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at the Harvard Business School.
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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Sandberg is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her stay in India.

 “The (Facebook) post with the picture of Prime Minister Modi seeking his mother’s blessings is incredible and my personal favourite,” she said.

“I am a mother too. This really touches my heart.”

Modi is the most followed politician after Barack Obama on Facebook, with 18 million fans.

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Image: Sandberg is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her stay in India.
Photographs: Reuters

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