Take the Lead Challenge kicks off at Tempe campus, features Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

ASU President Dr. Michael Crow speaks to a crowd at Gammage Auditorium Feb. 19. about the changing roles of women in the world. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez) ASU President Dr. Michael Crow speaks to a crowd at the Gammage Auditorium on Feb. 19. about the changing roles of women in the world. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told a sold out audience at the Gammage Auditorium at the Tempe campus that women should embrace power and seek leadership roles at the Take the Lead Challenge launch event Wednesday.

Take the Lead, a nonprofit motivational organization with the intent of inspiring leadership encouraged authenticity, leadership and courage in women.

The event featured professionals sharing their personal hardships with leadership parity, or equivalence of rank with their professional counterparts, and encouraged success through the development of skills and motivation. The event aimed to move away from “the problem” and instead equip people with leadership capability.

Featured guest Sandberg addressed various gender parity dynamics including the perceptional, cultural and economic factors that influence a person’s likeliness to pursue leadership roles within his or her community.

“It’s all about whether or not women are willing to embrace their power and being willing to use it,” she said. "I wanted to give them specific power tools.”

Founded by Gloria Feldt and Amy Litzenberger, the organization challenged the ASU community to pair inspiration with action, by expecting leadership roles in women.

An accomplished author, Feldt said she came to realize that leadership empowerment in women needed to be more than the book she wrote.

“I’m trying to spread awareness and action,” she said.

Astronauts, singers and poets were few of the many professions that were represented at the event.

Feldt said education is important because it exposes errors in society allow them to change.

With a sold out audience and a large online audience, the event globally sent its message out, that leadership parity in the work force was a right women everywhere needed to claim.

Carla Harris, the first motivational speaker of the evening, propelled the audience by saying, or rather singing her message, which was to “expect to win.” Authenticity, expectation and courage were the main components of her speech.

“The issue with keeping your head down is that you submerge your voice,” she said.

Harris was one of the many speakers who demanded engagement from the audience.

“Perception is the copilot to reality,” she said.

Harris engaged actively with the audience advocating on the behalf of woman leadership. She gave her “pearls” or advice and input with the hope that people will not only become inspired, but act on that inspiration.

Reach the reporter at kjonessc@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @_KennedyScott

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