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Carolyn Everson, Facebook's Other 'First Lady,' Enters The Spotlight

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CAROLYN EVERSON
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As Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" continues to dominate discussions about women and the workplace and tops bestseller lists, a second "First Lady" of Facebook is voicing her thoughts on work-life balance.

Like Sandberg and an estimated 70.6 percent of US women, Carolyn Everson is a working mother. The 41-year old, who has an MBA from Harvard and has worked in senior positions at Pets.com, MTV and Microsoft, is currently Facebook's global advertising chief and is raising ten-year-old twin daughters.

The media turned its attention to Everson in May 2011 with a profile in AdAge, and the spotlight has been intermittently on her ever since, especially as she has begun to speak publicly about her own efforts to juggle her career and parenthood. She was the subject of a January 2012 "Worldmakers" segment, a September 2012 Bloomberg "Women to Watch" profile and a March 2013 interview in the London Evening Standard, among other coverage.

Like Sandberg, Everson, an American who moved to London in December 2012, has a lot to say about women and work. She told the Evening Standard that she has discussed "leaning in" extensively with Sandberg during their years of work together, and spoke out about her own views on the subject in the March 2013 interview.

“I do think women get to a point where they have to love their job and their career," Everson told the Standard. "It has to be so fulfilling and they have to feel as if they are having impact, in order to make the sacrifices they may feel they have to make on the home front. Women get to a point where if they are not fulfilled in their career, the inclination is to stay at home, which is totally understandable.”

In an October 2011 interview with genConnect's Nancy Spears, Everson stated that her daughters and her husband were her top priority, but that it's important to teach her children the value of work. “I say 'mommy works because we need to pay the mortgage' … I am trying to instill a work ethic in the kids that hopefully will last a lifetime.”

Everson's Bloomberg "Women To Watch" video shows her getting her daughters ready for camp, listening to their piano practice and worrying if they have enough sunscreen, interspersed with scenes from the office and interview clips about her professional history and plans for Facebook's future. Everson describes her career more as a jungle gym -- a term Sandberg also uses -- than the traditional corporate ladder.

"If you look back at my career, at any given moment, I could have stayed on the ladder," Everson told Bloomberg special correspondent and Huffington Post senior editor Willow Bay. "But I actually chose not to do that. I chose not to focus on the next promotion or the next opportunity, but rather build my toolkit."

In a 2012 interview with The Huffington Post's Bianca Bosker, Everson revealed that she brings her daughters on at least one business trip per quarter, and on the whole aims for "work-life integration."

"Her rule is to attend every 'first' -- first school play, first concert, or first hockey game," Bosker reported.

Everson says she is committed to paving the way for women in the workplace and says she hopes that her own daughters will have every option open to them. “I want them to believe that they can achieve anything they set out to," she told the Standard. "...I just want them to know that they have every opportunity to achieve what their dreams are."

According to her genConnect interview, the best piece of advice Everson received on "having it all" came from the senior VP of marketing at Coca-Cola, Wendy Clark, who told her: "Think about how your family can be part of your job, and vice versa, as opposed to trying to divide everything up."

As for offering her own words of wisdom to other women, Everson told Bosker: "Don’t look at the world as men versus women, look at the world as though we’re all on one team. Everyone has just as much right as everyone else to have a voice, to think about career progression, to go home and be there for their family, including men."

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