FORT HOOD — Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, talked about resilience with Fort Hood service members and families Friday during a Military Spouse Appreciation Day event at a packed Palmer Theater.
Sandberg spoke of the resilience she had to develop following the death of her husband, Dave Goldberg, in May 2015. Goldberg died suddenly of a cardiac arrhythmia while exercising on a treadmill during a vacation in Mexico.
Sandberg co-authored a book with University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant titled “Option B,” in which they discuss ways to build resiliency and overcome difficulty.
Sandberg had to cope with the grief of losing her husband and build the inner strength to not only return to the workplace, but to interact with family members, friends and colleagues.
Military spouses face unique challenges from extended periods of separation and sometimes, the death of a spouse. All families deal with such adversities, but military families have a slightly heightened level of risk because of the inherent danger and nature of military service.
Sandberg thanked the soldiers and spouses for the sacrifices they make daily.
“It’s a real honor to be here at Fort Hood on Spousal Appreciation Day and because every day is a day we should appreciate the men and women who serve our country,” Sandberg said.
She spoke on several topics, including gender equality, the contributions of immigrants and minorities in society, and how no industry is using the full talent of the population. Reporters were told she would not take questions about Facebook issues.
Sandberg was at Fort Hood not only to show her appreciation of the military, but to launch “Lean In” circles. The Department of Defense announced in 2015 that it made Lean In an official DoD program, and would allot time and space for service members and civilians to form circles for support and mentorship, to empower women and catapult them into leadership positions. It has since expanded to include men.
“We have a very active Lean In circles program with the military,” Sandberg said. “What we find is that circles help both men and women do their jobs in the military, believe in what they’re doing and support each other.”
Sandberg was also at Fort Hood to help build the Option B community in order to build resilience against adversity.
“I started this (Option B) from my personal loss but resilience was something I had to look for,” Sandberg said.
Sandberg said resilience is something service members and their spouses build every day through the sacrifices they make and the sacrifices they might make for the country.
Sandberg met with spouses and was planning on meeting with spouses of fallen service members after the event.
“I had a chance to meet with some of the spouses, I’m having the chance to meet after this with some of the families of the fallen soldiers and learning from them and their resilience,” Sandberg said.
Sandberg said Option B is not just about building resilience in ourselves but also building collective resilience in the community.
“I’ve learned so much about all the things I would have done differently to support other people who had lost before,” Sandberg said.