When Fidji Simo was an exec at Facebook, she discovered she had a chronic health condition. That meant: taking meetings from her bed, fainting at work, and awkward conversations with her bosses. That experience taught Fidji how to be a leader while taking care of herself and putting her health first. A lesson she now brings to her team at Instacart, where she’s the CEO.
On the Difference Between a Mentor and a Sponsor
Fidji: Mentors are people who invite you for coffee. They give you some really great advice. They give you a nice pep talk and it's all lovely. I mean, it’s something that we all need and that's very welcome. But sponsors go a step further. Sponsors actually put their reputation on the line to help you. They open doors for you. And that's very different. And I’ve seen it play out many times when you're in the room and promotions are being discussed. Who is going to be the person who convinces the rest of the room that you're deserving of that promotion?
On Balancing Her Work & Her Chronic Condition
Fidji: As I thought about my career, I thought that it's already annoying enough to have a chronic condition. The thing that would be doubly annoying is to let that chronic condition get in the way of your dreams. And I just don't want to let that stop me. That means that some things are harder, for sure. But I think on balance, I will be a happier individual if I continue to have the career I want to have, despite the harsh challenges.
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