We’d like to congratulate Lean In and Sheryl Sandberg on their decision to set up a formal paid internship that does justice to their mission as a company. Here was the official statement concerning their somewhat controversial job posting from August 13th and subsequent move to rectify it.
I am Rachel Thomas, the president of LeanIn.Org.We recognize there is an ongoing public debate on the appropriate use of unpaid interns. So we want to share the facts with you and our community.
Like many nonprofits, LeanIn.Org has attracted volunteers who are passionate about our mission. We’ve had four students ask to volunteer with us. They worked flexibly when they could, and often remotely.
These volunteers helped support our message and community, and gained valuable experience doing so. They did not displace or delay the hiring of paid employees. The posting that prompted this discussion was for a position that doesn’t fall within LeanIn.Org’s definition of a “volunteer.”
As a startup, we haven’t had a formal internship program. Moving forward we plan to, and it will be paid.We support equality – and that includes fair pay – and we’ll continue to push for change in our own organization and our broader community.
Anyone considering setting up an internship program or converting their unpaid internship program should follow Lean In’s example and plan for equality.