Hema Gokal

Facing the Challenging Path Ahead with Resilience & Motivation Through Lean in Circles

Hema works at the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, where she leads the Lean In initiative for the APAC region. Lean In empowers women to achieve their ambitions and runs programs to counter gender stereotypes and advance opportunities for all women.

Hema’s experience spans Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, across private, non-profit and start-up sectors. She is passionate about gender equality and driving positive social change, most recently working at UN Women as Director of Partnerships, where she managed campaigns such as HeForShe and Equal Pay. 

Lean In’s mission –We want a world where people of every gender can pursue their dreams without bias or other barriers holding them back. Where girls grow up to be confident, resilient leaders. Where more women run companies and countries. We are driven by the belief our society and economy would be better if women and girls were valued as equal to men and boys.

We help women come together to learn from each other and achieve their goals, because women can be a powerful force for change in the world. More than 50,000 women have started Lean In Circles in 184 countries, and new Circles are starting every day. Circles bring together women from all walks of life, from Latina immigrants to women in the U.S. military to so-called “leftover” women in China. In these small groups, women get and give peer mentorship, sharpen their skills, and have a place to be unapologetically ambitious.

We advocate for better public policies and a more equitable workplace, because to make lasting change, we need institutional change. Our Equal Pay Day campaigns take aim at the gender pay gap. Our annual Women in the Workplace study — the largest of its kind — highlights the barriers women face and includes data-driven recommendations for how companies can do better. Our Mentor Her initiative calls on men to mentor and sponsor women, which is critical for workplace equality. On vital issues like sexual harassment and paid family leave, we take a stand.

We run programs to combat bias, because changing the trajectory of women and girls means changing how we think about gender. From research-backed tips for managers to an initiative with the NBA that calls on men to do their part, we give people the tools to push back against bias at work and at home. To challenge gender stereotypes in advertising and media, we curate a collection of more than 15,000 photographs of empowered girls and women in partnership with Getty Images.