​By Andy Gilmore | University Communications​

AURORA, Colo. — Sometimes, a successful partnership is all about negotiating the most mundane tasks – like how to correctly prepare a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The “PB&J problem,” described by Jean Abbott, M.D., professor emerita of the School of Medicine, was one of the many personal lessons shared during the “Lean In” panel discussion at the 12th Annual CU Women Succeeding Professional Development Symposium on Feb. 28.

The subject was inspired by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book of the same name “Lean In.” The book discusses how women can achieve goals, leadership and a successful career.

Folding or cutting?
The CU panel also included Noelle M. Northcutt, MD, assistant professor, internal medicine; Comilla Sasson, MD, MS, assistant professor, emergency medicine; Carol Rumack, MD, professor, radiology and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education; and Katy J. Brown, DO, a fellow in the Department of Medicine — moved away from the classic panel discussion format by encouraging audience participation.

Abbott, in introductory comments, focused on lessons learned from the “PB&J problem.” Her husband, she explained, insists on folding rather than cutting a sandwich.

That “drove me nuts,” she said. “It’s not the way you make a sandwich.”

Perfection is the enemy
Abbott said she yearned to “stay in charge.” And yet, she knew a successful partnership is an equal partnership. She learned to let it go.

Brown built on Sheryl Sandberg’s claims that “perfection is the enemy” and “Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement” by asking the room to discuss “the myth of doing it all.”

The consensus was that, often, just being able to finish a task – even to a lower standard that would usually be expected – is equal to perfection at that moment.

Attendees are encouraged to continue the discussion by going to www.leanin.org.

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