Sheryl Kara Sandberg is a notable American Business Executive, Billionaire and Philanthropist. Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and the Founder of LeanIn.Org (a global community dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions). She is the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors at Facebook.
An ambitious woman with a do-it-all mindset can achieve anything, and Sheryl Sandberg is just that. She is the COO of Facebook and the Founder of LeanIn.Org
Sanberg was a smart kid with good grades in school. She went on to do her bachelor’s at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and majored in Economics. She worked with Lawrence Summers as her adviser for her thesis during the course. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1991, topping her class. When Summers became chief economist at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., Sandberg joined him there, and together from 1991 to 1993 they worked on projects that helped developing countries. He was an instrumental part in shaping her career during the early years.
After her stint at the World Bank, Sandberg completed her master’s degree from Harvard University in 1995, post which she joined Summers as the Chief of Staff following his appointment as the deputy of Treasury Secretary in 1995. After the Democrats lost the 2000 election, Sandberg decided to move to Silicon Valley to join the booming tech industry.
She was met with an exciting proposition from Google, which wasn’t the big multinational conglomerate today.
“Google had no business units, so what was there to manage generally?” Sandberg told an ABC News/Yahoo! Newsmakers interview. “I was just like, ‘Eric, I- I love Google. I want to take this job. But I don’t know what this job is.'”
“But the next thing he said was, ‘If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, get on, don’t ask what seat.’ I tell people in their careers, ‘look for growth.’ Look for the teams that are growing quickly. Look for the companies that are doing well.”
And just like that, Sandberg joined Google as Manager of its business unit. During her time at Google, the company grew at an exponential speed. She soon found herself with the title of Vice President of global online sales and operations. She was in charge of the development of AdWords and AdSense. Both of which helped Google become profitable and were responsible for much of Google’s earnings. In 2004 she was put in charge of Google’s for-profit philanthropy arm, Google.org, which focused on the problems of climate change, public health, and poverty.
After a seven-year stint at Google, Sandberg decided it was time to move on. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg persuaded her into taking the COO position at his social media giant, Facebook. He later said at the interview, “A big theme of this hire is that there are parts of our operations that, to use a pretty trite phrase, need to be taken to the next level. Ms Sandberg will help Facebook expand overseas and develop an advertising network that will help justify its carbonated $15 billion valuations, set last year when Microsoft invested $240 million for 1.6 per cent of the company. She will also oversee Facebook’s marketing, human resources, and privacy departments and essentially guiding how Facebook presents itself and its intentions to the outside world.”
Her role at Facebook has richly rewarded; she made her way onto the billionaires’ list in early 2014, thanks to her Facebook stake. Furthermore, she became the first female member of the company’s board of directors in 2012.
Sandberg said Zuckerberg gave her great advice during her first performance review that transformed her life.
“He said, ‘Sheryl, your biggest problem is – you’re trying to please everyone all the time. You’re trying not to say anything that anyone objects to. You don’t make a change in the world; you don’t have an impact in the world unless you’re willing to say things that not everyone will like.’ Really important advice for me,” Sandberg said. “I don’t think I would have written this book if Mark hadn’t said that to me.”
Sandberg is also known as an advocate for woman rights in the workplace. In March of 2013, she published “Lean In,” a book that recounts some of her personal work experience and advice for women to pursue top positions in their field.
Lean In points out men apply to jobs when they meet merely 60 per cent of the listed requirements, while women wait until they meet 100 per cent. Men also negotiate for higher salaries far more often than women. For example, of a graduating class of Carnegie Mellon students, 57 per cent of the men initiated negotiations, compared to 7 per cent of women.
“I want to be clear: I am not saying that men are too self-confident. That’s not the problem. The problem is that women aren’t self-confident enough,” says Sandberg.
She took help from some infamous personalities along the way. In March 2014, Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Condoleezza Rice starred in a Lifetime PSA that encouraged young girls to take the lead without worrying about being “bossy.” Sandberg has campaigned against using the word “bossy,” arguing that it damages women’s confidence and desire to pursue leadership roles in her #banbossy campaign that went viral.
In 2015 Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly and she was left heartbroken. She wrote about his death and dealing with adversity in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (2017; co-written with Adam Grant). The book offers guidance on overcoming various challenges and hardships that we face in life. But Sandberg found love again and is now engaged to Tom Bernthal, American marketing CEO and former NBC News producer.
Fortune has included her on its list of Most Powerful Women since 2005, and Facebook’s stock continues to soar. Sandberg is an icon for the feminist movement, and through her efforts, we can see she’s making a difference. Let’s toast to shattering glass ceilings and making a mark in patriarchial dominated society.