Sheryl Sandberg. Photo by John Lee.
What does she do? Sheryl Sandberg is a technology executive, activist, and author. She currently works as the chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook, and she is the founder of Leanin.org. In June of 2012, she was elected to the company’s board of directors, becoming the first woman to ever serve on Facebook’s board. Prior to joining Facebook, Sandberg was the vice president of global online sales and operations at Google and was heavily involved in launching Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org. Before her career in technology, Sandberg served as chief of staff for United States Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers.
Who is she? Sheryl Sandberg was born in 1969 in Washington, D.C. Her family moved to North Miami Beach, Florida when she was just two years old. Throughout high school, Sandberg was always at the top of her class, graduating ninth with a 4.646 GPA. A member of the National Honor Society, Sanberg enrolled at Harvard College after high school. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She was awarded the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. She later enrolled at Harvard Business School, graduating in 1995 with her MBA with highest distinction.
While at Harvard, Sandberg co-founded an organization called Women in Economics and Government, spawning a lifelong career in advocated for women in the workplace. Sandberg left her government job when the Republican party gained the US Presidency in November of 2000, moving to Silicon Valley shortly thereafter. She worked as a Google Executive for seven years. In late 2007, she met co-founder and chief executive of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. Immediately after, she accepted the role of Chief Operating Officer at the company.
In March of 2013, Sandberg released her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, co-authored by Nell Scovell. The book concerns business leadership and development, issues with the lack of women in government and business leadership positions, and feminism. In April of 2017, Sandberg released her second book Option B, which discusses grief and resilience in personal and professional life.
Why watch? In 2012, Sandberg was named in the Time 100, an annual list of most influential people in the world according to Time magazine. She has been an important voice in the ongoing data theft investigations and recovery operations, providing a voice for Facebook in a remarkably tumultuous time. To that end, Sandberg’s distinct professional background makes us believe that Facebook will not be her final place of work; we are very interested to see the initiatives Sandberg makes while working at Facebook and beyond.