Sheryl Sandberg: Who Changed The World Around Her

Sheryl Sandberg, full name Sheryl Kara Sandberg, is an American technology executive who has been the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the social networking company Facebook from 2008 to date. With a reported net worth of US $1.8 billion, she is one of the wealthiest women in the world. She is clearly and for many great reasons, one of those women who inspire the world to believe that women have it in themselves to go big. A symbol of women empowerment and a model for women to look up to and follow, Sheryl Sandberg has paved her way to success and recognition through a great deal of hard work and talent.

Education and Work

Sheryl Sandberg studied economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She worked on her undergraduate thesis with the economist Lawrence Summers as her adviser. She was the best student in her class and always stayed at the top. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1991. Sandberg joined Lawrence Summers at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., where he was the chief economist. They worked together for two years, from 1991 to 1993, on different projects concerned with the development of countries. In 1995, she received a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard. After this, she worked at the management of the global consulting firm McKinsey and Company for a year. Summers became deputy secretary of the Treasury in 1995 and Sandberg joined him at the Treasury Department as chief of staff in 1996. She continued to be his chief of staff as Summers progressed to the position of Treasury Secretary. She worked at this post from 1999 till 2001 when he left the post.

Sandberg has shared previously that her parents instilled in her that the time to find someone to marry was in college because that is when all the good ones are there. Amidst these events, at the age of 24, she married a businessman, Brian Kraff, but the two got divorced only after a year. According to Cosmopolitan, Sandberg was nervous that her divorce would prevent her from finding someone else.

Sandberg’s Instrumental Role

There was a time when Google was a very small company consisting of less than 300 people and was not making a profit. However, Sandberg decided to join it because she found the company’s higher mission attractive which was to make the world’s information freely available. It is reported that Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time, called her every week and told her “Don’t be an idiot…This is a rocket ship. Get on it.” In 2001, Sandberg joined the search engine company Google, Inc., as general manager of its business unit at the time. She took over the ad program which had a total of four people working on it. She was in charge of the development of both AdWords and AdSense which helped Google become a profitable company and were responsible for most of Google’s earnings.

In 2004, she remarried her long time best friend, Dave Goldberg, who she had known for around ten years and had dated for five years. She had a son with him in 2005 and a daughter two years later. In 2011, Sandberg at the Business Insider’s Ignition conference said, “The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.” Goldberg became the CEO of Survey Monkey in 2009.

Google got immense growth during Sandberg’s time there. She played an instrumental role in landing a deal; with AOL to make Google its search engine. Soon after, she became vice president of global online sales and operations. After 7 years, she was offered the position of the chief financial officer by Google’s CEO. She turned it down asking for a more responsible position of Chief Operating Officer. But the executives at Google did not want to mess with the already existing decision-making panel which comprised of three men. Fortunately, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook whose company was relatively new then, was pursuing her. He courted her for several weeks to work at his company and offered her the position of COO at Facebook. That is an amazing success story right here.

Women Rights Advocate

Sheryl Sandberg has been known as an advocate for the rights of women at workplaces. She has campaigned against the word ‘bossy’ used for women who have leadership skills. She believes it is damaging to their confidence and puts a very important quality in a bad light. She has also partnered with Getty images to take stock photos to help change the way women are perceived at workplaces. In 2013, she published a book titled Lean In which recounts her personal experiences regarding her career and offers some really good advice for women who want to pursue their dreams. “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes”, says Sandberg in the book.


Sandberg announced in 2014 that she and her husband would be signing the Giving Pledge. It is a commitment by billionaires to donate at least half of their fortune during their life or upon their death to charity. Moreover, she has given some very generous donations to very important organizations. One of which is Planned Parenthood where she has donated a million dollars

Her Second Book

A tragedy struck her in 2015 when she lost her husband while on a vacation in Mexico. She wrote an essay on dealing with grief which two years later turned into a book in 2017. In this book, she shares her personal experience with death and other adversities that she faced.

She became the CEO of Survey Monkey after her husband’s demise. The company went public in 2018 and said that a 10% stake would be donated to the charity that Sandberg had founded in her husband’s honor: The Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation.

Her contributions to the tech industry afterward have continued and she truly can be looked up to as someone who changed the world around her. She changed and upped the game for so many companies that are thriving today. We hope and wish her more growth, strength, and empowerment.

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