"It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It's also a very clear path to happiness."
- Sheryl Sandberg
Believing that she is the only person who can define her ambition and progress, Sheryl Sandberg has set her goal early. From changing the stereotype of gender in the professional world because she doesn't believe that gender is the thing that can hold anyone back, she tries to change how people see gender and women, and treat them equal.
And with her personal passion, talents and interests, she also carved her way to career and success.
When "accidentally" recruited to be one of the key employees at Facebook, her job as Chief Operating Officer involves the tasks of monetizing the world’s largest social networking site while keeping everyone in it happy. With her skills and knowledge, Sandberg is one of the few executives with the ability, and the reason why she is the "second-in-command" at Facebook.
Sheryl Kara Sandberg was born on August 28th, 1969, in Washington, D.C.. She is the oldest of the three children of Adele (née Einhorn), a French language college teacher, and Joel Sandberg, an ophthalmologist. Her mother was also an English teacher who co-founded Ear Peace-Save Your Hearing, a nonprofit that teaches teens how to prevent hearing loss. When Adele was pregnant with her first child, she dropped out of her Ph.D. to spend more time dedicating herself to her family.
Raised in Jewish family, Sandberg's family was active in helping the Soviet Jews. Her parents were detained and expelled from the USSR before the family moved abroad to the U.S., settling in Florida when Sandberg was two years old.
As a child, Sandberg attended North Miami Beach High School, where she excelled her grades, graduating ninth in her class with a 4.6 GPA. During those moments, she also taught aerobics. Her bright mind continued as she became a sophomore class president, became a member of the National Honor Society, and became a senior class executive board.
After graduating highschool, Sandberg attended Harvard College in which she graduated in 1991 with summa cum laude majoring Bachelor of Arts/Science. She was awarded the John H. Williams Prize because she was the top graduating student.
It was in Harvard that Sandberg's formed some way of her thoughts regarding global economics and gender differences in work and home. Although she said that she wasn't a feminist, she started to see the world though feminism. In her studies, her focus was on economic inequality as well as spousal abuse. She co-founded an organization called Women in Economics and Government, which she said was "to get more women to major in government and economics."
In the year 1995, she graduated Harvard Business School, earning her Master of Business Administration.
Sheryl Sandberg was recruited by her mentor and thesis adviser when she was still at Harvard, Professor Larry Summers. Summers was impressed by her studies and mind that she became his research assistant at the World Bank. Sandberg worked there for about a year on health related projects in India that dealt with AIDS, blindness and leprosy.
After graduating from her Master's degree, Sandberg began her fresh start by working as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company for about a year. Then she resigned and returned to Summers, and worked for him. At that time, Summers was serving the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Sandberg was Summers' assistant, working on the Treasury's work on forgiving debt during Asian's global financial crisis.
Summers and Sandberg worked at the Treasury during Bill Clinton's administration. When the Republicans swept the Democrats out in November 2000, Sandberg left her job and moved to Silicon Valley in 2001 to work for Google as its Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations. Google's mission, which she described as "to make the world’s information freely available," gained her interest.
She was responsible for managing Google's advertising and publishing online products, as well as the company's consumer products and others. She took the position from November 2001 to March 2008.
In 2007, Sheryl Sandberg attended a Christmas party held by Dan Rosensweig. She attended the party because at that time, she was considering to be a Senior Executive for The Washington Post Company.
Among the people at the party, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was present. That moment, he wasn't looking for a candidate for Facebook's COO, but after meeting Sandberg, Zuckerberg thought otherwise. He thought that Sandberg was perfect for the job. Zuckerberg hired Sandberg a year later.
In her new work space and environment, Sandberg's job was to lead Facebook's operation by overseeing the company's business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications. As someone responsible to make the company profitable, Sandberg quickly made several changes to the company.
Facebook was primarily building great features, design and still figuring out the best way to monetize. After Sandberg held her position, Facebook soon agreed to rely on advertising as the social network's primary means of profit. By 2010, Sandberg's venture on the company has made it profitable.
Her decision in joining Facebook in its early stage, and making it profitable, has been well-praised. For her duties and deeds, Sandberg has been rewarded with a compensation of $300,000 in 2011. She successfully made her way into the billionaires' list when she had more than $30 million of Facebook's shares and 38 million of its stock options valued about $1.4 billion in May 2012.
As of August, 2013, Sandberg sold her 4 percent of her total shares, which was 2.4 million shares of the company with the value of about $91 million. In April 2014, she again sold her shares.
More than half of her shares were sold since Facebook went public. Before its IPO, she held approximately 41 million shares in the company; after several rounds of sales she is left with around 17.2 million shares, a 0.5 percent stake in the company, worth about one billion dollars.
Beside being active in Facebook, Sandberg is also participants in other ventures. In 2009, she was one of the Board Member of The Walt Disney Company. She is also serving the Boards of Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development and V-Day. Before, she was a Board Member of Starbucks, Brookings Institution and Ad Council.
Sheryl Sandberg was married at the age of 24 to Brian Kraff, and divorced a year later. She then married Dave Goldberg, a Yahoo! executive and then CEO of SurveyMonkey. The couple has a son and daughter. Goldberg died because of a head trauma in a treadmill accident during the couple's vacation in Mexico.
Following her husband's death, Sandberg wrote a Facebook post:
"Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn't sure what to do, he figured it out. He was completely dedicated to his children in every way – and their strength these past few days is the best sign I could have that Dave is still here with us in spirit.vThings will never be the same – but the world is better for the years my beloved husband lived."
Sandberg lives in Menlo Park, California.
Among her great mind and her career, Sandberg has been praised and criticized by many. Among the honors given to her was: Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune Magazine, Woman to Watch by The Wall Street Journal, 25 Most Influential People on the Web by Business Week, World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes. Her name was made into the list for many years.
Her name was also honored several times on Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Financial Times, Time Magazine and others.
Sandberg is an author of a book named Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.. The book was co-authored by Nell Scovell and published by Knopf on March 11, 2013. The focus was about business leadership and development, and answering issues about the lack of women's role in government and business as well as feminism. The book hit the store and sold more than a million copies, making it a bestseller. She is also the author of Lean In for Graduates that further focuses gender equality at home and work.
As of November 2015, Sheryl Sandberg has a net worth of $1.3 billion according to Forbes.
In June 2022, Sandberg announced that she is leaving Meta, the company created as the parent of Facebook.
She also opened up about her planned summer wedding to Tom Bernthal.
"I'm really excited, she said, saying that after the the death of her late husband Dave Goldberg, she "never thought…that this day would come."
"The fact that I can get ready to walk down an actual aisle with someone I love so deeply means everything," she added.
Sandberg has a son and a daughter, while Bernthal has three children.
It was actually this wedding that made her decision to step down from her position at Meta.
Sandberg said that she had to leave to have "more time for myself and my family."
"It has been the honor and a privilege of a lifetime to do this job, but it's also an honor and privilege that doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else," she said, adding that she also "really wanna focus more on my philanthropy."