Influential Women: Retracing Sheryl Sandbergs Awe-Inspiring Career & Achievements

By: GWL Team | Friday, 31 March 2023

“There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

These words have been spoken by the renowned technocrat, author and philanthropist, Sheryl Sandberg. She must have taken a leaf from her life’s book while saying these thoughtful words because Sheryl’s career trajectory has been the stuff dreams are made of. From one stepping stone to another, she kept moving towards opportunities to do something meaningful and succeeded at them all. Here’s taking a look at the influential woman leader’s life and career odyssey.

Sheryl is best known for her role as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook. Sheryl was the first woman to serve on Facebook's board of directors, and she played a key role in the company's growth and success. Before joining Facebook, Sheryl worked at Google, where she served as Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations. She was also a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and served as Chief of Staff for the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

In addition to her corporate career, Sheryl is an advocate for women's empowerment and gender equality. She also founded the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, which aims to support women's leadership, economic empowerment, and education.

Sheryl has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and one of Forbes' most powerful women in the world.

Sheryl graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. At Harvard, she was awarded the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. After completing her undergraduate degree, Sheryl attended Harvard Business School, where she earned her MBA with the highest distinction in 1995. While at Harvard Business School, Sheryl was a Baker Scholar, which is awarded to the top 5% of the graduating class.

Leading roles in Technology Firms

Sheryl worked at Google from 2001 to 2008. She was responsible for the company's advertising operations. During her time at Google, She was also responsible for building and managing the online sales channels for AdWords and AdSense, which are two of Google's most important advertising products.

She was known for her focus on data-driven decision-making that could execute on complex projects. She led the development of several new advertising products and helped to improve the user experience on Google's search and advertising platforms.

Further, she worked for Facebook from 2008 to 2021. As a Chief Operating Officer in Facebook, she played a crucial role in the social media giant's growth and was responsible for overseeing the company's business operations, including sales, marketing, and partnerships.

Sheryl is widely credited with helping Facebook become one of the most successful technology companies in the world. She is known for her focus on revenue growth, advertising strategies, and user engagement. In addition to her operational responsibilities, Sheryl is also involved in shaping Facebook's strategic direction and advocating for the company's values, including free speech and open communication.

In 2013, she founded LeanIn.Org, a Non-Profit Organization that aims to support women's leadership and help them achieve their goals. Sheryl also serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Women for Women International and the Center for Global Development.

Prolific Writer

Sheryl Sandberg is also a prolific writer, having authored several books and articles on topics such as leadership, gender equality, and personal growth.

Her most famous book is "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," which was published in 2013. The book became a bestseller and sparked a global conversation about gender inequality in the workplace. In "Lean In", Sheryl encourages women to pursue their ambitions, challenge stereotypes, and lean in to their careers. The book also includes personal anecdotes and research on the barriers women face in the workplace.

In 2017, Sheryl co-authored "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy" with psychologist Adam Grant. The book focuses on how to build resilience and find joy in the face of adversity, drawing from Sheryl’s own experience of coping with the sudden death of her husband.

Sheryl has also written numerous articles on leadership and gender equality for publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine. In these articles, she discusses topics such as negotiation, mentorship, and work-life balance.

Philanthropic work

Sheryl Sandberg is a prominent philanthropist who has donated hefty amounts of her wealth to numerous foundations over the years. Sheryl has been involved in philanthropic activities for many years.

In 2010, Sheryl and her husband Dave Goldberg signed the Giving Pledge, committing to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. Sheryl is also a board member of several NGOs, including ‘V-Day’.

Sheryl founded the LeanIn Foundation to supports and empower women in their personal and professional lives. The foundation provides education, resources, and community support for women to help them achieve their goals.

Sheryl has also donated millions of dollars to education, health, and human rights. In 2014, she donated $31 million to help low-income families in the Bay Area of California. The donation helped fund affordable housing and provided support for families in need.

Overall, Sheryl Sandberg has demonstrated a strong commitment to philanthropy throughout her career. Her contributions have helped improve the lives of many individuals and communities, particularly women and families.