Sheryl Sandberg has become one of the most influential business people on the planet, having forged an incredible career which has taken her to the very top of the business world. Born in 1969 in Washington D.C., Sandberg's father worked as an ophthalmologist and her mother as a French teacher. Sandberg attended Harvard and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, the top graduating student in her year.
She was immediately snapped up by the World Bank and made a research assistant, working there for two years before attending the Harvard Business School and gaining an MBA with distinction in 1995. Her thesis advisor for her undergraduate degree was Lawrence Summers, who was appointed Bill Clinton's deputy Treasury Secretary and invited Sandberg to act as his chief of staff. They worked together until 2001, when the change of government ushered in a new set of advisors.
Spotting the tech boom underway in Silicon Valley, Sandberg moved there and joined Google, then a small, three year-old company with big ambitions. She was appointed President of Global Online Sales and Operations and worked with the company for seven years, during which time she began to gain a reputation as one of the leading executives in the country.
In March 2008, she took on her biggest role, becoming Facebook's Chief Operating Officer. As COO, Sandberg has been pivotal in seeing Facebook expand its global reach and grow into the behemoth it is today. She's also been instrumental in helping the organisation through some very rough patches, notably accusations of election meddling and 'fake news'.
Sandberg entered the billionaires' hall of fame in 2014, based on her stakes in Facebook, and she became the first woman on its board of directors.
Sandberg has always had a passion for inspiring other women. During her time at Harvard, she founded an organisation called Women in Economics and Government, which aimed to do exactly what it said on the tin. Her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was an international bestseller, and was followed up by Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Both targeted women embarking on or already developing their business careers.
In an age where white, middle-aged men still dominate the boardroom, Sheryl Sandberg is an inspirational woman who has made it to the top through sheer hard work and perseverance.
Graduated from the Harvard Business School
Worked for Google in its infancy
Snapped up by Facebook and made Chief Operating Officer
Became a billionaire in 2014
Has a passion for promoting women in business