Former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg graduated summa cum laude from Harvard with a BA in economics in 1991 and worked briefly on health projects for the World Bank before earning an MBA in economics from Harvard in 1995. From 1996 to 2001, she served as Chief of Staff to the US Secretary of the Treasury, spearheading efforts to forgive debt in the developing world. From 2001 to 2008, she worked as Google’s VP of Global Online Sales and Operations and launched Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm. She then became COO of Facebook (now Meta), responsible for making the social media platform profitable through ads and marketing. She became the first female member of Facebook’s board of directors in 2012. In 2022, Sandberg stepped down from the COO position to focus more on her philanthropic endeavors but remained on Meta’s board. In her wildly popular 2010 TED talk, she asked why there were still so few women business leaders, suggesting that women often take themselves out of the competition for promotions. Her 2013 bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, expanded on these ideas but created controversy when critics protested that Sandberg focused too much on changing women’s behavior and ignored their economic and social constraints. Similarly, her 2014 Ban Bossy campaign, which sought to stop the use of the word “bossy” to describe assertive and driven women, instead drew backlash, with critics suggesting the word be reclaimed rather than banned. Two years after her husband's sudden death in 2015, Sandberg wrote Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, in which she both discussed her own grieving process and acknowledged how her assumptions as a privileged woman with a supportive partner had colored her earlier advice to other women. After the 2016 presidential election, Sandberg received heavy criticism for her role in Facebook’s mishandling of user data.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Sheryl Sandberg." (Viewed on December 8, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/sandberg-sheryl>.