Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sparked debate and controversy over women’s opportunities and hurdles in the workforce with her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. 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 1996–2001 she served as Chief of Staff to the US Secretary of the Treasury, spearheading efforts to forgive debt in the developing world. From 2001–2008 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, 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 her wildly popular 2010 TED talk, she asked why there are still so few women business leaders, suggesting that women often take themselves out of the competition for promotions. Her 2013 bestseller, Lean In, 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. After her husband's 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.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Sheryl Sandberg." (Viewed on July 27, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/sandberg-sheryl>.