9 Ways Sheryl Sandberg Became The Most Powerful Woman In Silicon Valley

Sheryl Sandberg

Photo: Flickr

Sheryl Sandberg has made Fortune’s 50 most powerful women list for the past four years.As Facebook’s COO since 2008, she manages everything from business operations to public policy.

“Without her, we would just be incomplete,” Mark Zuckerberg told Businessweek.

Before that, Sandberg was VP of operations at Google, where she’s credited for the AdWords and AdSense programs. She was also chief of staff for the Treasury Department under Bill Clinton, and an economist with The World Bank.

“A key part of what Sheryl does in her life is helping people advance, to be seen and to be heard,” David Fischer, Sandberg’s deputy at Treasury, told The New Yorker, which just published a great profile of Sandberg.

We looked at the New Yorker profile, as well as other excellent ones in Vogue and Businessweek to compile some of her best pieces of advice on how to make it in Silicon Valley.

'We are who we are. When you try to have this division between your personal self and your professional self, what you really are is stiff. . . . That doesn't mean people have to tell me everything about their personal lives. But I'm pretty sharing of mine,

She networks with other powerful female executives

Sandberg holds 'Women in Silicon Valley' events, where she invites dozens of women from all fields to chat and listen to a guest speaker. Some of the speakers have been: Geena Davis, Billie Jean King, Rupert Murdoch, Meg Whitman and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

After hosting a Cambodian human trafficking activist who shared her personal history, Sandberg stood up and said she wanted to hold a fundraiser for the Somaly Mam Foundation and asked her friends to join her.

The fundraiser raised more than a million dollars, a third of the organisation's annual contribution. (Businessweek)

She leaves her options open

'I always tell people if you try to connect the dots of your career, if you mess it up you're going to wind up on a very limited path. If I decided what I was going to do in college--when there was no Internet, no Google, no Facebook . . . I don't want to make that mistake. The reason I don't have a plan is because if I have a plan I'm limited to today's options,' Sandberg told The New Yorker.

Sandberg is known to pull people aside and tell them exactly what's expected of them, says Facebook's VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer.

Her social skills have also helped Facebook land coveted talent. For example, she called Microsoft's Carolyn Everson from her car, from her home, and from vacation in Mexico. Everson is now head of sales at Facebook.

'One night she left a message saying she was actually going to bed at 9 or 9:30 and that she was exhausted. I was, like, at least this woman sleeps,' Everson told Businessweek.

She wasn't afraid to show a softer side

'I've cried at work,' Sandberg told Businessweek. 'I've cried to Mark. He was great. He was, like, 'Do you want a hug? Are you O.K.?''

Her Facebook colleagues say they like her 'deftness with the subtle form of persuasion known as soft power.'

'I can say very simply I have never seen anyone with her combination of infectious, enthusiastic spirit combined with extraordinary intelligence,' Facebook board member Jim Breyer told Businessweek.

Sandberg is part of an elite group of powerful women leaders

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