Though Sandberg lives in a stunning contemporary home in Silicon Valley with her husband and two children, she isn’t known for having a particularly extravagant lifestyle.
Sandberg comes from a government background and has worked her way up to the top of two major tech companies. Now she’s working on a movement to change women’s position in the workforce, and she’s recruited celebrities and traveled the globe to do it.
Sheryl Sandberg was born on August 28, 1969, in Washington, D.C. She has two younger siblings: a brother named David and a sister named Michelle. The family moved to North Miami Beach when Sheryl was only two years old.
Sandberg's father was an ophthalmologist, and her mother taught French at a local college. The couple founded the South Florida Conference on Soviet Jewry through their local synagogue, and their home soon became a safe haven for Soviet Jews looking to escape anti-Semitism.
Sandberg always shone in school. 'In public schools, for a girl to be smart was not good for your social life,' her mother Adele told the New Yorker.
She went on to Harvard, where she researched with future treasury secretary Larry Summers and graduated at the top of the economics department.
Summers would serve as an important mentor for Sandberg in the beginning phases of her career. When Summers became the Secretary of the Treasury in 1999, Sandberg was his chief of staff.
But after the Democrats lost the 2000 election, she decided to move to Silicon Valley to join the booming tech industry. Though at the time Google was a small company with no consistent revenue, she found the company's mission attractive. Eric Schmidt reportedly called her every week, telling her, 'Don't be an idiot ... This is a rocket ship. Get on it.' She joined Google as business-unit general manager in 2001.
Google grew immensely during Sandberg's time there, and she was eventually promoted to VP for global online sales and operations. But after nearly seven years at the company, she was ready for a new challenge. She began meeting Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg for dinner once or twice a week, first at Menlo Park's Flea Street Cafe and then at Sandberg's Atherton home. Sandberg returned to the cafe for an interview with Oprah in 2013.
After six weeks of dinner meetings, Zuckerberg eventually offered her the COO job. 'There are people who are really good managers, people who can manage a big organisation,' Zuckerberg told the New Yorker. 'And then there are people who are very analytic or focused on strategy. Those two types don't usually tend to be in the same person.' Sandberg celebrated her six-year Facebook anniversary this past March.
She married her longtime best friend, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, in 2004. They have two young children together.
Last year, the couple completed construction on a 9,210-square-foot home in Menlo Park. The home has six bedrooms, a wine room, gym, movie theatre, basketball court, and giant waterfall. Like the upcoming Facebook headquarters, Sandberg's home has a living roof. Rows of solar panels make a bold statement in this traditional neighbourhood.
Sandberg is known by many as an advocate for women's rights in the workplace. In December 2011, she provided some troubling statistics about working women in a TED talk that has since been viewed more than 4 million times.
In March of 2013, she published 'Lean In,' a book that recounts some of her own personal work experience as well as advice for women to pursue top positions in their field.
Arianna Huffington and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw Sandberg a huge party to celebrate the launch. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong were among the important people in attendance.
With 'Lean In,' Sandberg has sparked a feminist movement she hopes spreads across the globe. Her aim is to give women the practical skills they need to reach their goals while encouraging them to support each other in small peer groups she calls 'Lean In Circles.' Here, she meets with female business leaders in India.
In February, she partnered with Getty Images to take stock photos that are meant to change the perception of women in the workforce. The photos depict women in fashionable clothing that aren't pantsuits, as well as older women and 'cool' working mums.
She's enlisted the help of some famous friends along the way. In March, Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Condoleezza Rice starred in a Lifetime PSA that encouraged young girls to take the lead without worrying about being 'bossy.' Sandberg has campaigned against using the word 'bossy,' arguing that it damages women's confidence and desire to pursue leadership roles.
'Lean In' will soon be a movie as well. Sony Pictures reportedly acquired the rights to a film based on the book in January, and all proceeds will go to Sandberg's foundation.
But not everyone has been so crazy about Sandberg's advice to lean in. Some critics say that it's not enough to tell women to have confidence if they're not being given the opportunity to succeed. Others say it's unfair to use Sandberg as a model for all women, as she is able to afford a nanny and a staff at work.
For her part, Sandberg is fairly open about the things she and her husband do to maintain a balance and make sure they are both pursuing their career goals. Sandberg says she has a rule for leaving the office each day at 5:30 so that she can enough time with her family.
And whether or not you agree with her feminist movement, it's clear she's making a difference. Fortune has included her on its list of Most Powerful Women since 2005, and Facebook's stock continues to soar. She's also led the social network in revamping its mobile strategy.
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