When looking at admirable female figures in the world of tech, many over the last few decades think about Sheryl Sandberg.
Holding the role of Meta Platforms’ Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2022, Sandberg played an integral role in the development of the world’s biggest social media platform, moving it from a non-profitable state into a billion-dollar business.
While Sandberg has since retired from the position, she’s remained active in both writing and philanthropy. But it’s safe to say without her work, Meta would not be what it is today.
Sheryl Sandberg’s life & work
Sandberg was born in 1969 in Washington, D.C. before making a move to Miami when she was two. In her younger years, she was already active in her community, holding a role on the senior class executive board as well as being the sophomore class president.
In 1987, Sandberg went to Harvard and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. She also co-founded an organization called Women in Economics and Government, showing an early streak of interest in empowering and furthering women that continues in her work today.
After going to Harvard Business School in 1993 and earning an MBA, she explored several different paths of work, including a management consultant role for McKinsey & Company and as a Chief of Staff for Lawrence Summers, the United States Secretary of the Treasury at the time. She finally landed at Google in 2001, where she spent the next seven years building its ad and sales teams.
Sandberg and Zuckerberg met at a holiday party in 2007, and within a year, he had stolen Sandberg from Google and hired her as the COO of what was then known simply as Facebook. By 2012, Sandberg had joined the board of directors, as well as played an integral role in paving the path for Facebook’s profitability. The company’s valuation was $15 billion when she joined, and by the time she stepped down from the COO role in 2022, it was $319 billion.
Why did Sheryl Sandberg step down from Facebook?
Sandberg announced she would leave Meta as COO in the fall of 2022, but at the time she opted to remain on the board of directors. She wrote a long post on Facebook about her experiences at the company and said, “Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life. I am not entirely sure what the future will bring – I have learned no one ever is. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women.”
On Jan. 17, Sandberg announced in an Instagram post that she would also leave the board, but remain as an advisor to the company, calling the experience “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
What is Sheryl Sandberg doing now?
While Sandberg has decided to leave Meta mostly behind her, she’s remained busy with many new projects. In 2013, she released her first book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which went on to dominate bestseller lists and sell millions of copies. It also inspired her to found Lean In Foundation in 2013, a nonprofit devoted to “offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.”
Sandberg released a second book in 2017 called “Option B,” co-authored with Wharton professor Adam Grant. The book was inspired by the grief Sandberg experienced after the sudden death of her husband Dave in 2015. While very different from her first book, it also became a New York Times bestseller.
Sandberg and her current husband, Tom Bernthal, set up a new investment company in late 2023 called Sandberg Bernthal Venture Partners. Using this fund, she and Bernthal are also investing in health AI startup Cercle, which was announced in Nov. 2023.
Sheryl Sandberg’s net worth
While Sandberg may no longer work for the world’s biggest social media company, her net worth is in better shape than ever before. It currently sits at $1.9 billion, according to Forbes real-time calculations. It’s also the highest it’s ever been, with a 2017 spike taking it from $1 billion to $1.6.