How’d She Do It?! Sheryl Sandberg

The name Sheryl Sandberg may not ring a bell immediately to a number of people, but to those who are involved or interested in the technology world, the name makes a buzzing sound. Sheryl Sandberg is widely known for her contribution to one of the world’s most popular social media sites, called Facebook.

Her role at Facebook is chief operating officer, also known as COO. Along with being the chief operating officer of Facebook, she is also a tech executive, activist, author, and billionaire. Yes, you read that right – billionaire! We’re sharing how Sheryl Sandberg came to be the COO and billionaire she is today. A little inspiration can do us all some good!

Where it all started

Born August 28 in Washington, D.C. Sheryl is the oldest of three children. She was the ideal student and parents would be proud to her call their own. By her sophomore year, she became a member of the National Honor Society, combined with being on the senior class executive board.

She was the top of her class and always maintained at least a 4.0 grade point average throughout her high school career. As a result of her hard work through her high school years, Sandberg felt assured she could be accepted into any academic excellence university of her choice. In 1987, she enrolled at Harvard College.

While studying at Harvard College she co-founded an organization that went by the name of Women in Economics and Government. After spending four years at Harvard College, she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s degree in economics. Along with graduating at the top of her class, she was awarded the John H. William Prize in her class for economics.

Building her network

During her undergraduate years, Sandberg met a then professor Larry Summers who later became her mentor and thesis advisor. Sandberg worked closely with Summers, which eventually led him to recruiting her as his research assistant at the World Bank. Sandberg worked at the World Bank a little over a year, where she handled health projects in India.

During her course work, she dealt with the study of leprosy, AIDS, and blindness expansion in the country. She later moved on and enrolled into Harvard Business School in 1993. Following her master studies, she earned her MBA with the highest distinction of her class. Within her first year of business school, she secured a fellowship, which displayed her hard work.

In pursuit of graduating from business school, Sandberg worked as a management consultant for a company called McKinsey & Company that only lasted for a year due to her wanting to further her career. In due course, she started to work with her mentor Larry again, where she was serving as the United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton. She loved the position and was thrilled to be doing something that was bringing her fulfillment.

From government to technology

Sandberg’s role during that time was assisting the Treasury’s work on forgiving debt. Of course, all good things must end and she found a new love and passion in tech. This is when she joined Google. Sandberg’s role at Google was to oversee all of the online sales that were produced by Google’s advertising and publishing teams.

She was also responsible for sales operations of Google’s consumer products and Google Book Search. Talk about a major role change! Nonetheless, Sandberg handled the position with grace and put her hard work ethic to the test. During her time with Google, the ad and sales department experienced major growth. She grew the team from four people to four thousand.

All roads lead to Facebook

While Facebook was making a name for itself, the co-founder Mark Zuckerbeg knew he wanted Sandberg to be a part of his team. He was not searching for a person to fill the role of chief operating officer but knew there was not going to be a better fit other than Sandberg.

When Facebook’s offer reached Sandberg, she said farewell to Google to start a new adventure. After joining the Facebook family, she quickly put her working hat on in hopes of trying to make Facebook more profitable that what is already was.

Sandberg began to incorporate ads discreetly, and just like that, by 2010, Facebook became profitable. With her role as overseeing the firm’s business operations, she again saw her hard work pay off. By 2012, she became the eighth member, as well as the first woman, to join the board of directors of Facebook.


Although, she is known to wear many hats, she still finds time to do things that bring awareness to matters that hold a special place in her heart. You too can be the next Sheryl if you continue to work hard, and not be fearful of taking calculated risks. Her books Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy serve as a great read and should inspire you to stay strong and kick fear in the behind! What do you think of Sheryl Sandberg’s story? Have you read her book? Post a comment below to share!

The CGS Team



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