The Career Risks That Helped Sheryl Sandberg Land COO at Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg’s awe-inpsiring career has gone from strength to strength, earning her the title of Forbes 7th most powerful woman in 2016 and a net worth of over $1.31 billion.

In addition to her professional success, Sandberg has also become a figure of inspiration for people in the workplace and is especially passionate about gender equality.



Early Career

Today, Sandberg is known worldwide as Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Inc. and bestselling author of ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’. However, long before she joined Mark Zuckerberg, Sandberg was an ambitious business woman with her sights set on big things.

Returning to Harvard College after taking time out to raise her children, Sandberg graduated at the top of her class with a BA in Economics. At the same time, Sandberg co-founded Women in Economics and Government, and took her first step towards establishing better working conditions for business women.

After graduating, Sandberg worked as an economist for World Bank and chief of staff to then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. However, in 1993, Sandberg enrolled at Harvard Business School and earned a MBA (Masters of Business Administration) of the highest distinction to further enhance her impressive resume.

Bringing Goodwill to Google

After graduating from business school in 1995, Sandberg worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company before reuniting with Larry Summers in the Treasury. As a result of politcal changes, Sandberg moved to Silicon Valley in 2001 to join Google as Vice President of their Global Online Sales and Operations.

Throughout her time with Google, Sandberg oversaw major aspects of the tech giant’s operations, but one of her most notible contributions was the launch of their long awaited charitable arm Google.org. As well as donating many millions of dollars in grants and funding, Google.org has pioneered initiatives that have helped other charities and individuals across the globe. After seven years Sandberg was encouraged away from Google by Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg - a move that would catapolt her name and career like nothing before.

A Festive Meeting

Unlike so many who sought to enter its ranks through rounds of interviews and applications, Sandberg was offered her role at Facebook after meeting Zuckerberg at a Christmas party in late 2007.

So entranced by her impressive conversation and illustrious career achievements, Zuckerberg – who at the time wasn’t formally searching for a COO – created the post and quickly persuaded Sandberg to join Facebook rather than The Washington Post as he believed her to be the ‘perfect fit’.

Sandberg joined as a Chief Operating Officer in 2008, but within 2 years her management of business operations (advertising, sales, marketing, business development, communications etc.) enabled Facebook to transform from a great website into a vastly profitable company.

If that impressive achievement wasn’t enough, after just four years, Sandberg became the first woman to be elected to the Facebook board of directors in 2012.

An Inspiration to all

Beyond her core role, Sandberg has strongly advocated for gender equality at home and wtihin the office, encouraging professional women the world over to reach for their goals. Sandberg has also founded the non profit organisation Lean In, which supports and empowers women in the workplace.

At only 46, Sandberg is currently ranked 14th by Forbes as an American Self-made Woman; 8th as a Power Woman, and was named in Time Magazine’s 2012 list of the hundred most influential people in the world. Her qualities have not gone unnoticed in the office either, with a 97% approval rating on Glassdoor to prove it.

Today, Sandberg is the epitome of self-made success and is living proof that with determination, focus and fire, it is possible to achieve your goals in all areas of your life. Not only is Sandberg an inspiration to parents everywhere, but her success inspires professionals in all walks of life.

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