On August 28, 1969 Sheryl Sandberg was born in Washington, D.C. She would grow up to become one of the most powerful women in technology and an influential voice in post-modern feminism. The Facebook chief operating officer is also author of the seminal bestseller, Lean In, part-memoir, part-manual on achieving success at work by “leaning in” to career opportunities, in spite of family pressures that compel so many women to dial their careers down.
From a young age, success seemed certain for Sandberg: she graduated from her Miami high school with a 4.6 GPA, majored in economics and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1991, before rounding out her education with an MBA at Harvard Business School. After a brief stint in government (Chief of Staff for the Treasury Department during the Clinton Administration), Sandberg landed in Silicon Valley just in time for the tech boom. As a top Google executive, she helped grow their online ad sales until 2008. By 2014, Sandberg had joined the billionaire’s club thanks to her COO post at Facebook. Overseeing the revolutionary social network, Sandberg helped scale Facebook’s business development making it an exceedingly lucrative global tech powerhouse.
Looking to pay it forward, Sandberg penned the bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead, which has sold over a million copies and inspired a global conversation around helping women achieve their goals. Of the future role of women in leadership, Sandberg famously said: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
Even in tragedy, Sandberg has proven herself an indefatigable leader. After her husband tragically died in 2015, Sandberg wrote her second book, Option B, exploring her grief and resilience after the tragic loss.
When historians look back at the key moments of the twenty-first century, Facebook is sure to make the short list, along with the social networking site’s COO thanks to her inspiring message to “lean in” no matter what comes your way.