Sheryl Sandberg - The most prolific woman in tech

Feb 01, 2012

Table of contents:

  1. Sheryl’s education
  2. Working for the US Government
  3. At Google
  4. At Facebook
  5. What’s next for Sheryl?

Sheryl Sandberg, currently the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Facebook, has already had one of the most illustrious careers in business and technology. Formally of the US Government and Google, Sheryl is one of the most successful and prolific women in business and technology. After her time at Google and the forthcoming Facebook IPO, Sheryl is one of the richest people in Silicon Valley. How did she reach this stage and what does the future hold for her in Silicon Valley or back in Washington DC? Here is a profile of Sheryl Sandberg, the most prolific women in tech.

Sheryl’s education

Sheryl graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics. A couple of years later she would attend Harvard Business School to get an MBA. It was during her time at Harvard that she met Larry Summers who became her thesis advisor and would later become President of Harvard between 2001 and 2006 (as depicted in The Social Network).

Working for the US Government

Her early relationship with Larry Summers lead her to become Chief of Staff for Summers when he took the position of Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton. Much of Sheryl’s time working for the US Government was spent in India and Asia where she developed a taste for philanthropy and helping third world nations.

At Google

After her stint in the US Government, Sheryl joined Google and become Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations where she built and managed the online sales channels for advertising and publishing and operations for consumer products. Sheryl was not a typical Googler as she did not have a degree in Computer Science. Whilst at Google, Sheryl also created the philanthorpy aspect of the search giant’s business

At Facebook

Sheryl would eventually meet Mark Zuckerberg and in March 2008 Sheryl was named as Facebook’s Chief Operations Office. Prior to Sheryl’s role at Facebook, the company was struggling to find a business model and was uneasy with how Facebook should adopt advertising. Sheryl came to the company with a wealth of knowledge and understanding from Google about how the online advertising industry worked. Sheryl lead Facebook’s adoption of advertising and helped create their advertising platform. It was under Sheryl that Facebook finally become profitable. At Facebook, Sheryl oversees sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications.

What’s next for Sheryl?

Sheryl has already made the big move from one tech giant to another, but also has the experience and background from her time in the US Government. Sheryl has already proven herself at Google and has turned Facebook from a group of college students with a cool product to a fully fledged and credible business that could IPO for $100 billion. There’s no doubt about Sheryl’s business acumen, so what will she do next?

Sheryl might decide to stay at Facebook after the IPO, although I don’t think she’ll stick around for ever. A high achiever like Sandberg will want to get on to the next challenge. She could also make the move to another up and coming tech giant and once again nurture the business side of the company and mature it along the same lines as Facebook and Google. If she was to do this, she would cement her name in Silicon Valley folklore. However there is one final path Sheryl could take. With her time previously working in the Government, and her ambition to help the world through her philanthropic efforts, could we see Sheryl submit her bit to become the first female US President?

Philip Brown


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