Sheryl Sandberg is Leaning In

Sheryl Sandberg was always smart and ambitious, but she didn’t always want everyone to know about it. When she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by her classmates in high school, but made her friend in the yearbook replace her with someone else because she didn’t want that kind of pressure. Also, she wanted to get a date for prom, thinking she wouldn’t get a date if she earned the vote. Sandberg learned to proudly own her success and use knowledge to vault two of the biggest companies in the world to new heights, but also be a strong proponent to help women become leaders of industry. This is the story of Sheryl Sandberg.

After high school, Sandberg went to Harvard in 1987, where she graduated summa cum laude with B.A. in economics in 1991. In 1993, she earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, with highest distinction. During her time at Harvard, she was mentored by Larry Summers, who selected her to become a research assistant for his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury. Sandberg had to leave Washington D.C. after the 2000 election, facing the decision of where to work next. She felt inspired to work in the tech industry because she felt it was going to create real change in the world. Her first job in tech was at a startup company called Google, which of course needs no introduction.

During Sandberg’s tenure at Google as a business-unit General Manager, she helped with many aspects of Google’s day-to-day operations. She made Google’s programs AdSense and AdWords become the company’s main source of revenue. By 2008, she desired yet another new challenge. She left Google to become the COO of Facebook, running the business aspect of the social networking giant while CEO Mark Zuckerberg worked on project development. In her first three years on the job, the number of users grew to 800 million people, which was ten times more users than when she initially took the job. Sandberg remains at Facebook today.

With all of her successes in life, Sandberg has taken an extensive role in making sure that she passes on what she’s learned to others, particularly women who wish to succeed in the workplace. In 2013, her book Lean In was published, and it’s centered on empowering women to become leaders of industry. In the book, she says women should constantly be seeking more, not just in the workplace, but in life. She talks about a more shared responsibility in parenthood so that wives don’t have to be the ones making more professional sacrifices for their families. “Women have to believe in themselves, sit at the table, raise their hand and also find an appropriate way to state their accomplishments so that they can get the reward they deserve,” Sandberg said.

One thing that Sandberg admitted that she didn’t account for in her book was how a single mother could go about ‘leaning in’ successfully. She realized this when she lost her husband unexpectedly in 2015. Amidst the tragedy, Sandberg still charges on in business and makes time for her family, dedicating herself to being home at 5:30 every day. She’s a hardworking example of how women can have it all. Sandberg’s advice to young women is simple yet powerful: “Go into life assuming options are open to you, because that will open doors, don’t prematurely close doors.”

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1 comment
  • Theodore Landry
    Theodore Landry
    Women work hard, they deserve equality. Just an old man's thoughts.
    January 25, 2017