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Monday, July 15, 2019

Sheryl Sandberg’s Career: Facebook’s Capable Leader

Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg’s career shouldn’t be measured by profit margins, but rather by the praise of the people around her. Though she has recently been criticized for her role in Facebook’s privacy scandals, her career has encompassed much more than that.

Early Life and Education 

Sheryl Sandberg was born in Washington, D.C., the eldest of three children. When she was two, the family moved to North Miami Beach, where Sandberg excelled in academics and eventually graduated from high school with a 4.65 GPA as a member of the National Honor Society. Her educational achievements continued at Harvard University, where she pursued an undergraduate degree in Economics. After graduating summa cum laude in 1991 and completing her MBA at Harvard Business School in 1995, she become a research assistant and later an economist at the World Bank. In 2000, after working in the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Clinton administration, she left for Silicon Valley and worked for Google for seven years. Her success at Google opened the door for her to work for Facebook, where she has held the position of Chief Operating Officer since 2008.


Sheryl Sandberg has been at the center of a string of Facebook scandals, though she has defended Facebook’s actions through it all. It began with the Russian government’s supposed interference in the 2016 presidential election—the charge is that Facebook ignored signs that Russian media outlets and agents were subverting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in order to benefit Donald Trump’s. On the heels of the controversy, some media outlets called for the disbanding of Facebook and other large social media companies such as Twitter and YouTube. In February 2018, a Belgian court demanded Facebook stop tracking people across the Internet, and in March of that year, a colossal data theft scandal rocked Facebook again.

In a Facebook post written in November 2018, Sandberg acknowledged that she and other board members responded far too slowly to the threat of Russian interference. However, she maintains that “to suggest we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or we wanted to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations, is simply untrue.” Facebook has undertaken massive policy changes to hopefully strengthen privacy. Under the leadership of Sandberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is planning to restrict data apps’ access to private information and to create an app that allows Facebook users to track and revoke access to their data.


Valued at over $1.31 billion, Sandberg has certainly made a few excellent career decisions. For example, while at Google, she developed and managed online sales channels for AdWords and AdSense. In turn, the technology company became massively profitable. Sandberg also launched Google’s charitable organization, which provides grants to data- and technology-focused nonprofits. Furthermore, we can credit her for Facebook’s current success as a profitable company because, under her direction, the company went from an annual loss of $65 million to turning a $3.7 billion profit. She is continually included on lists of powerful, successful businesswomen and has inspired other career-driven women to pursue greatness. She speaks specifically to professional women in feminist writings such as her international best-seller Lean In and through outreach programs.

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