Sheryl Sandberg is an American business executive and philanthropist. One of the most prominent female executives in the tech industry, Sandberg served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Meta (formerly known as Facebook) from 2008 to 2022. She is the founder of the nonprofit organization LeanIn.Org. In 2012, Sandberg became the first woman to get elected to the board of directors at Facebook. Previously, Sandberg worked as the Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. Before that, Sandberg was the Chief of Staff for United States Secretary of the Treasury, Lawrence Summers.
Her family relocated to North Miami Beach when she was two. She did her primary schooling at Highland Oaks Middle School in North Miami-Dade and entered North Miami Beach High School when she was in 10th grade. After graduating from North Miami Beach High School in 1987, she enrolled herself at Harvard University, Cambridge, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (1987-1991).
There, she studied Public Sector Economics under Professor Lawrence Summers. From 1993 to 1995, she attended Harvard Business School in Boston, where she earned her MBA. Sheryl Sandberg- LinkedIn She won a fellowship after her first year at the business school and graduated with summa cum laude, the highest distinction from Harvard, and Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor. At Harvard, she co-founded a group initiative called ‘Women in Economics and Government.’ She wrote her thesis on “How economic inequalities contributed to spousal abuse” while Lawrence Summers served as her thesis advisor.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Sheryl Sandberg’s father, Joel Sandberg, is an ophthalmologist. Her mother, Adele Sandberg, taught English as a second language at an EF International Language School in Miami Beach. Sheryl has two younger siblings. Her brother, David Sandberg, is a pediatric neurosurgeon, and her sister, Michelle Sandberg, is a pediatrician.
Husband & Children
In 1993, she got married to the Washington businessman Brian Kraff; the couple parted ways in 1994. In 2004, Sheryl Sandberg got married to American management consultant and businessman David Bruce Goldberg (better known as Dave Goldberg) at the Boulders Resort in Carefree, Ariz. Together, they have two children, a son (born in 2005) and a daughter (born in 2007).
On May 1, 2015, Dave Goldberg died due to an arrhythmia caused by undiagnosed coronary artery disease while he was on a vacation with Sandberg in Punta Mita, Mexico. In August 2022, Sheryl Sandberg got married to Tom Bernthal, the co-founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based consumer strategy firm Kelton Global and a former Emmy Award-winning NBC News producer. Previously, Tom Bernthal was married to Leah Bernthal with whom he has three children.
Sheryl Sandberg’s mother-in-law Paula Goldberg (Dave Goldberg’s mother) is the founder and executive director of the Non-profit organization Pacer Center. Her late father-in-law Mel Goldberg (Dave Goldberg’s father) was an associate dean and a professor of law at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.
Her brother-in-law Jon Bernthal (Tom Bernthal’s brother) is an actor who starred as Frank Castle in Marvel’s TV series The Punisher.
In the summer of 1996, Sandberg made acquaintance with Dave Goldberg in Los Angeles. Goldberg founded LAUNCH Media in 1994 and led it through its acquisition by Yahoo Inc. in 2001. While working at Yahoo in Los Angeles, he started dating Sandberg in 2002, who was then working as an advertising executive at Google in the Bay Area. In an interview, Goldberg revealed that they flipped a coin to choose where they were going to live, Los Angeles or Bay Area. After losing the coin flip, he relocated to Bay Area and commuted from there to L.A. After dating Goldberg for two years, she got married to him in 2004.
After the demise of Dave Goldberg in 2015, she started dating American businessman Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard. The couple was in a relationship from 2016 to 2019.
She started dating Tom Bernthal in 2019. The couple was first introduced by Rob Goldberg, the brother of Sandberg’s late husband Dave Goldberg.
Belongs to a Jewish family, she follows Judaism. Her great-great-grandmother, Chana Bassa, moved from Vilnius, Lithuania, to Ellis Island in June 1889 to escape religious persecution against Jews. Her parents, Adele and Joel, were involved in the movement to free Soviet Jews and helped to found the South Florida Conference on Soviet Jewry. Growing up, Sandberg lived in a home that served as an unofficial headquarters for Soviet Jews who wanted to escape anti-Semitism and a temporary hotel for many who had finally won the right to emigrate. During her childhood, Sandberg accompanied her parents to rallies against anti-Semitism. The Forward
In January 1991, when Professor Lawrence Summers became the chief economist at the World Bank, he recruited Sandberg as a research assistant. Sandberg worked for Summers for about two years after which she went on to attend Harvard Business School. From 1995 to 1996, she pursued a job at McKinsey & Company, while she was briefly married to Brian Kraff. In 1996, she again started working for Summers, who was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin in 1995. In 1999, when Summers succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury, Sandberg started working as the Chief of Staff for him. When the Democrats lost the 2000 elections, Sheryl Sandberg quit her job at the Treasury and decided to move to Silicon Valley to join Google.
When Sandberg joined Google as the business-unit general manager in 2001, it was a private company, barely three years old, with no steady revenue stream. Thereafter, she took over the company’s ad program, which had four people working on it at the time. There, she was responsible for online sales of Google’s advertising and publishing products as well as for sales operations of Google’s consumer products and Google Book Search. Sandberg contributed to Google’s massive growth during her time there, and she was also instrumental in landing a deal with AOL to make Google its search engine. Eventually, she was promoted to the position of Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations, a position which she served until March 2008.
Meta (formerly known as Facebook)
For fourteen years, from March 2008 to August 2022, she served as Chief Operating Officer at Meta, the company’s second-highest rank after CEO Mark Zuckerberg. At Facebook, she oversaw the firm’s business operations including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, and communications. Sandberg made Facebook profitable by making it a platform for small business advertising. Her efforts increased the company’s ad revenue by 37% during 2021, to nearly $115 billion. In 2012, she became the first woman to join Facebook’s board of directors. On June 1, 2022, Sandberg announced her resignation from the position of Meta’s COO via a Facebook post, saying that she wanted to focus on her philanthropic work and parenting her five children with Bernthal.
In 2009, Sandberg was named to the board of The Walt Disney Company. She has also served on the boards of Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development, and V-Day. Previously, she was a board member of Starbucks, Brookings Institution, and Ad Council. She joined the board of SurveyMonkey in 2015.
The Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation
The Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation (SSDGFF) is a California-based, private, 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit founded and primarily funded by billionaire Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg which primarily supports two key initiatives, Lean In and Option B. While one focus at helping women advance and succeed in their professional lives by pursuing equal pay initiatives, mentorship, and sexual harassment support. The other focuses on supporting people who face adversity, whether it’s grief and loss, incarceration, and divorce.
LeanIn.Org (Lean In Foundation)
In 2013, Sandberg founded LeanIn.Org in the aftermath of the success of her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which encouraged women to assert themselves at work and at home. LeanIn.Org offers inspiration and support through an online community, free education materials, and Lean In Circles, small groups of peers who meet regularly to learn and grow together. “Lean In” catapulted Sandberg into a household name and a role model and icon for women across the globe. The organization is known for launching various popular campaigns like #BanBossy and #LeanInTogether. A self-censorship campaign, #BanBossy criticized the use of the word “bossy” to describe assertive girls and women, citing that the word discouraged women from seeking positions of leadership.
In 2017, Sheryl founded OptionB.Org after releasing her book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. A nonprofit organization, Option B is dedicated to helping people build resilience in the face of adversity by giving them the tools to help their family, friends, and community. At optionb.org, one can read and share personal stories, join groups for solidarity and support, and find expert information and resources.
The Giving Pledge
In 2014, Sheryl and her husband, Dave, got associated with The Giving Pledge, a group of billionaires who pledge to donate at least one-half of their fortunes to charitable causes.
Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Elections
In 2016, the Russian government interfered in the U.S. presidential election to harm the campaign of Hillary Clinton and boost the candidacy of Donald Trump to increase political and social discord in the US. On May 17, 2017, American lawyer and government official Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to oversee an investigation into allegations of Russian interference. According to his report, the Russian government had used the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Kremlin-linked troll farm, to wage a social media campaign that included anti-Clinton and pro-Trump advertisements. The Report also claimed that IRA spent $100,000 on more than 3,500 Facebook advertisements from June 2015 to May 2017. The Verge Following the release of the report, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg received a lot of criticism for first ignoring and then trying to conceal the full extent of Russia’s use of the social network. Later, The New York Times published an article accusing the duo of deflecting public scrutiny onto its competitors. The New York Times Thereafter, Sandberg took to Facebook to address the claims of The New York Times. CNBC She dismissed the allegations, saying,
Mark and I have said many times we were too slow. But to suggest that 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…As Mark and I both told Congress, leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia and reported what we found to law enforcement.”
Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal
In 2018, Christopher Wylie, a former employee of British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, disclosed that personal data belonging to millions of Facebook users was collected without their consent by Cambridge Analytica in 2015 for political advertising. Cambridge Analytica used the data to provide analytical assistance to the 2016 presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Based on this data, Cambridge Analytica chose to target users that were more prone to impulsive anger or conspiratorial thinking than average citizens. In the aftermath of Wylie’s claims, Facebook apologized for its role in the data harvesting, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg paid a £500,000 fine to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for exposing the data of its users. Later, The Wall Street Journal claimed that Mark Zuckerberg had blamed Sandberg and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica during a meeting. Business Insider Although Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were in line to give hours of depositions in response to a lawsuit that was filed against Facebook in the aftermath of the scandal, the company reached a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in 2022. The Verge
2021 Riot at the U.S. Capitol
On January 6, 2021, a mob consisting of Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. following his defeat in the 2020 United States presidential elections. The attackers aspired to keep Trump in power by disrupting a joint session of Congress from counting the electoral college votes which would have formalized the victory of Joe Biden. Consequently, Facebook came under public scrutiny for serving as a platform for the organization of the mob. The Washington Post Tabloids claimed that fliers and hashtags promoting the pro-Trump rally circulated on Facebook and Instagram in the days and weeks beforehand which boosted the attendance at the rally. Thereafter, Sandberg was accused of downplaying Facebook’s role in the Capitol attack as she deflected the blame onto its competitors saying, Forbes
I think these events were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency.”
Pressuring the Daily Mail to Drop Stories About her boyfriend CEO Bobby Kotick
On April 21, 2022, a report in The Wall Street Journal claimed that Sandberg had allegedly pressured the Daily Mail to drop unflattering stories about her then-boyfriend, Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Bobby Kotick in 2016 and 2019. Apparently, the Daily Mail was about to expose the story of a temporary restraining order against Kotick that had been obtained by his former girlfriend in 2014. According to the Journal, Kotick told his associates that Sandberg had warned the Daily Mail that if any article was published against Kotick, it could damage the outlet’s relationship with Facebook. The Wall Street Journal Thereafter, Sandberg became the subject of internal scrutiny at Facebook for allegedly pulling resources from both Activision Blizzard and Meta to quash stories about Bobby Kotick. The article also stated that Facebook was reviewing if Sandberg had actually violated the company’s rules. The Guardian
Using Corporate Resources For Her Personal Project
In June 2022, The Wall Street Journal alleged Sheryl Sandberg was under investigation at Meta for using corporate resources for her personal projects including writing her second book around 2016-17 and her wedding to Tom Bernthal in 2022. The Wall Street Journal
During the 2016 presidential elections, Sheryl Sandberg supported Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party. Politico Although she hinted that was likely to support a Democratic candidate in the 2020 elections, she declined to endorse Elizabeth Warren. CNBC
In 2021, she was included in Forbes Magazine’s billionaires’ list for having a net worth of $ 1.7 billion, due to her stock holdings in Facebook and in other companies. As per Forbes, her real-time net worth is $1.5 billion (as of 2022). Forbes
- In 2012, she was named in the Time 100, an annual listicle of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was also listed on Forbes Magazine’s 2021 billionaires list for having a net worth of $1.7 billion. Sandberg has been ranked one of the 50 “Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune Magazine numerous times from 2007 to 2018. She was also named in the list of 50 “Women to Watch” by The Wall Street Journal in 2007 at rank 19 and in 2008 at rank 21.
- On March 11, 2013, Sandberg released her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, co-authored by media writer Nell Scovell. In 2013, Lean In was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award and Thinkers50 Best Book Award.
- In April 2017, Sandberg released her second book, Option B, which she co-authored with professor Adam Grant.
- In 2022, Forbes calculated that Sandberg had parted with 92% of the shares in Facebook ever since the company went public in 2012; Sandberg owned nearly 17.9 million shares as of March 2013. The report revealed that she had been aggressively unloading her stake in the company, and she had offloaded about 30% of her stake after Facebook’s May 2012 initial public offering. In 2015, she sold an additional 42% of her shares. The sales slowed down in 2016 before coming to a halt in 2019.
- American author Shoshana Zuboff labeled Sandberg as “the Typhoid Mary of surveillance capitalism” in her book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power” (2019) for profiting off the collection of data from social media users’ online behavior, preferences, shared data and relationships.
- She has given the Commencement Address at various recognized institutions like Barnard College in 2011, the University of California, Berkeley in 2016, Virginia Tech in 2017, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 2018.
- In 2012, The Guardian termed Sandberg as ‘The first lady of Facebook.’