Image Source: huffingtonpost.com
Who: Sheryl Sandberg
Current role: COO of Facebook, Founder of Leanin.org
Background: After earning her B.A and her MBA from Harvard University, Sheryl worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, then went on to work for Larry Summers, who was then serving as the United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton. In 2001 she moved to the Silicon Valley to work at Google Inc., serving as its Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations. At a Christmas party in 2007 Sheryl met Mark Zuckerberg. Although at the time Zuckerberg was not actively looking, he was so impressed by her that soon after she was hired as Facebook’s COO.
Why She’s a game changer: When it comes to supporters of female empowerment in technology and business there are few names more prominent than Sheryl Sandberg. She gave an inspirational TED Talk on why we have too few women leaders, serves on the board of Women to Women International, and brought attention to the unequal male to female ratio in the technology industry in an interview with USA Today where she stated “Yes, I want half, half, half across the board. Fifty percent. I would like women to earn 58% of the (computer science) degrees, because women earn 58% of college degrees”.
She wrote the bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which encourages women to pursue their ambitions, and works to change the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do. She then founded Leanin.org to provide an additional resource for women, fostering a community of like-minded professionals as well as educational and networking opportunities.
Recently Sheryl and her website Leanin.org have sponsored the “Ban Bossy” campaign, which is working to remove the word bossy from general use on the premise that when a little boy asserts himself he is called a leader, but when a little girl does the same she is labeled bossy. Through her work she hopes to not only empower women but one day close the gender gap.
Fun fact: During her time at Google she enacted a pregnant lady parking policy reserving spots near the entrance of building for expecting mothers.