Davos Stars: Sheryl Sandberg – One of the most powerful women in business

Sheryl Sandbergby Marika Sboros

Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, is the closest thing to a real-life comic-book corporate superhero. With a reported net worth of $1.1 billion, she is one of the tech industry’s wealthiest women, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most influential women in business.

She claims not to be a writer, author, or feminist, yet her book, Lean In, Women, Work and the Will to Lead, is a publishing phenomenon. Inspired by her Ted Talks on why there are so few women leaders, it has spawned Lean-in “circles”, and a Lean-in organisation dedicated to helping improve the status of women worldwide.

Sandberg, 45, started out smart, always top of the class at public schools, when “for a girl to be smart was not good for your social life”, as mother Adele said in an interview with The New Yorker . She considers herself her family’s “black sheep” for choosing business instead of following her father into medicine as her siblings have done.

She is Harvard graduate with a BA in economics, summa cum laude, and an MBA with highest distinction from Harvard Business School. She worked as a management consultant at McKinsey, at the World Bank, and as Chief of Staff to Harvard mentor Prof Larry  Summers as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration.

She joined Google in 2001 as Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations, helping to build it into “one of the most influential enterprises on the planet”, and established its philanthropic arm. At Facebook, she has turned the fledgling company a social media giant with a $160 billion market value.

Sandberg, 45, was a member of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2014. She believes the world would be a better place if women ran half its companies and countries, and men half its homes.

 

In conjunction with BrightRock, we have taken to sharing the stories from our recently published World Economic Forum starter pack PDF, ‘A Veterans Guide to Surviving Davos’ with you – Follow the link to download the full document.