Sheryl Sandberg Bio: The Story of Her Rise in the Tech Industry

When I heard the recent news that Sheryl Sandberg was stepping down as Meta Chief Operating Officer, I wanted to find out a bit more about how she worked her way into such a powerful position.

I think this Sheryl Sandberg bio is fascinating, and I found out a lot of interesting facts about her life, including that she was successful at Google and spent years working in the public sector.

Before I get into her career with its ups and downs and her personal life, here are some quick facts about the former Meta COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

Sheryl Sandberg Bio Facts

Full Name: Sheryl Kara Sandberg
Birth Date: August 28, 1969.
Birth Place: Washington D.C, United States.
Nationality: American
Siblings: 2 (David and Michelle)
Children: 2
Partner / Spouse: Brian Kraff (m. 1993; div. 1994)​, Dave Goldberg (m. 2004; died 2015)​, Tom Bernthal ​(m. 2022)
Profession: Business executive
Net Worth: $1.5 billion
Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Companies Associated With: Meta Platforms, LeanIn.Org
Last Updated: 2022

Sheryl Sandberg Key Facts Summary

Sheryl Sandberg facts

  • She stepped down as Chief Operating Officer of Meta in 2022 and has a net worth is $1.5 billion.
  • Sandberg started her career in the public sector, working for the World Bank and the US Treasury department before moving to Google in 2001.
  • She grew her online sales team at Google from four employees to 4000.
  • Sandberg was brought to Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg in 2008 to try and make the social media platform profitable.
  • She has been rocked by many public scandals in recent years, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other privacy and PR disasters.
  • Sandberg has been married three times, and her second husband, Survey Monkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died in 2015.
  • She is the author of two bestselling books, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Option B.
  • She has received numerous accolades, including being named on Forbes world’s 100 most powerful women and the Jerusalem Posts The World’s 50 Most Influential Jews.

Sheryl Sandberg Birthplace and Early Life

Sheryl Sandberg was born in Washington, D.C, in 1969 to Adele and Joel Sandberg. She came from a Jewish background and grew up alongside two siblings, and the family moved to North Miami Beach, Florida, when Sheryl was two years old.

I found a few interesting facts about her parents and Sheryl’s early life. Her father had a respected job as an ophthalmologist, while her mother taught French. Her parents helped establish the South Florida Conference on Soviet Jewry, an organization that assisted Jewish people in the Soviet Union escape persecution. The family also hosted Soviet Jews who had managed to emigrate to the United States until they found a place to stay.

Sheryl and her siblings attended public school (North Miami Beach High School) before she attended Harvard College in 1987 to study economics. I think her time at Harvard demonstrated her early management skills. Aside from achieving top grades, she co-founded a group called Women in Economics and Government, where he thesis mentor, Lawrence Summers, commented on her organizational skills and leadership.

She graduated from Harvard in 1991, impressively with summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions.

I think her early life before moving into business is fascinating because she moved with her thesis mentor, Lawrence Summers, to the World Bank as a research assistant (he was appointed chief economist). Sheryl Sandberg worked for nearly two years on various health projects in India, including working on a policy to help those suffering from blindness, which perhaps was influenced by her father being an ophthalmologist.

After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1995, Sandberg started to move into the corporate world as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Sundar Pichai worked at Mckinsey, too, although they were about a decade apart.

Even though I associate Sheryl Sandberg with her time with Facebook, I found it interesting that in the mid-1990s, she didn’t think she would go on to work in a for-profit environment. She said herself that she wanted to work for organizations that created real change for people, and from 1996-2001, she teamed up again with Lawrence Summers, who was appointed Treasury Secretary under President Clinton.

Her early life and career provide a fascinating insight into how she developed in organizations that intend to do good in the world. I think this greatly influenced how she approached her time in the corporate sector.

Sheryl Sandberg Early Business Success

Sheryl Sandberg business success
Image from Flickr

Before being personally recruited by Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook (I’ll go into this a little later on), Sheryl Sandberg moved to Google in 2001.


I think she saw the potential of technology to change people’s lives, particularly in the developing world. This led her to join Google, which at the time was a much smaller company than it is today, and this gave her the chance to grow the online sales division. Sandberg achieved significant success as she started with a team of four people based in California and developed the online sales and advertising operations to a team of 4000 people around the world.

Sandberg ensured many of these new jobs were located in India, whose the economy was starting to grow. I think this comes back to her time at the World Bank, where she helped formulate policy in India and saw the potential that technology could bring for jobs and economic development.

Another major success was her overseeing Google’s partnership with AOL. This deal allowed Google to provide search results for AOL; although it was a financial risk for Google then, it proved fruitful and helped springboard the emerging tech giant onto more success.

Her time at Google was pretty successful, not just in growing online sales and advertising but also in becoming a high-profile woman in the tech sector was very male-dominated. I think her management and overseeing of successful business strategies at Google brought her to the attention of Mark Zuckerberg.


Sandberg had helped grow Google and accelerate its profits, and this was exactly what Facebook needed in 2007. The social media giant was trying to figure out ways to become profitable, and Sandberg was seen to be the person to help drive this growth. Zuckerberg and Sandberg had long conversations at Sandberg’s home to ensure they were both on the same page regarding the company’s direction.

Sandberg accepted the offer to join Facebook as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in March 2008, and by 2010 the company was turning a profit. This is another success in Sandberg’s career, as it was the precise reason Zuckerberg brought her on board.

In 2012, she became the first woman to join the board of Directors at Facebook.

I think Sandberg achieved a lot of success at both Google and Facebook. For me, this is from a management standpoint in growing her Google sales team, turning Facebook into a profitable company, and becoming a high-profile woman at two of the world’s biggest tech giants.

Sheryl Sandberg Videos

Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, on Using Your Voice For Good

Sheryl Sandberg Business Failures

I have found by researching successful people that you rarely (if ever!) find someone that hasn’t experienced some failure or controversy in their career. Tim Draper is a good example of this, and he said, “I will fail and fail again until I succeed.”

While Sheryl Sandberg hasn’t experienced many actual business failures during her time at Google and Facebook, there have been several controversies during her career.

It was announced on June 1, 2022, that Sandberg would be standing down as COO of Meta, and I think the scandals from the previous few years are the reason for this.

Sandberg oversaw Facebook’s legal and policy directives, which directly contributed to a 39% drop in the stock price in 2018. Some of the missteps during this period included:

  • Failing to remove content that promoted genocide in Myanmar.
  • Directly approving censorship demands by the Turkish government.
  • Personally supporting widely criticized anti-sex trafficking legislation.
  • Asking Facebook staff to explore the finances of billionaire George Soros after he publically criticized the company.

Sandberg was also directly blamed by Zuckerberg for the Cambridge Analytica scandal when the consulting firm collected millions of Facebook users’ personal data for political advertising without their consent.

Also, she was involved in a campaign to stop a British tabloid, the Daily Mail, from publishing a story about Bobby Kotick and a restraining order taken against him by a former girlfriend. It was also revealed that Sandberg and Kotick were involved romantically at the time.

I think the combination of various internal and public issues contributed to Sandberg’s standing down as COO of the social media giant in 2022. However, she said she would remain on the board of directors.

Sheryl Sandberg Family

Sheryl Sandberg was brought up in a Jewish household, and her parents, Adele and Joel, were heavily involved in various Jewish causes during her early life.

She has two siblings, David and Michelle, but I don’t have a lot of information about them, as they seem to keep a much lower profile than Sheryl.

Sandberg has been married three times. First to Brian Kraff in 1993; however, the marriage only lasted for a year. She married Dave Goldberg, CEO of Survey Monkey, in 2004. However, he tragically passed away in 2015 during a trip to Mexico, initially thought to be due to hitting his head from falling off a treadmill. Sheryl disputes this and has publically stated that she thinks his death was due to a heart condition. The couple has two children.

In 2022, Sheryl Sandberg married Tom Bernthal, a marketing CEO.

Sheryl Sandberg Career Earnings and Other Ventures

Sheryl Sandberg Career Earnings
Image from Flickr

Sheryl Sandberg has a current net worth of $1.5 billion, which is primarily down to her Facebook stocks.

However, she has also published several books.

Her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was published in 2013 and focuses on the lack of prominent women leaders, particularly in business and politics. It has sold over 1 million copies since its release, but it has come under criticism.

Some reviewers have described the book as being ‘tone deaf’ and not in tune with the struggles of women in the average workplace. Her second book, Option B, was released in 2017 and focused on practical tips to deal with grief, which I think was written in response to her husband passing away in 2015. The book has sold nearly 3 million copies,

Sandberg also runs the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that helps various charitable causes. It is financed by $100m worth of Facebook stock donated to the organization by Sandberg.

Sheryl Sandberg Real Estate Holdings

Sheryl Sandberg previously lived in Atherton, California, which is home to many rich and famous people, including Marc Andreessen, Tim Draper, and Meg Whitman. She sold an 11,430-square-foot estate for over $9m in 2014.

Sandberg currently lives in nearby Menlo Park. Her property is a 9,210 square feet home modern home complete with a wine cellar, gym, movie theater, and basketball court. The property has been extensively renovated and is reported to be worth around $11m.

Sheryl Sandberg Quotes

Sheryl Sandberg Quotes
Image from Flickr

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

“There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

“I have never met a woman, or man, who stated emphatically, ‘Yes, I have it all.’ Because no matter what any of us has–and how grateful we are for what we have–no one has it all.”

Frequently Asked Questions – Sheryl Sandberg Bio

Question: What is Sheryl Sandberg’s net worth?

Answer: Sheryl Sandberg has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. Her net worth has mainly come from her time at Facebook, where she holds significant stock options; however, she has also authored two books that have sold millions of copies.

Question: What did Sheryl Sandberg do at Google?

Answer: Sheryl Sandberg joined Google in 2001 and led their online sales and advertising division. She grew her team from just four people to 4000 people globally. Sandberg left Google to join Facebook as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in March 2008.

Question: Did Sheryl Sandberg work in politics?

Answer: Sheryl Sandberg was Chief of Staff to Larry Summers at the United States Department of the Treasury from 1996 to 2001. She has been a prominent supporter of Democratic politics, including Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Election.

Question: Is Sheryl Sandberg a feminist?

Answer: Sheryl Sandberg has been vocal about many women’s issues, and her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was a bestseller. She has also served on the boards of Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development, and V-Day, although some have criticized her feminist credentials.

Question: Does Sheryl Sandberg still work at Meta?

Answer: Sheryl Sandberg announced that she was standing down as COO of Meta in 2022. She has been criticized for many scandals that have plagued the social media giant in recent years, and I think this has been the main reason she is moving on from the company. She did state that she would remain on the board of directors.

Question: Is Sheryl Sandberg a philanthropist?

Answer: Yes. Sheryl Sandberg runs the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation and has been heavily involved in other philanthropic efforts. This has included and


Recommended Reads:

Scroll to Top