Longtime Google executive Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook as Chief Operating Officer in 2009, and quickly established herself as one of the most powerful voices in Silicon Valley. Prior to joining Google, Sandberg was chief of staff for Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who also happened to be one of Sandberg’s professors at Harvard. (Sandberg won the John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics. She would also earn an MBA from Harvard.) Sandberg would later introduce Summers to Marc Andreessen, the billionaire co-founder of Netscape who now runs Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most influential venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Summers now serves as a special adviser to AH; Andreessen is on Facebook’s board of directors. Thanks to her Facebook stock options, Sandberg is estimated to be worth over $1 billion.
As COO of Facebook, Sandberg is widely credited with bringing a healthy dose of “adult supervision” to the company, which resembled a frat house in its early years. Over the last few years, Sandberg has become an inspirational role-model for her advice that young women should “lean in” to their careers. “Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision,” Sandberg told students during her 2011 commencement speech at Barnard. In addition to Facebook, (where she was recently appointed to the board of directors), Sandberg serves on the board of the Walt Disney Company, Starbucks, Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development and V-Day. Earlier this year, Sandberg was named to the Time 100, the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
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