The Hill's 25 Women to Watch: Page 23 of 26

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OUTSIDERS

SHERYL SANDBERG

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FACEBOOK

Sheryl Sandberg, a self-made billionaire, is one of the most successful women in business, and there is buzz that she might one day plunge into politics. 

The 43-year-old is known as “the adult in the room” at Facebook, where she has helped 28-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg turn a social media site for college kids into a multibillion-dollar Internet empire.

Although Sandberg is known for her management skills and business instincts, she is also well-versed in public policy. 

As an undergraduate at Harvard, she impressed economics Professor Larry Summers, who later recruited her to the World Bank. After earning her M.B.A., she served as Summers’s chief of staff when he was Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration.

In 2001, Sandberg moved to Silicon Valley and joined Google, heading up its advertising and publishing products. 

Looking for a new challenge, Sandberg became Facebook’s chief operating officer in March 2008. She overhauled its advertising system, and by September 2009, the company became profitable for the first time. Facebook named Sandberg as the first woman on its board of directors in June 2012. 

Sandberg, who is married with two young children, has earned a reputation as a forceful advocate for women to succeed in the workplace. She opposes affirmative action programs for women and argues that they should be more assertive. She also says men need to take on more household responsibilities.

“A world where men ran half our homes and women ran half our institutions would be just a much better world,” she said in a 2011 commencement speech at Barnard College.

Sandberg serves on President Obama’s jobs council, and held a fundraiser for him at her house last year. Some speculate that she could be in line for a Cabinet post if he wins reelection. Others wonder whether she might run for office herself.

Sandberg downplayed those rumors in a recent interview with Charlie Rose.

“I love my job, and I’m staying,” she said.

— Brendan Sasso

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