She paved a way for herself in male-dominated Silicon Valley, and now she's encouraging other women to join her. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's (FB) chief operating officer since 2008, aims to launch a new women's movement with her soon-to-be-published manifesto, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead."
Sandberg tells her story in "Makers: Women Who Make America," a new documentary airing Tuesday. An initiative by PBS and AOL, the film chronicles the past 50 years of the women's movement through the experiences of pioneers in business, media and the workplace. (Check your local listings for times.)
Before she was one of the tech world's biggest stars, Sandberg was a self-described "really serious geek." (To any geeky high school girl who may be watching, Sandberg says earnestly, "It works out.") She graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, where her thesis adviser was economics professor Larry Summers, who later recruited her for a job in Washington when he became Treasury Secretary in 1999.
As Sandberg tells it, her passion for public service was what led her to a high-powered career in the tech business, first at Google (GOOG), which she joined in 2001, and now at Facebook. "I kinda had to get over the fact that these were for-profit companies," she says. "But I believed they were for-profit companies that were really changing who we were as people and how we interacted." In her first three years running operations at Facebook, the company grew tenfold, bringing in $2 billion in annual revenue.
A mother of two who dismisses the whole concept of work-life balance -- "There's work and there's life, and there's no balance," she says -- Sandberg hopes to communicate her philosophy of "big dreams and big goals" to a new generation of women with discussion groups she's calling "Lean In Circles."
To hear more from Sandberg, and to see interviews with more than 150 Makers in business, politics, sports, arts and more, go to Makers.com.