She married a Washington businessman. It lasted about a year, says Scheck Bonwitt. Hes a great guy. It didnt work out. Sandbergs divorce was the only one among the seven women.
When Summers became Treasury secretary in 1999, Sandberg just 29 continued as his chief of staff. In 2001, after the Democrats lost the presidential election, Sandberg decided the Internet was the future. She went to work for Google, taking over the fledgling companys ad program, which had four people working for it. In 2004, she married Goldberg in Arizona, another event that brought the seven women together. Sandberg and Goldberg had two children as she continued to expand Google advertising until it was raking in billions of dollars.
But Googles highest executive positions were all taken, and after lengthy conversations with Facebooks Zuckerberg, she jumped ship in 2008 after debating the money-making potential of friends linking up on the Internet.
There was this open question: Could we make money, ever? she told The New Yorker. She decided there was potential.
Last month, when Facebook filed its finances to prepare for a stock offering, the company reported $1 billion in profit last year on revenue of $3.7 billion.
In the New Yorker article last year, Zuckerberg said he was more of a strategy person than a manager. He said he named Sandberg chief operating officer because she handles things I dont want to, such as advertising strategy, hiring and firing, management, and dealing with political issues.
Through all this, the seven women have remained close. When Mindy Lockshin Levy was pregnant with twins and a doctor ordered bed rest, the others joined her for a weekend at her bedside in the Washington, D.C., area. I think of them as sisters, says Greenbarg-Albright. I can open up about anything, something trivial like an issue with my kids or a life-altering event. Fundamentally, we are the same people we were when we were younger.
Despite Sandbergs rise, Scheck Bonwitt said, Shes always very supportive. Shes always made time for everybody.
In their younger years, their gatherings tended toward the athletic. Greenbarg-Albright remembers a Colorado meeting where they decided to bike up a mountain. Greenbarg-Albright gave up halfway, while Sandberg and several others made it to the summit.
Their most recent gathering was last October when Sandberg, now living in Atherton, Calif., came to South Florida for her brothers 40th birthday. Between visits, theyre constantly in touch. When Pam Solomon Srebrenik takes a kid to Orlando, its posted on their private Facebook page. When Scheck Bonwitt has down time at her sons chess game, she calls Sandberg and they talk for an hour.
All seem to lead hectic lives. Scheck Bonwitt has a law and mediation in North Miami-Dade. Greenbarg-Albright, after sports marketing stints with the Seattle Supersonics and Miami Heat, is mostly a full-time mom in Broward County, with a marketing consulting service on the side. Lockshin Levy works for a major management and technology company in the Washington, D.C., area. Jami Rozen Passer is managing director of a real-estate firm in Fort Lauderdale. Redlich was a photographer at the Holocaust Museum before becoming a full-time homemaker in the Washington area. Pam Solomon Srebrenik in North Miami-Dade operates KFC franchises.
Scheck Bonwitt and Greenbarg-Albright admit that they speak cautiously about Sandberg to a journalist. I feel very protective of her, because theres such a spotlight on her, says Greenbarg-Albright.
Scheck Bonwitt says Sandberg has only good things to say about Zuckerberg. She likes him. Theyre really different, but she has a great relationship.
At Facebook, Sandberg has continued the female networking that she began in high school. The New Yorker article noted that last year she gathered 12 Facebook female executives together to organize a Womans Leadership Day. And she continues speaking on the topic of women and leadership around the country. The talks may refer to Facebook occasionally but not much. This is Sheryl being Sheryl, says Scheck Bonwitt.
Sandbergs basic theme is that womens own hesitations and mindset often keep them from reaching the top. At a commencement speech at Barnard College last May, she talked about how only 15 percent of top jobs in corporate America were held by women.
I encourage you to think big, she told the all-female graduating class.
If you ask men and women questions about completely objective criteria such as GPAs or sales goals, men get it wrong slightly high; women get it wrong slightly low. More importantly, if you ask men why they succeeded, men attribute that success to themselves; and women, they attribute it to other factors like working harder, help from others.
Ask a woman why she did well on something, and shell say, I got lucky. All of these great people helped me. I worked really hard. Ask a man and hell say or think, What a dumb question. Im awesome. So women need to take a page from men and own their own success.
This speech in its many variations has spread widely on the web. The 15-minute talk she gave at a TedWomen conference in Washington in December 2010 has been viewed more than a million times.
One point she emphasizes is that women often take whatever salary a company offers while men tend to negotiate aggressively. The recent Facebook SEC filings reveal that in 2011, she received the top overall compensation at the company: $30.9 million.
Thats a huge number, but way behind the stock options she negotiated when she joined the company four years ago. Forbes Magazine estimates that those options will soon be worth between $1.3 billion and $1.8 billion.