Facebook chief Sheryl Sandberg to give Berkeley commencement speech

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org, will deliver the 2016 commencement address at UC Berkeley on Saturday, May 14.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

This year’s graduating seniors voted Sandberg their top choice as commencement speaker. “She is a leader of her generation,” says Marie Lim, vice president of Senior Events, Californians, the Berkeley student committee that polled the senior class. “She’s ambitious, outspoken and confident. She has a success story that I hope will leave graduates feeling positive, thoughtful and poised to do some trailblazing of their own.”

Sandberg, who has helped Facebook become one of the most successful companies in the world, will address graduating seniors and their guests, faculty and administrators at the campuswide commencement ceremony at California Memorial Stadium.

“Not only has Sandberg been an exceptionally important leader and thinker at several of the Bay Area’s most groundbreaking technology companies,” says Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. “She has also been a crucial advocate for women leaders in the workplace and a central figure in the public discourse about gender equality more broadly. It is an honor to welcome Sandberg to the Berkeley campus.”

The author of the bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and founder of the nonprofit LeanIn.org, Sandberg challenges women to harness their professional ambition to pursue leadership roles in business. “There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do,” she wrote in Lean In. “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.”

In 2012, Sandberg was named in Time magazine’s list of the top 100 most influential people in the world. The same year, she was elected to Facebook’s board of directors, becoming the first woman to serve on the company’s board. Sandberg has also served as vice president of global and online sales and operations at Google, chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury Department under President Clinton and an economist with the World Bank.

Sandberg’s considerable accomplishments have made her an inspirational figure, and a natural choice to address the next wave of Berkeley grads.

The ceremony, which celebrates all graduating seniors, also will feature an address by Chancellor Dirks and a speech from the soon-to-be-named University Medalist, the top graduating senior from the Class of 2016.

To learn more, visit the commencement website.