Last week, just days after stepping down as chief operating officer of Meta Platforms, Sheryl Sandberg donated $3 million to the American Civil Liberties Union “to protect reproductive health care in courts, legislatures, and at the ballot box over the next three years.” It was a clear statement of her values, and a resounding signal that Sandberg would not be avoiding the limelight or fading softly into a well-earned retirement.
“What is her next legacy other than building Meta?” asked David Parkinson, co-founder and CEO of Method Communications, who’s advised a slew of billionaires, including James LeVoy Sorenson, Jon Huntsman Sr. and Qualtrics’ Ryan Smith. That’s the question on the minds of many who’ve long associated Sandberg with her 14-year run at Facebook. Sandberg’s ACLU donation received a mixed reception, with some stating that $3 million was paltry relative to her purported $2.1 billion net worth.
With Sandberg’s next phase just beginning, we assembled a bevy of billionaire whisperers, public relations consultants and marketing advisers to war-game out a number of hypothetical scenarios for her. Should she invest? Join a board? Try her hand at politics? How can she shed any lingering Zuckerberg baggage? What major mistakes could trip her up? The recommendations vary wildly, from a book tour to a television production company to a stint as a sex-tech advocate. “I would love to see her on TikTok,” said Allison Braley, an incoming partner at Bain Capital Ventures. “I think that generation is the most skeptical of her.”
If you’re listening, Sheryl, here’s where you might want to lean next.