Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who landed in Israel earlier this week in what has mostly been billed as a family visit with a few public events, met Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem on Monday.
Sandberg presented the president with a signed copy of her book Option B, which deals with adversity and resilience and how difficult experiences are opportunities for growth, the municipality said. She added her condolences on the death of Rivlin’s wife Nechama, who passed away at the beginning of June. Sandberg’s book is about the loss she experienced following the sudden death of her husband.
In the meeting, she also presented the president with a set of virtual reality goggles. The president told her what she does is a source of inspiration for people all over the world, according to a press statement issued by his office.
Later, in a Facebook post, Rivin wrote that Sandberg was “a true inspiration to researchers, business people and public servants.”
“Time after time, she has used ability to break barriers and to have influence in order to make women’s voices heard. Thankfully, girls and boys today grow up in a world where there are more and more people like Sheryl Sandberg to inspire them – successful women who are not afraid to share with us all the many difficulties on the way to being world leaders,” the president said.
On her own Facebook page, Sandberg wrote that she was honored to meet with the Israeli president.
“I admire him for standing up for diversity and kindness across the country. His wife Nechama did the same before she passed away in June, dedicating her time to supporting children through the arts and a wonderful community garden. We both know what it’s like to lose someone you love – and to honor their memory by trying to do good in their name. Thank you, President Rivlin, for a special meeting and for working to bring people in this beautiful country together,” she wrote.
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Sandberg also visited United Hatzalah of Israel, a non-profit organization, founded by Eli Beer Hatzalah, that sends volunteers to provide first response services across Israel for free, often with arrivals long before regular ambulances. Sandberg also met three female volunteers from the program.
Last month, a Facebook spokesperson told Israel’s daily “Yediot Ahronot” that Sandberg was to visit Israel in August to launch Playground, a new space by Facebook which will offer courses for startups and businesses.
The space will debut at the same time as a startup program set up by Facebook to help companies with growing consumer tech products. Thirteen startups will be selected to be mentored and followed by Facebook employees from the company’s R&D center in Tel Aviv, employees abroad, and industry experts. The program is comprised of four tracks: product management, marketing, management, and technology development.
Globes reported that Sandberg will also hold a public meeting in Tel Aviv with the Israeli branch of Lean In, a global NGO that operates in 170 countries and deals with the advancement of women in the job marketplace. It was set up after her bestselling book of the same name about women’s empowerment.
Sandberg will also reportedly hold a closed-door meeting with Facebook Israel’s employees and sit down with media editors and community leaders.
Sandberg is considered one of the most powerful women in business. She moved from Google to Facebook in 2008. She is a former chief of staff for then-US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and has written two bestselling books.