Jeff Skoll, Sheryl Sandberg, and Peter Gabriel discuss the role of technology and media in giving voices to the voiceless.
Skoll, founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation and Participant Productions, discusses the importance of bringing to light individual stories in order to affect social change; Sandberg talks about the role of online networking in mobilizing social and political causes; and Gabriel discusses the emerging importance of cell phones in documenting and disseminating information.
Peter Gabriel has earned a worldwide reputation for his innovative work as a musician, writer, and video producer. In 1975, he started his solo career after leaving the band he co-founded, Genesis. He went on to release eleven albums. In 1986, he won the first of his four Grammys with his album So.
In 1980, Peter Gabriel co-founded WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance), bringing together traditional and modern music, arts, and dance from every corner of the globe. In 1987, he established Real World Studios, which later became the base for Real World Records, a label dedicated to recording and promoting a wide range of different artists from around the world.
Peter is deeply committed to human rights. His involvement in benefit concerts for Amnesty International and the anti-apartheid movement has greatly assisted human rights efforts worldwide. He brought increased awareness to racism in South Africa when he wrote and performed 'Biki,' a tribute to Steven Biko.
After conversations with frontline activists around the world while on the road with the Amnesty/Reebok Human Rights Now! Tour in 1989, Peter recognized the need to supply those who seek to defend rights with the technology to be able to do so. This resulted in co-founding the organization WITNESS, a pioneer in the use of video and technology to fight for human rights.
Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook in March 2008 as chief operating officer. In this role, she is responsible for Facebook’s business operations, including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy, privacy, and communications.
Ms. Sandberg joined Facebook after six years at Google, where she served as vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations. In that role, she built and managed Google’s online sales channels and managed global operations for Google’s consumer products.
Ms. Sandberg was also a leader for the company’s philanthropic efforts. She created the Google Grants program, which donated over $240 million dollars of advertising to nonprofits worldwide. The Economist called her “the unseen driving force behind the creation of Google.org,” Google’s philanthropic arm, where she served as a founding member of the board and led the search for its executive director, Larry Brilliant.
Prior to joining Google, Ms. Sandberg was the chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department, where she helped lead its work on forgiving debt in the developing world. Before that, Ms. Sandberg was a management consultant with McKinsey and Company and an economist with the World Bank, where she worked on eradicating leprosy in India. Ms. Sandberg currently serves on the boards of The Brookings Institution, Women for Women International, The Ad Council, Leadership Public Schools and eHealth.
Ms. Sandberg received a BA summa cum laude in Economics from Harvard University. She received an MBA with highest distinction from the Harvard Business School. In 2007, Ms. Sandberg was named as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune.
Entrepreneur Jeff Skoll has a track record of launching businesses that result in positive social change. As eBay's founding president, he developed the company's first business plan, creating entrepreneurial opportunities for millions of individuals around the world. He also pioneered creation of the eBay Foundation through the allocation of pre-IPO shares.
In 1999, Mr. Skoll launched the Skoll Foundation, which provides unrestricted financing and services to leading social entrepreneurs whose innovations are poised to achieve large-scale impact. The foundation's leveraged strategy derives from his core belief that it is in everyone's interest to shift the overwhelming imbalance between the "haves" and "have-nots" in order to bring about a more peaceful and prosperous global community.
In January 2004, Mr. Skoll founded Participant Productions, a global media company that produces entertainment to inspire and compel social change. Among Participant's 2007 films are Darfur Now, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War and Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains. One of its 2006 releases, An Inconvenient Truth, garnered two Academy Awards and has inspired an unprecedented grassroots commitment to address climate change.
Mr. Skoll received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Stanford University, and he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto.
He serves on the boards of directors of the National Center for Arts and Technology and the X Prize Foundation. He is also a founder of The Elders. In 2006 Mr. Skoll was named as one of TIME Magazine's 100 People of the Year.