Why Marissa Mayer Is Defying Tech Critics Left, Right & Center At Yahoo!

Marissa Mayer Vogue

If there was ever a more controversial and talked about CEO in the world of tech, it is Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer. She famously started her new job at the silicon valley tech giant in July 2012, while she was 6 months pregnant. To make matters even more controversial, a few months into the new role, a company-wide email written by her was leaked to the press which stated that she had issued an order to all her employees that they are banned from working at home.

She is featured in the September issue of Vogue to set a few things straight with the magazine’s Jacob Weisberg. But after reading the full article, its; clear she is just a geek girl who loves tech and loves what she does.

During the first 6 months of being the CEO, she was responsible for the launch of many new products and for buying the hottest blog property on the internet Tumblr.

“Yahoo has released more products in the last six months than probably in the last five years.” says Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s head of mobile. It’s clear to many inside the company and within the digital world that Marissa is working hard to rebrand the sinking ship and steer it toward a more youth focused culture.

In fact, what most cynics may not know is that Yahoo’s stock prices have gone up 60% since she joined! That’s a true testament to the fact that customers are believing in what she is doing and they trust her decisions.

“She is extremely driven and that inspires people” says business insider owner Henry Blodget to Vogue. Her drive and ambition certainly go a long way to inspiring many other young women who hold out hope of climbing the ranks in this male dominated industry.

And just to clear up, the ban on employees working from home wasn’t meant to be her opinion on the working world in general. Instead it was “the right decision for Yahoo” which in turn has shown teams are much happier and more productive. Translation: she’s not about to tell every company how they should run their employees, but she sure as heck knows that it worked for Yahoo!

The self-confessed geek girl who gets shy at parties (of which she has to attend a lot) had a unique approach to her passion in the sciences growing up. Mayer studied Symbolic Systems and Stanford University, but had no regard to gender whatsoever. It never bothered her that she was a pretty girl trying to work her way into the big mans world of tech and science, and perhaps that’s the attitude that allowed her to reach success at such an early age.

Marissa Mayer Vogue

Perhaps it was this thick skin and tunnel vision that allowed potential employees to see something special in her. Being Google’s 20th employee and the only female engineer in many teams never phased her. Her response when asked what it “felt like to be the only woman on an all-male engineer team” is classic: “I hadn’t noticed”.

The focus on her work and passion lead to her helping invent the matching algorithm that has made Google AdWords arguably the most successful product in the history of advertising. Not to shabby for a girl techie, right?

Aside from the major business deals and focus shift at Yahoo since she started, she has made sure her fresh perspective is felt from the ground up. She got rid of cubicle barriers and turnstiles in the building and turned the office environment into a friendly atmosphere where employees could approach and have dialog with executives. Perhaps this company needed a bit of a woman’s touch?

She also changed the maternity leave policy where new parents, whether they be a mum, dad or adoptive parents, get 8 weeks off work. A biological mother gets 16 total. It seems hiring a 6 month pregnant CEO for a declining company wasn’t such a mad move after all. Empathy for her employees, sharing her hard-working ethic, and fostering a community environment in the office meant a stable foundation for a company that can move toward a new direction feeling confident in the decisions made by the boss lady.
So forget about your inhibitions and fears when it comes to being a woman in the workplace, this is your time. Ignore the gender issue, step up, lean in and go after what you have worked hard for and developed a passion for.

PS, Marissa Mayer confesses to Vogue she is addicted to Candy Crush and Bejeweled Blitz. Could she be any radder!

-marissa-mayer-

9 Comments

  1. Something people to seem to be forgetting about Marissa Mayer. She also is on the board of directors of Walmart…. a company notorious for low wages and retaliation against workers who speak out for their rights. http://walmart1percent.org/2013/08/23/glowing-marissa-mayer-profile-in-vogue-omits-controversial-walmart-affiliation/

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