Everyone and their mother has had their fair share of opinions about Marissa Mayer, Google’s former first lady turned Yahoo CEO over the summer. From why joining Yahoo was a brilliant move (years of progressively moving up the ladder through Google = expertise and drive earned) to why she might not be cut out for the job (a media based company hires a former engineer whose skills are primarily product development based to run said company), the debate on whether or not Mayer has the right stuff for the position has been hashed and rehashed to death online.
On a daily basis, I myself am surrounded by power women. My boss Deborah is a female CEO, I have many great girlfriends who all work in fairly high level positions from nonprofit to event management and I even get to write for one of the affirming girl power sites of them all, the wonderful HelloGiggles (in case you weren’t sure where this last part was going). I’ve learned so much and feel so lucky to be around these ladies. They made it work and still make it work on a continual basis. These women are tireless in their day to day schedules and driven to succeed, but while success is fantastic unto itself, they care more about customers and audiences. What people need, they give them.
The question is always directed to someone else, how can we help, what can we do to ensure your needs are met. Once they know what that need is, they work to fulfill it night and day without giving up. True power women take others into consideration before themselves. Most of all, they look at the glass half full side of life and think optimistically. I’m proud to know each and every one of the ones that I do know and I get even happier when I meet other girls with strong mentors in their lives.
And while I may not know Mayer personally, from everything that I’ve read up on her there’s no doubt in my mind that she won’t rule that CEO spot at Yahoo.
1) She’s Whip Smart
Mayer graduated from Stanford University with honors and a bachelor’s degree in symbolic systems and a master’s in computer science. Her core focus with these degrees was specializing in artificial intelligence, even mentioning with CNN that she has several patents in AI and interface design. In 1999, she joined Google as their first female engineer, but not before she picked up an additional honorary doctorate degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology along the way.
2) She’s Raising the Stakes
This is not just a reference to the fact that Mayer is providing all Yahoo employees with a free iPhone (or Android of choice) and free lunch – though both those movements get a major thumbs up in my corner. You gotta be able to get on Mayer’s level when it comes to working hard and working fast. Meeting deadlines mean everything and if you can’t, Mayer’s quite famous for stating that she’ll be able to find a team that can.
In the words of Heidi Klum, you’re either in or you’re out. And if you’re in, you’re in it to go the extra mile.
3) She’s Anti-Stereotypes
Marissa Mayer likes fashion and is into style. She also likes cupcakes, is blonde and in her thirties. So what?
“I refuse to be stereotyped. I think it’s very comforting for people to put me in a box, ‘Oh, she’s a fluffy girlie girl who likes clothes and cupcakes. Oh, but wait, she is spending her weekends doing hardware electronics.’” she said to the New York Times in 2009.
Toss all of your snap judgments outta the door, please and thank you. Mayer will have her cupcake and eat it while working on her spreadsheets, thank you very much.
4) She’s a Working Mama
And a very recent one at that! Mayer gave birth to baby boy on September 30th, and plans to take only a few weeks tops off for maternity leave before hitting the office again. Like a boss.
“Do things that you’re not quite ready to do. And surround yourself with the smartest people.”
You can’t see it but little stars just popped into my eyes reading that. I can only hope they pop into yours too.