Marissa Mayer on God, Family and Yahoo
Marissa Mayer announced to the world that she was pregnant on July 17th 2012, the same day that she took on the role of Yahoo!’s newest CEO. From then, she has been hailed as the much-needed saving grace the faltering company needs, and already appears to be injecting some of her infectious enthusiasm into it. As the youngest and only pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 company which has seen 5 previous CEO’s resigning in 5 years, Mayer has a lot on her plate, but sums up her many responsibilities with maturity beyond her 37 years. During her first interview upon becoming the newest CEO of Yahoo, Mayer was asked what her priorities in life were; she responded with a line which went viral, “God, Family, and Yahoo” in that order. Her response and the story became Fortune.com’s most frequently read story of 2012; a mere tip of the iceberg in context with the media frenzy surrounding her personal and professional life. She built a nursery for her infant son, Macallister, right next to her work place with her own funds, and then generated furor by banning telecommuters from working at Yahoo, insisting that they come to work at the office instead. Stating that the move was part of her long term plan of bringing Yahoo to the forefront, she insisted on workplace culture, and brought forward incentives such as free meals, free I-phone 5 smart phones for all employees, and up to 16 weeks of parental leave for new mothers. She went on to re-design Yahoo’s website with the intention of giving it a more user-friendly feel, with options for users to customize content based on their specific interests. To add to the more modern layout of the site, she struck deals with small-start ups and acquired GoPollgo, Astrid, Milewise and Loki Studios among others, in total hiring 22 entrepreneurs as part of its mobile team. As part of what is known as a “Moonshoot goal”, Mayer wants everyone in the world to have the Yahoo application on their smart phones, tablets and desktops, and for them to access it at least once a day. At present, Yahoo boasts of 700 million users who use desktops and 300 million on mobile devices. She is endeavoring to ensure a system which ensures that the desktop users loyal to Yahoo on their mobile systems as well. However, revamping Yahoo is certainly not the only priority on Mayer’s task list. Her radical changes pertaining to banning telecommuting workers will most certainly impact the 14,000 strong workforce at Yahoo, and while some are of the opinion that it presents a good opportunity for those looking to switch companies to hand in their resignations, others feel that it will hit the company hard at a time when it is, ironically, looking to expand its services to an increasingly mobile-system dependent consumer base. The constant criticism regarding this move is getting louder as questions are being raised about Mayer’s own privilege of being able to raise her child while working, thanks to the nursery she had built after his birth. Marissa Mayer has a lot of questions to answer and a barrage of criticism which she has so far chosen to ignore, stating that her decisions are aimed towards improving the future of Yahoo and making it the best place to work in. She continues to march to the beat of her own drum, confident that her decisions will pay off in rich dividends for the company and those who remain loyal to it. Telecommuting controversy aside, she is part of the growing community of successful, powerful working mothers who, be it due to privilege or otherwise, have the wherewithal to juggle their many responsibilities while ensuring high profit margins for the companies they are heading. As one of the world’s most powerful business women, and one of the youngest CEO’s in the world, Marissa Mayer is already proving that she has the vision and the determination to scale new heights, reinstating Yahoo as the best website on the internet.