Marissa Meyer, The Iron Lady of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Ann Meyer has been in headlines since she joined Yahoo! as the new CEO and president of the company in July 2012. Before that she was a prominent executive and spokesperson for Google. On the day that Yahoo announced her hiring she revealed that she was pregnant. During that time she managed the affairs of the company by juggling her working hours between home and office. Today she is among the most successful and powerful corporate woman in the world and women around the world look up to her as an example that can have it all without having to sacrifice career for family or vice versa. Here is her story.

Mayer was born in Wisconsin as the daughter of Margaret Mayer and Michael Mayer. Her father was an electrical engineer who worked for water companies. During her middle school Mayer took piano and ballet classes which infused in her the importance of discipline, criticism and confidence. It is said that she was extremely shy during her childhood. During her college years she intended to become a neurosurgeon and hence too pre-med classes at Stanford University. Later on she switched her major to symbolic systems. Mayer graduated from Stanford University with a BS and an MS in computer science with specialisation in artificial intelligence. She received as many as fourteen job offers after graduating. But she joined the start up of Google in 1999 as its 20th employee, a company in which she saw huge potential.

She was the first female engineer in the company. Her job profile was to write codes and oversee teams of engineers and designing Google’s search offerings. Later on she became the product manager and director of consumer web products. She managed the well known Google search homepage. It was then that she acquired her reputation of giving remarkable attention to detail.

Her tenure in Google would also be known for starting the Associate Product Manager program, a mentorship program to recruit talent and cultivate leadership skills in them. Many notable names graduated through this program. She was the Vice President of Google Products until she was demoted by the then CEO Eric Schmidt in 2010 to head Maps and Location services. Though it was an important role in itself but was away from the core operations.  It is speculated that the demotion set her into thinking about leaving the company. When Yahoo approached her she used her skills and judgement to enhance her career. Becoming the CEO of Yahoo! she launched a new online program called PB&J to simply the bureaucratic process and recreate a more professional company culture. Two years into the role, Meyer acquired 40 companies, the biggest one being Tumblr which was acquired for $1 billion. Not only that, Yahoo’s weather app bagged Apple design award too. The 37 years old CEO with her extraordinary stamina and work ethics has places to go.