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Heidi Golledge

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Did Wall Street Punish Yahoo's Marissa Mayer for Being Pregnant?

Posted: 07/19/2012 4:47 pm

Yahoo stock got a boost Monday night after it was announced that former Google executive Marissa Mayer would become the company's new CEO. Unfortunately, the stock lost its gains later, after the media focused its attention on the fact that Mayer is pregnant and due to give birth to her first child during her first few months on the job.

As of yet, Yahoo's stock price has not rebounded since Mayer's appointment. While there are many reasons investors may be wary of Yahoo, it still begs the question: "Why are women not allowed to parent and lead a business?"

Wall Street should stand behind working mothers. If it did, it would see great returns on the investment.

The Yahoo board didn't see Mayer's pregnancy as an issue, and neither should anyone else.

While some investors erroneously assume Mayer will be too distracted with motherhood to lead such a large tech company, my experience suggests that she will come back stronger and more focused than ever after giving birth.

As a mother of two and also the CEO and co-founder of two growing tech companies with more than 200 employees, I have confidence in Mayer's ability to multitask mommying along with profits and loss.

During my career I have known many women who have returned to work after having a child only to be more dedicated. In fact, I see it as the rule rather than the exception.

I co-founded my first company when my youngest daughter was only 6 months old. Although that meant running home in the early days for quick feedings, both the company, CyberCoders, and my daughter were able to thrive.

Now that CyberCoders and my daughters are all teenagers, they demand extra attention -- but multi-tasking has its advantages, as leading a business and negotiating with a teenager take many of the same skills.

Through it all, my two daughters have been the biggest driving force behind my success. Working made me more organized, attentive and committed to my career in order to provide the best life I could for my kids. Each day, I am mindful of how I treat everyone including our clients, users and our employees and work hard in an effort to be a role model for my children.

When you are a mom and a breadwinner, the stakes are higher. When I was young, I never wanted to be put in the situation in which I could not control my own family's outcome. I decided long ago to create my own story and to make sure the businesses I create leaves the same legacy. Perform your job well and you upgrade your life -- and, as a parent, the lives of your children. Doing so gives parents the ability to give their children opportunities to experience the world and save for college.

Anne-Marie Slaughter's recent cover story for The Atlantic "Why Women Still Can't Have it All" opened a floodgate of discussion among women in the workplace. Slaughter proposed that in this current day, age and economy, it is tougher than ever for women to be in the boardroom and the kitchen. The backlash was resounding.

I would ask -- as did many women who read Slaughter's piece -- why are we still having this discussion? No one asks a man in the workplace about his home life. No one assumes a married father with children will be distracted from his responsibilities in the boardroom. They just assume he has someone at home handling those issues.

At the end of the day, it's up to Marissa Mayer and the board of Yahoo to decide if she can do the job -- not the media and Wall Street nay-sayers. I have a feeling the 20th employee of Google, who helped make that company what it is today, is more than up to the challenge. The coming months and years will be an amazing time for Marissa, her family and, most likely, the stock holders at Yahoo.

Heidi Golledge is the Founder and CEO of Cyber Coders and CareerBliss, two tech companies based in Irvine, Calif.

 
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