Marissa Mayer has become a brand name with her illustrious 13-year career as an instrumental Google executive. Yahoo! has lost its technological edge and credibility in content creation/media and publication -- this aspect of the story barely makes the footnotes. Instead, the real interest lies in the fact that Mayer is female and extremely hardworking -- she gave birth to a new born and was back to work within two weeks.
Now, I understand that to someone who just gave birth and being new mom while running a company is unheard of. To thousands of women across the nation, it is just a Monday morning. Take my word for it -- I have left corporate America and top agencies to take on the most challenging roles in running a startup company. Like Mayer, I am also the minority -- being a woman, that is. In the past years, I have launched a lifestyle agency in all of its bootstrapping glory, taken on a role as CEO, and had my baby boy. My little boy is now a year old and I am continuing to run an innovative integrated marketing/creative/PR/digital agency for clients across the world. In this 24/7 world of working full-time as a CEO and being a mom, I know from experience that yes, women can do it all.
It is no secret that being a wife, raising a family and running a company makes things more difficult, but it is all about prioritization. Now, this is not the prioritization where you need to choose whether to be a mom or successful career women. You really can do it all -- do build a career a clear vision and a whole lot of ambition and aspiration. Every situation is different; you need to prioritize in a sense of what makes it work for you. Success and failure are simply subjective; everyone has a different take on it. Define it for yourself.
With a Master's from Stanford, an honorary doctorate in engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and the experience of rising from Google's 20th employee to one of the company's executives, there is no doubt that Mayer will be a significant new addition to Yahoo's rebranding and entrance into the new era. Can it compete with the rest of the 500-pound gorillas? Why not? Mayer is a female, a gen Y, a smart, geeky girl and is a new mom! I love it! Nowadays, we build, live and create in a virtual world that allows for flexibility. Online platforms are used to communicate with employees, reach deadlines and make a business successful in more effective ways. We are no longer restricted to the 9-5 day and Mayer realized it before most of us. Innovation and productivity now happens from coffee shops, personal homes, conference calls, Skype and more. If you have a vision, the execution is possible with today's technology -- and the right team.
Yahoo's decision to hire Mayer is not only a smart move for a company in desperate need of creativity, but it also promotes the idea that women can be a commanding force in technology careers. With a balance of prioritization, I know Mayer will make it work whether she is taking care of her child or leading the company in the boardroom.
To all the women out there that are still not convinced that you can do it all -- here are my top five tips for prioritizing as a female CEO:
- Have a vision - Keep grounded with assessments/audits but keep dreaming a big dream
- Stick to your intuition -- Do not digress from your vision, plan and execution. You will make adjustments along the way but continue to move forward. Do not let people sway you.
- Build your own board of advisory/members (mentors) within your network: Surround yourself with personal and professional mentors. When you need advise, whom do you call? Who do you trust? But, be ready to take advice with a grain of salt. Your intuition is stronger than you'd expect. You need a strong support system, and this can include your partner at home.
- Hire the right people (the A+ people) -- you can't run a company all alone, no matter what is on your plate.
- Execute your plan according to the plan. BUT, if needed, take detours. When roadblocks appear, adjust, but continue try to get back to where you wanted to be.
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