It’s been a year since Marissa Mayer made international headlines for being appointed CEO of Yahoo, and then informing the world she was six months pregnant.
Since then she’s continued to dominate the news with a long list of acquisitions — including the $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr — major product revamps, new incentives for employees, a controversial ban on working from home, a 60% decline in the company’s attrition rate (despite that ban), and the birth of her first child in which she proved it’s possible to get back to a high profile job within weeks.
I recall this time last year plenty of us were intrigued and a little excited by the appointment. The struggling Yahoo got itself a high profile and brilliant operator, and those of us outside of the tech world enjoyed seeing the example of a woman achieving such an appointment at a relatively young age and with no hesitation regarding her pregnancy.
Indeed, the appointment garnered significant coverage on whether it’s possible to juggle pregnancy with taking on a demanding job or even launching a new business. As plenty of women have since informed us on Women’s Agenda it is – from Marina Go who accepted a new editorship while six months pregnant and being told during the interview that “if it isn’t an issue for you then it isn’t a problem for us”, to Bronwen O’Brien who successfully pitched to investors her DigitalSorbet app while carrying her child, and Amanda Lintott who launched a recruitment business during the GFC at the five month mark. All great stories that should give hope to young women that new career moves are possible during pregnancy. It really can be a matter of individual choice (and circumstances) – at least in progressive industries – regarding what’s right for you.
Back to Mayer, the real question this time last year was whether the former Google employee could turn the struggling technology giant around.
While revenue is still hardly stellar, Mayer’s been busy convincing the market this week that with a little more time, she can help fix the technology giant’s woes. Her mantra? “People, then products, then traffic, then revenue,” she said
She’s even added a new twist to the quarterly earnings conference call to journalists, offering a video webcast that looked more look a television news breakfast program. Slate reports Mayer used the update to explain why she needs more time to make her Yahoo reinvention work. While the Slate reporter was skeptical, he noted that image is everything for Mayer and she’s making serious inroads at rebuilding Yahoo’s reputation. She’s remaking the brand by creating a ‘chain reaction’ that’ll see it attract and retain better employees, build more superior products, increase traffic and ultimately see revenue growth.
The company now receives more than 10,000 resumes a week, a significant improvement since before Mayer came on board.
While there’s still plenty of work to do, Mayer’s appointment has, so far, been positive and proven there are few limits to productivity where you’re seriously determined.