Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Leans In About How She Decided to Become CEO While Pregnant
Sandberg and her team have been encouraging women to post their personal stories of when they leaned into their careers and Mayer certainly does that in her post, including discussing taking the job at the top of the troubled Silicon Valley Internet company when she was seven months pregnant.
Looking back to reflect on the question: Could I really take the helm of Yahoo when I was 28 weeks pregnant? Even now, it sounds absolutely crazy. I considered if and how I could make it work: learning more about the role, getting words of encouragement from close friends and family, and developing a plan. I’ve always believed you can never have everything that you want, but with work and dedication, you can have the things that really matter to you. If I took the opportunity, it was clear that I would have to find a way to have time with my baby without a long maternity leave. I also knew going forward that there wouldn’t be much time beyond my job and my family for anything else. Ultimately, I decided I was fine with that, because my family and my job are what really matter to me.
In the piece, Mayer also noted that she jumped at the chance to run Yahoo, which had actually put Google in business in many ways with an early search deal. She started her career at the search giant and was one of its higher-ranking execs.
“The alignment with my experience and career was uncanny: search, email, homepage, news, finance, maps, social, mobile and more,” she wrote, although she also said that after “13 years of really hard work at Google, I had been envisioning a glorious six-month maternity leave.”
Not so. Mayer took off from Yahoo only a few weeks after she had her baby son last fall, and she said it has turned out well for her. “I’ve come to realize that being a mother makes me a better executive, because motherhood forces prioritization,” she wrote. “Being a mom gives you so much more clarity on what is important.”