It was a big week for Marissa Mayer. She announced on her Tumblr page that she is pregnant for the second time and she is having identical girl twins likely to arrive in December. She also announced that she is taking little time off after having the babies.
The firestorm that erupted is expected. Did she set back the positive gains that have been made by companies offering and encouraging generous family leave, keeping in mind that she was responsible for expanding Yahoo’s parental leave policy to 16 weeks of maternity leave and 8 weeks of paternity leave? Or should we all just leave her alone to parent as she sees fit?
But there is a third issue that might be the driving force here, even moreso than “taking limited time away and working throughout.” Marissa Mayer is a female CEO. And that, my friends, is not quite as rare (23 of the Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs) as having identical twins (1 in 300). Marisa Mayer’s Tumblr post was perhaps not a message to women, or to her employees, but rather to Wall Street and the shareholders of Yahoo. For the better part of this year, Mayer has been pounded by the press as she navigates the changing waters of running a behemoth company in the internet age - in the business of making money on the internet. “This is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation,” said Mayer on Tumblr. Remember life before Amazon when Facebook was small and Twitter didn’t exist and Google wasn’t a verb? It’s changing fast. And if Marissa Mayer had announced that she was looking forward to a 4-month leave and oh by the way wasn’t going to check email and was going to revel in her adorable mini-mes, she might have been applauded for encouraging work-life balance. But as CEO, there are different rules. When life was handing out plates of differing size based on how much you were going to be able to handle, Marissa Mayer’s plate wasn’t a saucer for a tea cup, it was a multi-layered platter. She will work throughout because she can, because she has an army of assistants and because she can bring the babies to work or work from home or do whatever needs to be done in the moment because she can. Because she’s the boss. And like a boss, this one’s on her. Ladies and gentlemen of the internet jury, Marissa Mayer will do it right and make us proud and represent women CEOs as a workable, doable, successful solution. She will have her gorgeous babies and run Yahoo. And no one will be able to say that women shouldn't be CEOs. And no one can blame whatever happens in the horse race that Yahoo is in on her pregnancy or her leave.
Marissa Mayer will continue to lead, like a boss. Go, Marissa, go.back to blog home >>