Marissa Mayer: Redefining the “Yellow Brick Road”


Yahoo was in a pickle of sorts up until Marissa Mayer showed up and became a pregnant first time CEO. With the addition of new programs, revamping old ones, and adding young companies like Tumblr to Yahoo’s repertoire, Marissa has helped to give Yahoo a much needed face lift. The results of her efforts are shocking: the stock price alone has gone up 100% since she started working there.

You may be asking, how did she get to where she is today? As a child, Marissa was interested in a variety of different fields; everything from swimming to ballet, ice-skating, music, and debating. She then took her love of many interests and majored in Symbolic Systems at Stanford University. Symbolic Systems is a multidisciplinary program that combines linguistics, philosophy, cognitive psychology and computer sciences. She loved the material so much that she even taught it at Stanford. Eventually, Mayer starting working at Google, and worked her way up to be the only female engineer in the leading team. She helped design it’s efficiently simple homepage, as well as creating it’s project management structure. After being “demoted” to the maps sector of Google, Marissa decided it was time for a change, which is when she made the switch to Yahoo.  Known as a perfectionist, Mayer focuses on the little details not only in her tasks, but also in her work environment and her relations with others. A firm believer in the notion that happy employers make for better results, Mayer worked on improving the quality of life at the office, redesigning many of the working stations, turning the space into a collaborative force. Known as happy and optimistic, Mayer’s positive energy emanates through the staff.

As she continues to navigate Yahoo, Mayer’s newest challenge is increasing profit, especially since advertising is more and more difficult on small smartphone platforms. Though this may be a challenge, she remains optimistic, pointing out in an interview with Vogue Magazine that everything people do on their mobile phones is what Yahoo provides. Marissa is passionate about putting the customer experience first, and making sure that the needs of the users are addressed. She puts her best foot forward, and believes in surrounding herself with people who inspire her to be her best. Just like when she was offered a starting position on JV or a bench position on varsity in high school, she chose varsity so that she could learn from them, and the following year, she started for the varsity team. Marissa is an inspiration to all, showing how there is no set path to follow; every bump in the road is part of the ultimate yellow brick road. 


Sasha Cukier

Emory University


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