But, at 37 years old, Mayer is young to be in such a role. She may be also the first pregnant woman to be appointed CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Some say Mayer, who is also on the board of Wal-Mart Stores, will show us the true art of “juggling the balls.”
Moms and leaders in their respected fields, Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, and genConnect’s own CEO Nancy Spears, acknowledge the challenges women face maintaining work and family, but say tackling these daily obstacles is what makes a person stronger.
“I couldn’t be happier for Marissa, both for her opportunity at Yahoo! and the announcement that she’ll be a mom,” said Everson, mother of twin daughters.” Having a demanding career and a family isn’t easy, but Marissa’s no stranger to the challenges that all women face as they try to balance their work and home lives. Thanks to our trailblazing mothers and grandmothers, women today have more choices than any generation before us — and that allows each of us to find the approach that works best for us.”
Spears, mom to twin teenagers and the head of genConnect, describes a work-leisure ”dichotomy.”
“As career women and mothers in this speedy age of technology, we find ourselves at the intersection of wanting to lead and nurture, grow and teach, pave new paths and relax in the joy of motherhood,” Spears said. “The dichotomy is challenging and inspiring. We are given as much as we can handle – and by leaning into our edge of creativity and tireless enthusiasm to make a difference, our families, children, and companies are richer for it. Marissa will be amazing at all of it!”
Are women now stronger than ever before because they’ve had to test their limits of time and strength to have it all? We spoke to Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute (FWI), who noted that a tide has changed for women – both moms and non-moms.
“We found for the first time that women and men were equally ambitions – millennial men and women,” said Galinsky, referencing a 2008 study, revised in 2011, Times Are Changing: Gender and Generation at Work and at Home. “Women with and without children were equally ambitious.”
Galinsky’s advice for Mayer is to find her footing in the office and in the home.
“It’s a process,” she said. “The way that you and I do it might be different than she does it but I hope that she has the freedom to find the fit.”
For the general public and for Mayer’s co-workers, Galinsky hopes that all the eyes on the new Yahoo! CEO will not be quick to judge.
“Give her [Mayer] a chance to work it out with her family and give her the chance and support she needs to work it out in her company. She’s smart, she’s ambitious, she’s done this kind of thing before – give her a chance to make it work without sitting in excessive judgment.”
Related: The ‘Career Woman’ Myth
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