What an exciting week it has been for Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s new CEO. The accomplished Wisconsin native, and former Google executive addressed the media with poise and her ever present ambitious attitude, sharing her depth of knowledge in the space, personal passions and a pregnancy?
Gasp! That may have been the reaction that many leaders of Fortune 500 companies would have had 10, 5 or even 2 years ago. Luckily for Mayer, and business women all over the world, that was not the reaction displayed by Yahoo’s board. The business maven and artificial intelligence guru leads the way again, becoming the first woman to achieve a top position while pregnant.
Announcement Spurs Debate
Despite her successful track record, and long list of credentials, the announcement of her pregnancy through a Facebook status message still spurred a heated debate. How will she turn around the internet giant’s stale growth record, declining user counts, and flawed product line? As if the answer to the question was now so much different because she is about to become a mother?
Mayer a true professional, was busy diving into the first days of her new role, declining interview requests about the topic. Forbes’ Jenna Goudreau shared comments from C-level recruiters, researchers and analysts in her post about Mayer’s news. Many of which while cautious, note that it should be a non-issue, especially in a technology company.
The great news is, that while only 4% of the Fortune 500 companies CEOs are women, the debate was quickly dismissed and has faded over the last few days. Personally, I believe this is a huge step forward and great indicator that progress is being made.
Most of us won’t have to worry about impacting a Fortune 500’s balance sheet when we announce our happy news, but it does still weigh on the decisions that career women face. Career planning, choice of position, location, and overall life goals are all affected by the decision to have a baby. Seeing such an accomplished and well respected woman like Marissa shines a positive and encouraging light exposing options to us that many may not have thought possible.
This week’s debate also reminded me of three Legal Superwomen I’ve had the honor of working with during my career. They have demonstrated that there are no limitations, geographic, gender or otherwise that can hold you back from starting a family, being an amazing mother, wife and powerhouse career woman, except those you place in front of yourself. Thank you to Stephanie, Rania and Rachel for sharing their stories with us, and leading the way for female attorneys everywhere.
Stephanie Kimbro, M.A., J.D., Entrepreneur, technology trailblazer, author, virtual law practice mentor, online legal service delivery expert, and mother of two. Stephanie took matters into her own hands when faced with the partner / mom choice. She and her husband Ben Norman built the first secure online delivery system and software business; VLO Tech LLC, so that she could practice from home, and start a family without being tied to 2000 billable hours a year. Stephanie is nothing short of a super-mom and superwoman, when I get lazy, I read her bio and am immediately remotivated.
Rania Combs, J.D., Mother of three, entrepreneur and Estate Planning extraordinaire operates her successful law practice from her home in North Carolina. Her incredible work ethic and creative use of technology allows her to balance her booming law practice: and jam packed schedule of her children’s extracurricular activities. Even Forbes took notice highlighting her firm in Hani Sarji’s post last year.
Rachel Rodgers, J.D., Avid traveler, solo attorney, , and law practice consultant to attorneys seeking their own holy grail of work life balance. Rachel welcomed her baby girl into the world in the world last year, and has been kind enough to share her experiences balancing a growing law practice, consultancy, and motherhood with us along the way. Even starting a debate of her own from time to time.
I’ll be watching Marissa with great admiration and increased pride in our technology community as she leads Yahoo letting her talent and rockstar abilities take center stage, and hope you will too.Back to Total Attorneys.