Silicon Valley Women React to Yahoo's New Hire
Marissa Mayer began her new job Tuesday as CEO of Yahoo. Meanwhile, a few miles down the road, women working in high-tech attending a talk on being a CEO reacted to her appointment.
The event, at the technology hub Singularity University, featured venture capitalist Heidi Roizen, with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, delivering off-the-record tips to entrepreneurs and engineers. It was a mostly male audience, yet, Roizen observed, “Every single person who asked a question was a woman."
Roizen said women are making space for themselves, despite the old boys' network. Still, she thinks Marissa Mayer can expect new levels of scrutiny. “Women who are CEOs," Roizen said, "get a disproportionate amount of attention. But I think you can use that to your advantage as well.”
If Mayer can turn around Yahoo, people will really remember her for accomplishing something four men and one women before her could not. For women not yet at the top of the corporate ladder, being noticed can mean more chance of a promotion or a raise.
Jennifer Turliuk, 24, was in the audience. She thinks women are better managers. “It’s the companies with female leaders at the helm [that] end up performing better.” And she says about Yahoo, “at this point they really need that.”
Mayer is not the first female CEO at Yahoo. That was Carol Bartz. Mayer is one of only twenty women leading Fortune 500 companies.
She’s also part of a small but rising group of female engineers. Roizen cautioned that in Mayer’s case, “to say that it’s her engineering background that is going to be the attribute that makes her successful would be short-selling all the things she has done at Google that have nothing to do with coding.”
Bogdana Rakova, a 22-yeard-old computer scientist, said she thinks Mayer’s unique combination of technical and communication skills is key. “Sometimes women are like magnets. They attract others while they’re excited about an idea."
And what did Rakova think about Mayer's appointment? “It is awesome.”