Learning from Marissa Mayer: The benefits of being seen

Posted By on July 18, 2012

Marissa Mayer, the newly appointed CEO of Yahoo!, is widely regarded as a visionary leader and talented engineer. Employee #20 at Google, she led critical strategic initiatives for the company and was considered a serious candidate to take the CEO slot to replace Eric Schmidt at Google.

She has an estimated personal net worth of over $300M. By every measure, she is a highly successful executive. How is she different from many other talented engineers-turned-executives at Silicon Valley companies? Why was she chosen?

Like many executives, she is first and foremost a good leader, manager and domain expert. What’s more, she has consistently distinguished herself by more than her accomplishments. In reporting this story announcing her appointment, the San Jose Mercury News article commented:

“More importantly, she was often the public face of Google, speaking at prominent events while cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stayed at the office.”

She was visible. Alone among her peer executives at Google, Marissa built a public presence that increased awareness of her work and gave people a chance to see her in action. The CEO role is a public role. By giving people the chance to see her in action, they could assess first hand her style, presence and skills. She built her image as a leader. By sharing her ideas and positions she developed both her reputation and her credibility.

On a CES panel earlier this year,  which included Mayer, Padma Warrior of Cisco, and Caterina Fake, who co-founded Flickr. Mayer kept to her talking points, but according to CNet, she came with a certain grace and feminine poise that’s unusual in C-level execs, and especially unusual in contrast with the brash Carol Bartzes of the world.

Read the CNET article on Marissa Mayer and view the CES video.

You, too, can use speaking to generate opportunities for your career. It will require effort and a single minded dedication to developing your speaking skills but the rewards are worth the effort. Opportunity knocks at the doors of the known and the prepared. Be known. Be prepared.

Share your thoughts

What opportunities do you believe are in store for you if you raise your visibility? Comment to this post and share your thoughts.



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