It should not be of any real significance when one of the earliest employees for a company happens to be a woman. However, in the tech sector – especially with Internet start-ups – there are remarkably few women working or achieving positions of real prominence. So, it is somewhat unsurprising that of the first twenty employees Google had when it was incorporated, only one was a woman. That woman was Marissa Mayer!
Marissa Mayer is the Vice President of Location and Local Services at Google, where she was hired in 1999, fresh out of college. In her role as a Vice President of Google, Mayer has earned quite a bit of acclaim. In 2009, she was named a Woman Of The Year by Glamour Magazine. Perhaps more significantly, Marissa Mayer is the youngest woman to ever make the Fortune 50 Most Powerful Women List.
As a student at the prestigious Stanford University in the mid-1990s, Marissa Mayer was an uncommon pragmatist. She began her education at Stanford on track to become a pediatric neurosurgeon, but quickly became frustrated with the chemistry courses she was taking. Her frustration did not stem from an inability to learn chemistry; she reasonably objected to paying Stanford tuition rates to memorize by rote the same chemistry facts and equations she could have studied at a community college! So, she looked at Stanford’s courses and degree programs for a degree that she was interested in that only Stanford could provide. She found that with the symbolic systems program.
In 1997, Marissa Mayer graduated with honors from Stanford University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Symbolic Systems. She applied that degree at SRI International in California and in Switzerland at Unilab research lab in Zurich. Still, she was not certain of what she wanted to do as a career. Divining that her burgeoning interest in computer science could lead to a viable profession, Mayer returned to Stanford to pursue her graduate work. She specialized in artificial intelligence and earned her Masters of Science in Computer Science in 1999.
So, when Google was hiring at its outset, Marissa Mayer was vastly overqualified to be a software engineer. As one of the first twenty employees, Mayer quickly found room for advancement as Google grew and she spearheaded several new programs for the company. Mayer is credited with the development and promotion of Gmail and is now in charge of the unit that focuses on location-based services. Because location-based services are one of the biggest groups of advertisers through Google, Mayer’s performance as Senior Vice President directly affects Google’s bottom line.
Fortunately, Marissa Mayer’s training and determination has been a good fit with Google. Mayer continues to help Google grow, without ever forgetting how she got there; Mayer now teaches at Stanford in addition to her position at Google.
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