EARLY LIFE• Marissa Ann Mayer is the first child and onlydaughter of Michael and Margaret Mayer; thecouple also have a son, Mason, born four yearsafter his sister. Her father was an environmentalengineer who worked for water-treatment plantsand her mother was an art teacher and stay-at-home mom who decorated their Wausau homewith Marimekko prints -- a Finnish company knownfor its brightly colored designs against a cleanwhite background. This design esthetic influencedMayers own choices for Googles user interfaceyears later.• Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, on May 30, 1975, Marissa Mayer has describedher early years as a small-town childhood, complete with ballet lessons, iceskating, Brownies and debate team competitions. The daughter of an engineer andan art teacher, Mayer demonstrated an early affinity for math and science. While atWausau West High, she worked at a local grocery store, where she memorized theprices for hundreds of items in order to streamline the checkout process.
Laura Beckman Anecdote• Mayer frequently mentions a valuable lifelesson she learned from Laura Beckman,the daughter of her piano teacher and atalented volleyball player. In an interview withthe Los Angeles Times, Mayer explained:"She was given the choice of joining thevarsity team...[and] sit on the bench for theyear, or junior varsity, where she would startevery game. Laura shocked everyone andchose varsity. The next year she came backas a senior, made varsity again and wasa starter. The rest of the players who hadbeen on junior varsity were benched for theirentire senior year. I asked Laura: How did you know to pick varsity? Laura toldme: I just knew if I got to practice and play alongside the best players every day, itwould make me better. And thats exactly what happened."
High School:Mayer was president of the SpanishClub, treasurer of the Key Club, andinvolved in debate, Math Club,academic decathlon and JuniorAchievement (where she sold firestarters.) at Wausau West HighSchool. She also played the piano,took babysitting lessons, andcontinued to dance; her years ofclassical ballet training helped her earn aplace on the precision dance team. Her debate team won the state championship hersenior year which helped her hone her skill of identifying problems and solutionsquickly.She credits her work ethic to a job as a supermarket cashier where shememorized produce codes in order to check out items as fast as employees whod beenthere 20 years. Her highly competitive nature was apparent in her interview with the LATimes: "The more numbers you could memorize, the better off you are. If you had tostop to look up a price in a book, it totally killed your average." While experiencedcashiers averaged 40 items per minute, Mayer held her own, averaging between 38-41items per minute
College and Graduate School:• As a high school senior, Mayer was accepted to all ten colleges she applied to,eventually turning down Yale to attend Stanford. She entered college thinking shedbe a pediatric neurosurgeon, but a required computer course for pre-med studentsintrigued and challenged her. She decided to study Symbolic Systems whichincluded courses in cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics and computerscience.• While at Stanford she danced in "The Nutcracker" ballet, engaged inparliamentary debate, volunteered at a childrens hospital, was involved in bringingcomputer science education to schools in Bermuda and began teaching her junioryear. She continued on at Stanford for graduate school where friends recall shepulled all-nighters and often appeared in the same clothes she wore the daybefore.
Early Career Path:• Mayer served at the UBS research lab in Zurich, Switzerland for nine monthsand at SRI International in Menlo Park prior to joining Google.
Interview with Google•Mayers initial introduction to Google was decidedly inauspicious. A graduate studentin a long-distance relationship, she recalls "pathetically eating a bad bowl of pasta inmy dorm room by myself on a Friday night" when a recruiting email arrived from a tinysearch engine company. "I remember I’d told myself, New emails from recruiters —just hit delete." But she didnt because shed heard about the company from one ofher professors and her own graduate studies focused on the same areas the companywanted to explore. Although shed already received job offers Oracle, Carnegie Mellonand McKinsey, she interviewed with Google. At that time, Google only had sevenemployees and all the engineers were male. Realizing that a better gender balancewould make for a stronger company, Google was eager for her to join the team butMayer didnt immediately accept.
• Over spring break, she analyzed the most successful choices shed made in herlife to see what they had in common. Decisions about where to go to college, whatto major in, how to spend summers all seemed to revolve around the same twoconcerns: "One was, in each case, I’d chosen the scenario where I got to work withthe smartest people I could find....And the other thing was I always did somethingthat I was a little not ready to do. In each of those cases, I felt a little overwhelmedby the option. I’d gotten myself in a little over my head."
Career at Google:• She accepted the offer and joined Google in June 1999 as he 20th employee hiredby Google and its first female engineer. She went on to establish the look of Googlesinterface as a search engine and oversee the development, code-writing, and launchof Gmail, Google Maps, iGoogle, Google Chrome, Google Health, and Google News.She heavily influenced the companys biggest successes such as Google Earth,Books, Images and more, and she curated Google Doodle, the morphing of thefamiliar homepage logo into designs and images celebrating special events around theworld. Named a Vice President in 2005, Mayers most recent role had her supervisingthe companys mapping products, location services, Google Local, Street View andmany other products.
• During her 13-year tenure she led the product management effort formore than a decade during which Google Search grew from a few hundredthousand to over a billion searches per day.Several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design carry her nameas inventor. She has been very vocal in her support of smart productdesign, intense corporate teamwork and girl power.
Move to YahooShe assumed the reins at Yahoo as CEO on July 17, 2012, where she facesa tough battle to restore morale, confidence and profitability. Mayer is thecompanys third CEO in a year.(1995–2001) (2001–2007) (2007–2009) (2009–2011)
Personal:Mayer dated current Google CEO Larry Page for three years. She began seeinginternet investor Zach Bogue in January 2008 and they married in December 2009;the couple are expecting a baby boy October 7, 2012. She owns a $5 million luxurypenthouse atop the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco and later purchased a PaloAlto Craftsman home, but not before looking at more than 100 properties. Anaficionado of fashion and design, she is one of Oscar de la Rentas top customersand once paid $60,000 at a charity auction to have lunch with him.Mayer is an artcollector and commissioned preeminent glass artist Dale Chihuly to create a 400-piece ceiling installation featuring blown glass sea flora and fauna. She also ownsoriginal art by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Sol LeWitt.With Larry PageMarried to Zach Bogue
A cupcake aficionado, shes been known to study cupcake cookbooks, createspreadsheets of ingredients, and test versions of her own before writing newrecipes. "I’ve always loved baking," she once told an interviewer. "I think it’sbecause I’m very scientific. The best cooks are chemists.She describes herself as "really physically active" and told the NYTimes thatshes run the San Francisco half marathon, the Portland Marathon, and planson doing the Birkebeiner, North Americas longest cross country ski race. Shesalso climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.She regards her ability to anticipate trends as one of her assets: "Back in about2003, I correctly called cupcakes as a major trend. It was a business prediction,but its been widely interpreted as [that] I just like them."Other frequently-mentioned details about Mayer include her love of MountainDew and how little sleep she requires -- only 4 hours a night.
Awards and Honors•Matrix Award by the New York Women in Communications•Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum•"Woman of the Year" by Glamour magazine•Named one of Fortunes 50 Most Powerful Women in Business at age 33 making herthe youngest woman ever to be includedBoard Membership•San Francisco Museum of Modern Art•San Francisco Ballet•New York City Ballet•Wal-Mart Stores