August 9, 2012 |

4 Leadership Lessons From Marissa Mayer’s Surprise Rise, Featuring Robin Toft of Sanford Rose Associates® – San Diego

By Laurie Kulikowski

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Marissa Mayer, the new CEO and president of Yahoo!(YHOO), is already being hailed as a pioneer: Mayer is the youngest female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

At just 37, nearly seven months pregnant and less than a month on the job, the pressure is on. Regardless of her age and sex, shareholders of the $19 billion dollar internet company expect her to revive its struggling business model — and soon.

Mayer comes into a job that didn’t end so well for predecessors. From Carol Bartz to the most recent Yahoo! CEO failure, Scott Thompson — who had to resign after a frustrated hedge fund investor uncovered lies on his resume — the Yahoo! CEO job has most recently been associated with failure, failure of a spectacular and very public nature.

While Mayer clearly made a major contribution to Google’s(GOOG) expansion and success as one of the search giant’s initial engineers, questions persist about whether she has the experience to run a public company.

It is also clearly a risky bet from Yahoo!’s perspective.


Women need to network.

“Women are kind of lacking of the good old boy network or the ability to leverage their peers,” says Robin Toft, president and CEO of Sanford Rose Associates – San Diego, the La Jolla, Calif.-based division of the international executive search firm. Toft’s office focuses on placing female executives in C-suite offices.

“What I realize by working with them is that female CEOs don’t know each other and don’t leverage each other for best practices or intelligence or support,” she says.

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