26 Feb Et Tu Brute: Marissa Mayer Never Wanted to Be Your Poster Girl

From the beginning, Marissa Mayer didn’t want to be the working moms mascot. When she announced that she was only taking two weeks of maternity leave, Marissa Mayer was saying “I won’t be the working moms poster girl.” Months later, her war on tele-commuters is met with shock and horror. Believe her now?

But instead of lambasting Marissa Mayer for her tragic policy, let’s support her. Mayer needs a mentor who can show her that she can be a powerful CEO without pretending that she does not identify with women and moms. I volunteerSheryl Sandberg for this role. She is just down the road in Silicon Valley and she could show Mayer how to lean in to being a leader without abandoning the women behind her.

Until now, Marissa Mayer has avoided any affinity with working moms but when you declare war on telecommuters, you declare war on the working moms, so now she is forced to face them. Unlike Google or Facebook – the darlings of the valley – Yahoo has to fight to attract and retain top talent, and family friendly policies are essential in doing that. Top consulting firm McKinsey, has realized this, recently taking measures to stop their own brain drain – attracting their former consultants turned moms back to the company. They have computed their human capital losses and now they want those women back.

With her new telecommuting policy, Mayer blindly eradicated the symptom, not the problem.  And in doing so, she is threatening her human capital. Yahoo’s telecommuting culture wasn’t working properly so she should have taken steps to fix it rather than eliminate it. Not just for the sake of the 300 telecommuters, but for the sake of her talent pool, emphasizing results over face time would have made the difference.

Marissa Mayer didn’t ask for the working mom poster girl moniker but she will have it anyway. There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to being a working mom. There is the leave-the-workforce end or the CEO of the public company end. Yet when you have Donald Trump defending your new policies, it is as glaring a sign as any that you have gone off the deep end. Let’s encourage Mayer to take a swim with her own female talent pool and partake in a new and improved reality.

To read this article on Forbes, please click here.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author & corporate speaker. The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction will be released in September.