Someone You Should Know: Marissa Mayer - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Someone You Should Know: Marissa Mayer


Marissa Mayer returned home the last week of April to accept the Wausau School District's award for outstanding alumni.  The Google executive certainly fits the bill.  Many of Mayer's teachers in the audience for the induction ceremony. 

"I had wonderful teachers who were really supportive and encouraging, and I remember anecdotes about each of them," Mayer said.

The 1993 Wausau West graduate says they nurtured her giving her the skills and foundation to succeed.

Mayer said, "I really think that the foundation that I had here from the school district-one in terms of being curious and really exploring that curiosity- and the other, really surrounding yourself with smart people.  I think those were all things that I picked up here, and they were really great preparation for college," Mayer said.

Mayer went to Stanford with the intention of becoming a doctor.

"When I got to Stanford I was just doing too many flashcards.  They were easy for me, but it was just a lot of memorization.  I wanted to find a discipline that really made me think."

Mayer focused on symbolic systems a discipline involving the dynamics of philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and computer science.

"How else to train yourself to think critically, and become a great problem solver, then to study how people think, how they reason, how they express themselves," she said.

In 1999, Mayer graduated with her master's degree, a number of job opportunities, and an interview at a startup company no one had ever heard of.  What users know as Google today is largely to Mayer's credit.

As Vice President of Search Products & User Experience she's charged with making the Google experience understandable for users.

"Right now Google is doing really well, and there's always new challenges.  We're always bringing out new products, trying new things, and the world of computer science, especially search, just keeps moving.  I think it's really, really interesting to be a part of that," Mayer said.

Mayer is passionate about her job.  Her advice for success entails surrounding yourself with people you can learn from in an environment that fosters growth.

She said, "Work somewhere where they will believe in you, and they will invest in you.  Work somewhere where you really feel supported by your manager and your boss, and they're giving you a lot of responsibility-investing in more classes, more training, or really helping you grow."

Mayer travels back to the area a few times a year to see her family.  She calls Wausau a comfortable place to come home to.

"I have a lot of great memories," she said.

By Pam Warnke

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