Imagine being at the helm of a multibillion dollar empire that is the third most-visited website on Earth. Then imagine doing so as the mother of four with a fifth on the way -- due on Christmas Day, no less. But for Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, there isn’t a shred of doubt: motherhood has made her an exponentially better leader.
“Actually having the limitations of needing to be home have really forced me to prioritize,” Wojcicki, 46, said in a recent interview on the Today show. She added that she aims to be home at 6:00 every evening -- an unthinkable feat for many executives. “I found that if I’m home for dinner, I can get the scoop from my kids on the day. After [they] go to bed, I check email.”
As Google’s 16th employee, and its first-ever staffer to have gotten pregnant, Wojcicki joined the search giant soon after Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented the garage of her Menlo Park, Calif. home -- out of which Google was ultimately launched.
And as one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley (today, she joined the board of directors of Salesforce), the tech community will likely be tallying Wojcicki’s forthcoming maternity leave with a watchful eye. Marissa Mayer notably received flak for taking a two-week break after her son was born in 2012.
While Wojcicki declined to disclose the exact length of her leave, she noted that YouTube is particularly accommodating for working mothers, with flexible work hours, special parking for the expectant and a paid maternity leave of 18 weeks.
Rather than clashing priorities, however, Wojcicki says that she ultimately sees work and motherhood as mutually beneficial proficiencies: “Your kids get something from your career, and your career gets something from your kids,” she said.