As the recipient of this year’s Rising Business Leader Award, Marissa Yaker said she saw this reward as “an affirmation that our industry recognizes, encourages, and supports women who have a drive, passion, and desire to question and improve this industry. We each have a voice, but collectively our voice is louder and stronger. I feel grateful to work in an industry that supports one another and helps strengthen professionals such as myself.” Yaker added “a sincere thank you to all the amazing people in my life, as I would not be the person that I aspire to be, without each of them.”
Looking back over the course of her career, Yaker said that one of the key lessons she learned was to always stop and ask “why?”
“We sometimes forget that the ‘why’ is so important. It helps provide better understanding, it helps us to be a better person, and it reminds us to never stop learning.” Yaker added that she learned to stop and ask “why” early on in her career, after realizing she could not be as effective without understanding the full picture.
Yaker said the most important female mentor in her life was her mother.
“She always taught me to ‘reach for the stars’ and to believe in myself,” Yaker said. “She used to say, ‘It is ok to fall down, as long as you remember to get back up.’” Yaker said that her mother was the reason why she pursued a career in law. She also cited the recently passed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as an inspiration, saying “Her impacts in the legal community have been an inspiration to me from an early age and will continue to inspire others.”
Citing some of the most important lessons she has learned from female mentors in her life, Yaker said, “Supporting other females in the workplace is important. Believe in yourself and bring your whole self to the table. Never underestimate yourself or others on your team. Always support one another.”