Women Working Together: Fairygodboss
This is the story behind the largest career community for women, where you’ll find the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility.
For our readers who haven’t yet heard about Fairygodboss, can you tell us a little about your work and mission, and how RUBY readers can get involved?
Georgene Huang (GH): Fairygodboss is the largest career community for women. We provide millions of women with the only crowd-sourced database of hard-to-find intel on work-life balance, salary, maternity leave policies and how companies treat women. Founded by women for women, our organization connects female job seekers with employers who believe in gender equality.
Romy Newman (RN): There are several ways your readers can get involved with Fairygodboss. As a socially-driven company, we want to improve the workplace for women through transparency, so I encourage anyone reading to leave a free and anonymous review on Fairygodboss to help other women understand what it might be like to work at your company. You can also follow us on all social media @Fairygodboss and sign-up for our newsletter, which offers tactical career advice and terrific job listings.
In our Women Working Together column, we like to dig into the background of partnerships behind female-run organizations. Share with us the history behind Fairygodboss. How did you two meet?
RN: We met at Dow Jones in 2012 when I was the head of digital advertising for the Wall Street Journal and Georgene was head of the enterprise business. We reported to the same manager, but worked on very different lines of business — so we rarely interacted professionally. Basically, we knew each other from across the room — and both thought the other was quite impressive.
What did it take to bring Fairygodboss to life? We want to know the steps you took to turn the idea into reality.
GH: In 2014, I was unexpectedly fired after a management shakeup. I was two months pregnant at the time and my employer had no idea. As I was job searching and interviewing, I realized I was in a tough position. I was still hiding my pregnancy — I hadn’t even told my friends yet — but I wanted to know the answers to questions I felt like I couldn’t ask during interviews, like what a prospective company’s maternity leave policy was, whether there were a lot of women in leadership, or whether it would be OK for me to leave at 6 p.m. to pick-up my kids. When I couldn’t find answers online, I decided to crowd-source this kind of information and build Fairygodboss as a resource for women job-seekers.
RN: Georgene and I reconnected when she was in the early stages of building Fairygodboss. At that point, I was consulting and no longer at Dow Jones. Having had my own challenges trying to navigate being a mom of young kids alongside a demanding career in the corporate world, I was so passionate about the mission of Fairygodboss. I was thrilled to come on as co-founder and president!
GH: We started monetizing Fairygodboss in 2016, so I guess you can say that’s when we first presented the idea to others as a business. In the past two years, we’ve grown from just the two of us to a staff of more than 20. We work with more than 60 corporate partners and engage with millions of women.
And what is it about your partnership that “works?” What do you think are the unique strengths your partner brings to the table?
GH: We’re both fiercely committed to the goal of improving the workplace for women. Romy’s background is in sales, so she’s focused on revenue and building relationships with our corporate partners (the companies we work with, for whom we do a hybrid of employer branding and recruiting). I focus mainly on product and user growth. While we don’t always agree on every tiny detail or small decision, we push each other in a healthy and constructive way, and completely trust one another with all things related to the business.
RN: Our values are in sync, and we’re brave in different ways that complement each other. I think we both recognize and admire each other’s strengths and feel lucky to be in this together. I don’t know how I could have ever done this alone — because it is so nice to have someone to share the experience with, both the highs and the lows.
We all know that success isn’t possible without some struggle. What is one challenge that you’ve successfully overcome and what is the lesson that came from it?
GH: I think our biggest challenge was when we first started out. Proof of concept was something we worried about – would women be willing to share their workplace experiences with us? Though Fairygodboss guarantees anonymity, Romy and I worried if women would be willing to share their experiences at all, and if they did, whether they would be overwhelmingly slanted negative (or positive). With hundreds of thousands of reviews under our belt, we can now confidently say that women are certainly willing to share their experiences, and we’re pleased that our community is constructive and balanced.
Great! And what’s one thing you’re most proud of?
RN: I’m incredibly proud of the team we’ve built and the relationships we’ve built with our customers. We’re committed to creating an incredible culture where our employees love where they work (and the work itself!), and we’re just as committed to delivering results to our customers. I truly believe we’re delivering on both of those goals, and we are so proud of that.
GH: Not to mention, we’ve grown the business by an incredible amount in the last year alone!
On that note, give us the dish on what’s yet to come for Fairygodboss. How can RUBY readers get involved?
GH: We have some exciting plans for 2018, which we believe the women who use Fairygodboss will love, so stay tuned for details! But, what I can tell you right now is that we plan on continuing to deliver useful (and fun) career content and working with employers to showcase why they are great for women.
RN: This will be our best year yet, so we hope you’ll engage with our community and grow with us. As I mentioned, you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, sign-up for our newsletter, and support other women by leaving a free and anonymous review.