I AM CEO PODCASTSocial Entrepreneurship

IAM1633 – CEO​ ​and​ ​Co-founder Creates a Community to Improve the Workplace for Women

Podcast Interview with Georgene​ ​Huang

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Speaking with Georgene, we love everything that she has built and grown. It's disheartening to hear the experience that she went through but we love how she took that opportunity and ran with it into her organization that's reaching over 2M women each month.

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Georgene​ ​Huang 00:00

If you think about the career communities out there, LinkedIn probably comes to mind and what LinkedIn is essentially doing, It's a great company, but it's putting your face next to your resume, which means that while it's great to research who people are and understand who you're connected to, what it's really bad at doing is helping you have authentic conversations around things that you might feel less than hundred percent secure about. You're supposed to be the best version of yourself.

Intro 00:24

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:48

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and we're doing something a little bit different this year with some of our episodes. We're repurposing some of our favorite episodes around specific topics related to entrepreneurship. This month we're focusing on entrepreneurship and community. Us, We, our, together and we're gonna look at entrepreneurship and industries and different types of entrepreneurship and ultimately what that really means. But we're also gonna delve deeper into the importance of community, networking, niche communities and how that supports being a CEO entrepreneur and business owner. So sit back and enjoy these special episodes around entrepreneurship and community.

Hello? Hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Georgene Huang, of Fairygodboss. Georgene, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Georgene​ ​Huang  01:32 It's great to be with you.

Gresham Harkless  01:33

I appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do was read a little bit more about Georgene so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Georgene is obsessed with improving the workplace for women. She's a CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women to discover the hard-defined intel on work-life balance, salary, maternity leave policies, and how companies treat women. Previously she ran the enterprise business at Dow Jones and was a managing director at Bloomberg Ventures. She's a graduate of Cornell and Stanford Universities. Georgene, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Georgene​ ​Huang 02:07 Yes, I am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:08

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Awesome, awesome, awesome. So the first question I had was just to hear a little bit more about your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Georgene​ ​Huang 02:14

Well, Gresham, about three and a half years ago, I was running a big business unit. One day, I like to say I had a bad day at work. So Fairygodboss was born out of an experience I had while job searching. I was pregnant for two months and not showing, and I happened to be laid off during a management shake-up at my company. So my boss was fired and, this had nothing to do with my pregnancy, but it put me in a really, awkward situation as you can imagine this. I was going on the job market wanting to find out things about companies, maternity leave policies, and whether they're executive women in management positions, and I just didn't feel like I could talk about any of these things. So Fairygodboss is really a place meant to help women who are struggling with getting insight and intel about what it's really like to work somewhere from other women directly.

Gresham Harkless 02:59

Awesome. Well obviously sorry to hear that you had to go through all of that, but I always say sometimes it's darkest before dawn, so sometimes those bad things happen, but good things come about from them. And it seems like through your process, looking for all those kind of nuances for a job, I mean, all those kind of criteria that you were taking into account, you couldn't find it So you decided to create it in true entrepreneurial form.

Georgene​ ​Huang 03:19

That's right, and I think having that experience was my aha moment that women do really experience career decisions and issues differently than men at different courts in their life.

Gresham Harkless 03:29

That makes perfect sense. I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper to hear a little bit more about what you can do on Fairygodboss, what kind of information you have there, and a little bit more on how it's serving the clients.

Georgene​ ​Huang 03:38

Sure. So we're free for women and what women do on our site. Long time ago, all we had was just job reviews, so we asked women in our community 15 different questions ranging from their salary range, their title, their department, and whether they think women and men are treated equally at their companies. Do they take maternity leave? How flexible is their company? And these questions really are the ones that women in our community want to hear about. So we used to only be able to do that, but since we have grown, we now reach over two and a half million women a month on the site, women are really having conversations on the site with each other, and it's not always about their specific job, but it might be something like, should I change my last name, I've been using it professionally and about to get married? Or it might be about something in the political and news sphere. There was an active conversation about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, for example, when that was going on. So these conversations have become sort of the lifeblood of the community and are helping us become a weekly and daily habit for women. If you think about the career communities out there, LinkedIn probably comes to mind and what LinkedIn is essentially doing, it's a great company, but it's putting your face next to your resume. This means that while it's great to research who people are and understand who you're connected to, what it's really bad at doing is helping you have authentic conversations around things that you might feel less than a hundred percent secure about. You're supposed to be the best version of yourself.

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Gresham Harkless 05:02

I wanted to ask for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be what you feel kind of distinguishes you or your organization  and kind of sets you apart.

Georgene​ ​Huang 05:08

Wouldn't necessarily put it right next to your resume and fix it. So the stuff about, you know, how you manage your day in terms of work-life balance, how you rose up through the ranks on a more storytelling basis. These are the things that I think attract women to the site and also help us convince employers where a B2B enterprise sales revenue business model. It helps convince our customers to partner with us because it's hard to find a place to tell your story through these sort of personal needs.

Gresham Harkless 05:38

That makes perfect sense. Awesome. Now I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Georgene​ ​Huang 05:50

Well, we are a venture-funded startup and that means that we're growing and changing very rapidly. So for me to constantly get better means that whatever got me here probably is not gonna be enough for getting me to the next milestone. So that's really hard to do and I often have to force myself to stop and be really critical about how I'm spending my time and my energy.

Gresham Harkless 06:12

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I'll oftentimes just say, you know, wherever your next step, you have to give up your previous step or your future business where you end up growing your business too. You have to give up some of the things. So it kind of sounds like you go through that exact same process when you're thinking about growing your business.

Georgene​ ​Huang 06:26

Yeah, I'd say every six months I consider myself having a new job because the company is so different from what it was months earlier.

Gresham Harkless 06:32

Awesome. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget and this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice or something you can tell your younger business self.

Georgene​ ​Huang 06:41

I would say that the most helpful people in my journey as a CEO are other founders and CEOs who've done it before me and are a little bit ahead of the curve. So I don't mean somebody who is maybe 20 years ahead, but literally a year or year and a half ahead of where my business is. Those are the people, the conversations that have been the most eye-opening and helpful.

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Gresham Harkless 07:02

Awesome. That makes perfect sense. I always say, you know, success leaves clues. So a lot of times you can pay attention to those people that have done what you're hoping to do and have accomplished that, and you can kind of learn a lot from them and you can implement it into your overall activities and your business.

Georgene​ ​Huang 07:16 Right.

Gresham Harkless 07:17

And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition for what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different quote and quote, CEOs on this show. So, Georgene, I wanted to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Georgene​ ​Huang 07:28

It means first and foremost being aware of how to get the best out of my people. No person, especially a CEO, can do it all and therefore it's about leveraging the people that you've collected around you, your team, and making sure that you are giving them what they need to be really successful.

Gresham Harkless 07:47

Awesome. Well, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule Georgene, what I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then of course, how to find out more about Fairygodboss and get in touch with you.

Georgene​ ​Huang 08:00

I would just say that our social mission is to improve the workplace for women, and we do that with every single woman that joins our community. So anyone who wants to partner because they have women in their lives or women in their organizations like customer base or user base should reach out. Easily to find on the internet with a unique name.

Gresham Harkless 08:19

There you go. Yeah. And just in case it's a little bit too difficult, we'll have all the links in the show notes just so they can they can follow up with you. I appreciate you again. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 08:29

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us at five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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