A longtime media executive and advocate for women around the globe, Fran Hauser is a force to be reckoned with. She ran digital media businesses at AOL, Moviefone, and Time Inc, where she built People.com, before turning to angel investing. Now, Fran takes her talents to the publishing world; her first book, The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming the Person You Hate, was published this week and deconstructs the negative perception of "niceness" that many women, including Fran, struggle with in the business world.
Fran Hauser: startup investor, media executive, women's advocate, and author of The Myth of the Nice Girl
Bedford, New York
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now? *
I reinvented myself a few times on my career path. I started my career in a purely financial role and transitioned to a general management position in media for 15 years. I ran digital media businesses at AOL, Moviefone, and then at Time Inc. where I ran People.com. Toward the end of my tenure at Time Inc., I realized that working with startups was what I loved most about my job. So I started angel investing as a side hustle, which turned into a full-time career. All of these transitions were possible because of my community and network. If it wasn’t for the time and energy I had spent cultivating relationships in the NYC tech startup community throughout my career, I don’t think I could have made the transition from media to investing.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
It’s hard to choose just one! Writing and publishing a book is probably my biggest accomplishment right now. It’s something I wanted to do since I was a little girl and I’ve been actively thinking about this exact book since 2009. Now, finally, nine years later, it’s become a reality. I love mentoring and giving advice so it feels great to be able to codify that and put everything I’ve learned throughout the years into a playbook for other working women.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Take time to build relationships and invest in yourself. Many women don’t pick their heads up from the computer. They are so focused on doing great work for their company that they don’t prioritize building their own network and community. Only 1 out of 5 women have a mentor. Having a mentor—or mentoring yourself—can be that X factor that takes your career to the next level.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why? *
Patricia Karpas, the co-founder of the Meditation Studio app. I wouldn’t have written my book, The Myth of the Nice Girl, if it wasn’t for Patricia. She stayed on me for nine years to do this. She believed in the topic and the universal need in business for everyone to be more human. She sees the potential in people and is constantly supporting women and creating opportunities. Because she is such a fan of the book, she built a collection of meditations based on the book. You need people like that in your life.
What do you do when you're not working?
I took up skiing three years ago. It’s something I was afraid of my entire life, and I only got into it because my boys started skiing when they were three. I wanted them to see that I would actually get out there—not be the coat-holding parent sitting by the fireplace. It’s not easy to learn to ski as an adult! But I did it. Now I’m skiing and I love it. It’s something that the whole family can do together, and even as my kids get older, we will still be able to have that time together as a family. I overcame my fear and it makes me wonder what else can I do that I’ve been scared of.
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I love her writing so much. As an immigrant myself, I relate to her stories, her characters, and the dynamic she creates. Her writing is so lyrical. I also love short stories—you get so much bang for your buck.