Article creator image

BY Jill Koziol

The Women Behind Fairygodboss

Photo credit: Fairygodboss

TAGS: Interview, Women in the workplace, Working moms, Reviews, Fairygodboss, Georgene Huang, Romy Newman, Career advice

Georgene Huang is a mom-of-two and entrepreneur with an eclectic professional background: at different times she’e been a classical musician, a lawyer, a hedge fund analyst and an executive. Together with Romy Newman, also a mom-of-two with professional experience ranging from marketing cosmetics to strategy consulting to print and digital media, the duo is remaking working motherhood through their startup: Fairygodboss. Their platform allows women to anonymously share their experiences of their workplaces (on topics like flexibility, maternity leave and culture), allowing others to make more informed decisions about where they want to work. We talked to Georgene and Romy as part of our #MotherlyMakers series, highlighting the women remaking our world.

Motherly: Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to start Fairygodboss? What clicked for you

Georgene Huang: I was pregnant and looking for a job when Fairygodboss was ‘conceived’ (sorry for the pun). Trying to find a company that would be good for working moms took a LOT of work. I didn’t know whether I could trust company PR about being “female friendly” and couldn’t find maternity leave policies. I thought it should be easier to get this information, so Fairygodboss was born to help working women discover company benefits and corporate culture directly from other women.

Motherly: How has equality in the workplace improved for women and what more needs to be done?

Romy Newman: I’ve heard some pretty horrific war stories from my mom and her peers about working at large corporations in the 70’s and 80’s when there was no FMLA to ensure maternity leave and women often went back to work even two weeks after having their children. There wasn’t even a basic expectation of fair and equal treatment of women. So I’m certain we’ve come a long way. And I’m confident that for the most part, hearts and efforts are in the right place.

In my opinion, lack of transparency is a great source of the remaining challenges that women face in the workplace. Because there are fewer women in core operating leadership positions, the negative or discriminatory experiences of women can often get buried or suppressed. Many times, leadership is unaware what is going on right or how institutionalized biases can be. I’m hopeful that Fairygodboss can be a tool that helps corporations hear the voices of their female employees more clearly and cogently.

Motherly: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Romy Newman: I was told that to get ahead as a woman in a crowded and competitive male-dominated environment, the best thing you can do is to volunteer for a tough but highly necessary assignment—the one no one wants—and then make it successful. It gives you a real chance to differentiate, and there is much less competition for the assignment. And if you succeed, you are a hero.

Motherly: How do you see Millennial moms approaching their careers differently?

Georgene Huang: I think I’m technically a millennial mom (or at least just barely) and I believe there are two things that shape how my generation approaches their careers. (1) We have grown up seeing our own moms balance work and life so we’re aware of the tradeoffs—they’re not theoretical to us. (2) Our generation has access to unprecedented amounts of information and are more digitally connected than any other generation. This means we expect and demand transparency and will make decisions based on more information. We can be less reliant on tradition and institutions dictating from the top-down how careers and jobs “should be” done. This will translate into demands for more work flexibility, remote working and a bunch of other things.

Motherly: What’s your secret to integrating work and family?

Georgene Huang: Support! Whether you rely on daycare, a nanny, a spouse or other family to take care of your children, you need to have full faith and trust in them to have your back and be beneficial influences for your children. If you don’t, you will not be able to be your best at work.

Motherly: What keeps you inspired and excited every day?

Romy Newman: Two things: #1 is absolutely my family. And #2 is the wonderful people I’ve worked with in my career. I’m smarter and more equipped to succeed because of what I’ve learned from them, and absolutely nothing is more motivating to me than when I hear from someone how I’ve made a difference in their career.

Motherly: What are your words of wisdom for other mothers wanting to turn their passion into a business?

Georgene Huang: Moms can be more risk-averse because they understandably have very important responsibilities and obligations (i.e. their families) to protect. I think it’s important to stage your risk-taking and be independent about your timeline for building a business, if at all possible. Specifically, I believe you don’t have to do things the way that other entrepreneurs do them. You have to forge your own path.

Motherly: What are your big dreams for Fairygodboss"

Georgene Huang: My goal is for every single working woman to one day take a look at Fairygodboss somewhere in their decision-making process when it comes to applying or accepting a job. If she walks into the door with eyes-wide-open, she’ll make a better decision. And employers will start to seriously care about what their female employees say, which will improve the companies where change needs to happen.

Motherly: Who is your #momcrush?

Romy Newman: My mom crush is my mom! She has inspired me to aim higher and shown me just how hard you have to work to enjoy success in life. Also, Michelle Obama, who is smart, successful, glamorous, diplomatic and a wonderful mother. Talk about balancing it all!

Motherly: What does “Motherly” mean to you?

Georgene Huang: Once I became a mom, I started to see that it meant being a person who has an obligation to leave the world a better place than she came into it. You are a role model for your children and you want them to lead lives full of meaning.

Romy Newman: Being a mother has taught me to judge much less and now I try my hardest to see the world from others’ perspectives. Being a mom is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had – and it’s so important to realize that we are all in this together, and we are all trying our best.

This araticle was originally published by Motherly Media here.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
 

Related Community Discussions

  • My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

  • I recently had a child and worked out an arrangement with my manager to work from home 1-2 days/week. I'm the only female on my team and none of the co-workers have a similar arrangement. There have been discreet comments made about my schedule (mostly in a joking way) but it still feels uncomfortable. Has anyone else ran into this?

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

  • I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and gearing up to go on maternity leave at the end of the month. I recently came across a new job oppurnity that would be better for my family. I'm at the finishing stages of interviewing with this new company and I am worried that I will find out I got the job while on maternity leave. My question is, what happens to my maternity benefits and how do I go about leaving my current job without issue?

  • My friend just told me (she was trying to be nice) that I'm limiting my career potential because I don't wear makeup to work. Do you think she's right? Do I need to wear makeup to be "professional?"

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously

The Women Behind Fairygodboss

The Women Behind Fairygodboss

Georgene Huang is a mom-of-two and entrepreneur with an eclectic professional background: at different times she’e been a classical musician, a lawy...

Georgene Huang is a mom-of-two and entrepreneur with an eclectic professional background: at different times she’e been a classical musician, a lawyer, a hedge fund analyst and an executive. Together with Romy Newman, also a mom-of-two with professional experience ranging from marketing cosmetics to strategy consulting to print and digital media, the duo is remaking working motherhood through their startup: Fairygodboss. Their platform allows women to anonymously share their experiences of their workplaces (on topics like flexibility, maternity leave and culture), allowing others to make more informed decisions about where they want to work. We talked to Georgene and Romy as part of our #MotherlyMakers series, highlighting the women remaking our world.

Motherly: Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to start Fairygodboss? What clicked for you

Georgene Huang: I was pregnant and looking for a job when Fairygodboss was ‘conceived’ (sorry for the pun). Trying to find a company that would be good for working moms took a LOT of work. I didn’t know whether I could trust company PR about being “female friendly” and couldn’t find maternity leave policies. I thought it should be easier to get this information, so Fairygodboss was born to help working women discover company benefits and corporate culture directly from other women.

Motherly: How has equality in the workplace improved for women and what more needs to be done?

Romy Newman: I’ve heard some pretty horrific war stories from my mom and her peers about working at large corporations in the 70’s and 80’s when there was no FMLA to ensure maternity leave and women often went back to work even two weeks after having their children. There wasn’t even a basic expectation of fair and equal treatment of women. So I’m certain we’ve come a long way. And I’m confident that for the most part, hearts and efforts are in the right place.

In my opinion, lack of transparency is a great source of the remaining challenges that women face in the workplace. Because there are fewer women in core operating leadership positions, the negative or discriminatory experiences of women can often get buried or suppressed. Many times, leadership is unaware what is going on right or how institutionalized biases can be. I’m hopeful that Fairygodboss can be a tool that helps corporations hear the voices of their female employees more clearly and cogently.

Motherly: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Romy Newman: I was told that to get ahead as a woman in a crowded and competitive male-dominated environment, the best thing you can do is to volunteer for a tough but highly necessary assignment—the one no one wants—and then make it successful. It gives you a real chance to differentiate, and there is much less competition for the assignment. And if you succeed, you are a hero.

Motherly: How do you see Millennial moms approaching their careers differently?

Georgene Huang: I think I’m technically a millennial mom (or at least just barely) and I believe there are two things that shape how my generation approaches their careers. (1) We have grown up seeing our own moms balance work and life so we’re aware of the tradeoffs—they’re not theoretical to us. (2) Our generation has access to unprecedented amounts of information and are more digitally connected than any other generation. This means we expect and demand transparency and will make decisions based on more information. We can be less reliant on tradition and institutions dictating from the top-down how careers and jobs “should be” done. This will translate into demands for more work flexibility, remote working and a bunch of other things.

Motherly: What’s your secret to integrating work and family?

Georgene Huang: Support! Whether you rely on daycare, a nanny, a spouse or other family to take care of your children, you need to have full faith and trust in them to have your back and be beneficial influences for your children. If you don’t, you will not be able to be your best at work.

Motherly: What keeps you inspired and excited every day?

Romy Newman: Two things: #1 is absolutely my family. And #2 is the wonderful people I’ve worked with in my career. I’m smarter and more equipped to succeed because of what I’ve learned from them, and absolutely nothing is more motivating to me than when I hear from someone how I’ve made a difference in their career.

Motherly: What are your words of wisdom for other mothers wanting to turn their passion into a business?

Georgene Huang: Moms can be more risk-averse because they understandably have very important responsibilities and obligations (i.e. their families) to protect. I think it’s important to stage your risk-taking and be independent about your timeline for building a business, if at all possible. Specifically, I believe you don’t have to do things the way that other entrepreneurs do them. You have to forge your own path.

Motherly: What are your big dreams for Fairygodboss"

Georgene Huang: My goal is for every single working woman to one day take a look at Fairygodboss somewhere in their decision-making process when it comes to applying or accepting a job. If she walks into the door with eyes-wide-open, she’ll make a better decision. And employers will start to seriously care about what their female employees say, which will improve the companies where change needs to happen.

Motherly: Who is your #momcrush?

Romy Newman: My mom crush is my mom! She has inspired me to aim higher and shown me just how hard you have to work to enjoy success in life. Also, Michelle Obama, who is smart, successful, glamorous, diplomatic and a wonderful mother. Talk about balancing it all!

Motherly: What does “Motherly” mean to you?

Georgene Huang: Once I became a mom, I started to see that it meant being a person who has an obligation to leave the world a better place than she came into it. You are a role model for your children and you want them to lead lives full of meaning.

Romy Newman: Being a mother has taught me to judge much less and now I try my hardest to see the world from others’ perspectives. Being a mom is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had – and it’s so important to realize that we are all in this together, and we are all trying our best.

This araticle was originally published by Motherly Media here.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!
 

thumbnail 1 summary