Georgene Huang is the CEO and Co-founder of Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women out there. She’s one of the women in tech changing the game for everyone. The Fairygodboss Story began when Georgene, a young executive about to become a mom, realized that none of the platforms available for free really helped her (and other women like her) with the necessary information or guidance to make well-informed professional choices and achieve her career goals.
The tech startup provides career resources and hundreds of leading global employers that are looking to attract, recruit, and retain more diverse talent among their ranks. Giving millions of women connections, advice, and hard-to-find intel on how companies treat women and other relevant information like salaries, allyship, and maternity leave policies. A Cornell and Stanford graduate, Georgene previously ran the enterprise business at Dow Jones and was a Managing Director at Bloomberg Ventures.
For leveling the playing field as one of the most visible women in tech changing the game; for creating a platform for women to thrive in their careers that millions already benefit from, we honor Georgene Huang with the 2022 Hall of Fame.
The Fairygodboss Story and the Woman Behind It
RED SHOE MOVEMENT – Tell us a little about how you came up with the idea for Fairygodboss? How has your personal experience prepared you?
GEORGENE HUANG – The idea for Fairygodboss came to me when I was a young, female, and pregnant executive. I was using these free career resources like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor and not seeing the information I needed to make the best decisions about what workplaces would be a good fit for my ambitions. We have a social mission as a company, but I pursued Fairygodboss as a business because I saw a large market opportunity and interest in both users and employers.
RSM – What would you say have been some of the biggest struggles Fairygodboss has faced on the road to becoming the largest career community for women?
GH – I think going from 0-1 for any business is difficult and many of our struggles are like those of other startups. My job has always been to hire the best people I can and help them to be better and deliver that every day.
Women in tech Changing the Game
RSM – You’ve raised millions of dollars in funding since you co-founded Fairygodboss, what are some of the most valuable lessons your experience has taught you about venture funding?
GH – Venture funding is not the only path to raising financing and it’s best suited to companies
that have or need high levels of growth, investment, and scale to capture the market opportunity adequately. As opposed to slower, steadier business opportunities that can self-finance or should pursue less dilutive forms of capital.
RSM – What strategies should companies adopt to ensure they’re recruiting the top female talents out there?
GH – They have to make the effort! Companies employ brilliant people and invest capital and resources to solve all kinds of tremendous business problems and therefore I believe companies and leadership teams can achieve whatever they set their sights on.
What Are Women Looking For?
RSM – According to your data, what are some of the areas that Fairygodboss users seem to need the most guidance in? And what are career-minded women looking for in the workplace?
GH – Many Fairygodboss users want advice about navigating career change and nuanced situations that come up at work with their managers and colleagues. There is also always a healthy number of people looking for advice around the job-search process.
Career-minded women are not a homogenous bunch and I try hard to avoid generalizing about such a large population. Some women want to be CEOs and others are just looking for a company culture where they feel they can thrive and achieve the income and work-life balance they want.
RSM – Would you mention other woman in tech changing the game?
GH – We just announced that TheMuse is acquiring Fairygodboss. TheMuse has been led for over a decade by Kathryn Minshew. She and her team have been working on next generation job search and employee recruiting for over a decade and she’s been a real trailblazer in this space.
Management and Our Own Role as Women Changing the Game
RSM – If you could suggest one action that organizations can take to accelerate the representation of women at the top, what would it be?
GH – There are no silver bullets nor quick, overnight fixes. Otherwise, there would already be more women represented in leadership and management roles today. Representation in leadership roles of diverse talent is a systemic (and social) problem that requires active investment in fair and equitable recruiting and hiring practices as well as a deep, hard look at company culture, practices, and policies. Ultimately, management must believe it’s important to focus on this and expect that as a multi-faceted problem, it will take time to implement change.
RSM – If you could suggest one action that women could take to accelerate their career growth, what would it be?
GH – Whether you’re a woman or a man, if you aspire to leadership you need to become comfortable with taking risks and operating outside your comfort zone. This means embracing the possibility and likely fact of failing and having the resilience to learn from mistakes and pick yourself up to move on. Take on the most challenging assignments and roles you can.