We caught up with the female founders of Fairygodboss, Romy Newman and Georgene Huang, to chat about their inspiration, the importance of work-life balance, and creating a network for women, by women.
The idea of Fairygodboss began when Georgene was 2 months pregnant (and hiding it) while looking for a job. She realized that she had specific questions for her new job, given her situation, but her network and resources were limited. She wanted to know which companies were good to women; which companies gave them opportunities for top-level roles and assignments? Which companies paid them fairly?
Looking to fill this void, Georgene asked Romy to be her co-founder and Fairygodboss was created. Romy describes it as “free, anonymous company reviews…with the mission of improving the workplace for women through transparency”. Today, you can visit Fairygodboss for information on companies’ policies on maternity leave, work-life balance and remote work. You can also leave comments on your current employer and join the conversation.
Romy and Georgene created a place where women have a voice, so we wanted to know what women are saying. They told us women look for diversity and work/life balance in their employers and appreciate companies that establish boundaries for commitments and family time. Romy also notes the isolation women frequently feel in the workplace, “they greatly value the opportunity to connect with other senior women – but due to ongoing attrition among their ranks, women have trouble finding those relationships within their organizations”.
Today, women are constantly exposed to the harsh criticism of social media. But Fairygodboss stresses the importance of staying positive within their network. Their website features a striking line: “The Golden Rule: Be constructive, not destructive”. User-Generated Content can be risky, as it can quickly lose its productivity. Romy and Georgene explain, “we want the voices on our site to be heard, and drive impact – and that is best achieved when the content we collect is thoughtful and insightful”.
At Behere we talk a lot about work/life balance, so we asked Romy and Georgene what that looks like to them, and how women can achieve it. They explained that, as we are always connected to technology, it’s not about the hours worked, but the time set aside to truly disconnect and spend time doing what you love. Flexibility in the workplace is becoming more common, and focusing on life outside of work will allow both men and women to flourish as employees. When looking for a job at a company that is at the forefront of adaptive practices, Romy and Georgene recommend that women seek out companies that already have a strong female presence. “Knowing that women achieve leadership roles and remain engaged with the organization is a sure sign of a women-friendly organization,” Romy explains.
As Fairygodboss continues to grow, Romy and Georgene aim to be the #1 career community for women. “We want to be a constant and useful resource to all career-minded women for challenges and issues they face – around job seeking, promotion, transitions, harassment, workplace conflict and even less weighty topics like what they should wear to work”. Tackling these topics is no small feat, but Fairygodboss is up for the challenge, and standing with the women who face these questions every day.
Written by Katie Tatham – @kltatham (Canadian wanderer & outdoor enthusiast)
Photo courtesy of Fairygodboss