Unqualified Success Spotlight: Georgene Huang
Unqualified Success Spotlight: Georgene Huang
One of the very best parts of writing Unqualified Success is the chance it has given me to meet, collaborate, and learn from other men and women who have applied the principles of Unqualified Success to build and create the lives they wanted.
These stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things are incredibly inspiring and have lessons that can help each one of us. So, as part of a regular feature on the website, I will spotlight individuals who have learned to bridge the gap between where they were and where they wanted to be, and along the way created massive success for themselves and others.
Today I am proud to feature Georgene Huang, CEO and Co-Founder of Fairygodboss. Fairygodboss was created by Georgene to serve as a marketplace where professional women looking for jobs, career advice and the inside scoop on companies could meet employers who believe in gender equality.
Rachel: How was Fairygodboss created?
Georgene Huang: A few years ago, I was an executive at a major company and on what I like to call “a very bad day at work,” I was called into my boss’ office and promptly fired as part of a management shakeup. I was two months pregnant and I hadn’t told anyone yet.
I now had to go out and look for another job while trying to conceal my pregnancy. I was afraid that if I asked questions about maternity leave, hiring managers would see me as uncommitted to my work and wouldn’t hire me in fear that I’d leave immediately to take care of a child.
I decided to go online and look for more information about the companies I was interviewing with. I tried looking into their maternity leave policies, if they offered flexible work environment, and if they prioritized gender equality, but I couldn’t find anything on the job websites that already existed.
Although those platforms provided useful details about the companies, they weren’t tailored to females, which is why I started Fairygodboss. Today, millions of women turn to Fairygodboss for a sense of community, to connect with other women, to use our free career resources, and to share both their triumphs and failures, either as themselves or anonymously.
Rachel: Overcoming fear is one of the principles of becoming an Unqualified Success. What was your biggest fear when you created Fairygodboss?
Georgene Huang: When you’re starting a new company, there’s always the fear of immediate failure.
I launched our first anonymous survey as an experiment before I started Fairygodboss and while I was still on the hunt for a new job after being fired. The group I tested with was small, but the response I received was very encouraging. After that, I started talking to more and more women and the more responses I received, the more I knew there was potential in the market to build something really valuable for professional women across the country, and eventually, the world.
Rachel: Can you talk about how have you dealt with failure? How did you bounce back from any setbacks?
Georgene Huang: When I first started Fairygodboss with my co-founder Romy Newman, it was just the two of us for a while and every day was an uphill battle. We would send out hundreds of emails every week, hoping someone would respond. Starting a company takes a lot of determination, and persistence, and consists of a lot of no’s (or no replies!), but I really believed there were other women who could benefit from a resource like Fairygodboss so we just kept going until we started getting responses.
Rachel: What was your career journey before founding Fairygodboss?
Georgene Huang: I studied economics at Cornell University and after graduating from Stanford University, I started practicing law. After a few months, I realized that I wasn’t passionate about law so I moved into investing roles on Wall Street at a few different firms.
When the financial crisis hit in 2008, I started working at Bloomberg Ventures where I was in charge of helping to start and grow a few different businesses from the ground up. After that I ran the enterprise business at Dow Jones.
However, it is a completely different undertaking to create your own business from your own ideas—to make something out of nothing! Perhaps no amount of education or experience or qualification fully prepares you for that.
Rachel: How have you continued to grow your success? What goals have you recently set? How are they going?
Georgene Huang: We closed our $10M Series A back in March and our main goals were to grow our team and enhance our product. Today I’m very proud to say we have a team of 50 people across four different cities in the US and our success is creating more and more opportunities for our team as well as the women and companies we serve.
To continue to serve our network in the very best way we can, the Fairygodboss site recently went through a major overhaul. We’ve created a new platform with a brand new look which is really exciting. Adding new features that our users want to help improve our platform is our main focus and, I don’t want to speak too soon, but it looks like we’ll be able to successfully achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves. I see our potential to help our clients as unlimited.
As you can see, Georgene Huang has all the characteristics that define an Unqualified Success. She believed in her idea and her ability to bring it into reality. She stepped way out of her comfort zone to start her own business, stuck to her vision of what she wanted to create, and figured out how to make it happen. Along the way, Georgene has overcome fear and failure and setbacks and then persistently shown up for herself and her company again and again. Today her success has rippled to impact thousands of women. I hope her story will inspire you in your own work to achieve the massive success you want in your own life!