It's working for Georgene H.
New York City, New York
“I just have to work a lot more now. I have more people to take care of.”
Georgene Huang was used to working a lot. As an executive at Dow Jones, she managed a global team, worked long hours and accepted the sacrifices that come with a demanding job.
But two kids and a new company later, she is still working hard — but in a very different way.
“I just have to work a lot more now. I have more people to take care of,” she said.
The New York City mom was living in London when she had her first child. She opted to take eight weeks maternity leave instead of three months, since she’d just been promoted. “I didn’t feel like I could achieve what I wanted to. I think I was really overly ambitious,” she said.
And while going back to work was hard, being based in London made things easier, the work culture in a European office was much more conducive to having a work-life balance. “It was better to leave at 5:30 or 6pm there,” she explained. But another promotion took her to New York City, and she was newly pregnant with her second child when she was let go.
“The management team of my company had changed,” she said. “I came in with the CEO and left with the CEO.”
Newly unemployed, she began to look for work, hunting for information about what a company culture looked and felt like. Would they have generous maternity leave policies, or a work-life balance arrangement that she would be comfortable with? Were these companies truly family-friendly? If so, what did that look like?
“I was using my personal network and you soon run out of people to ask questions to. I was doing internet research and I still couldn’t find what I was looking for,” she said.
Georgene realized there was information missing that could be crucial to women making job decisions about which companies would be the best fit. So she created FairyGodBoss.com , an employee review site by women for women, including what sort of policies and benefits are available in the specific workplace.
“It’s not just for mothers,” she said. “It’s a topic that a lot of people talk on and discuss. “We offer a lot of free resources. People who find it are searching for a job with these things in mind and maternity leave can be very opaque for most companies.”
The reaction to the site has been incredibly positive. “We’ve had over 20K submissions or tips since we launched in March of last year. This has been something that has really resonated,” she said.
Even with the positive feedback, Georgene acknowledges that running a startup is still a lot of work. “It’s arguably more than I was doing before in terms of pure hours,” she said, though, “I do have a ton of flexibility.