Q&A: Romy Newman, Fairygodboss

One of the hot topics at our upcoming youth marketing festival YMS18 NYC will be how employers can attract and support the best young talent. Ahead of the event this October we chatted to YMS speaker Romy Newman, president and co-founder of Fairygodboss, an online community that helps women to flourish in the working world.

What can employers be doing to attract the next generation of top female talent?

The next generation of female talent wants to understand what kind of situation they will experience at a company. They’re interested in company culture, benefits, and policies. It’s important to women that they not only see themselves at the company, but also thriving at the company. In order to do this, employers must focus on storytelling and showcasing their employer brand through personal employee narratives. Your employees are your greatest brand ambassadors and showing women what a day in a life at your company might look like through compelling stories is key to attracting top female talent.

What do you think are the strengths of the young people currently entering the workforce?

The current generation is so courageous and articulate -- they have been empowered to speak their minds through social media and user-generated content for many years. They are not afraid to engage and achieve. Fairygodboss is so lucky to benefit from the energy and passion that young people bring to the table.

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What can employers do to make work a more inspiring and supportive environment for young women?

So many things! Companies need to help young women see a path to success by connecting them with more established women in the organization. Young women want to see examples they can follow and really envision themselves at a company. Of course, benefits packages -- including paid family leave -- are also a way to support not just women but all employees. Flexible working is most definitely the path of the future -- and will be demanded by this younger generation. Work has become too all encompassing!

Which emerging startups are you most excited by?

Well other than Fairygodboss of course — I love the work Maven is doing to support women’s health and maternity and postpartum care. Their online appointments with healthcare professionals are so convenient!

What’s the no.1 question you think needs to be answered by the youth marketing community at YMS18?

How are young people going to help companies be more effective, high-performing and also socially responsible?

What have you learned in your career that you wish you’d known when you started out?

I’ve learned that it’s ok if everyone doesn’t like you. Sometimes, to have a very successful career, we have to say and do things that are unpopular. But if you believe in yourself and what you’re doing, it shouldn’t matter. I always say: I have a great group of friends OUTSIDE of work.

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What’s your favourite app?

Slack! Or NPR One.

What has been the best moment of your career?

Well, I think closing this most recent round of fundraising for Fairygodboss has probably been the best moment of my career! It’s so fulfilling to watch our little company grow up into a full-blown company -- and especially to welcome so many talented people to our team.

What should we have asked you that we didn't?

My #1 piece of career advice! I think EVERYONE should do sales at some point. I moved into sales somewhat late in my career -- at the age of 35. But it turns out that the skills and experiences you pick up as a sales person apply to EVERYTHING in life. They apply to how you plan and direct your career; they apply to how you engage with your community; they even helped me get my kids into nursery school. Selling teaches you how to be persuasive, and how to deal with hearing “no” without taking it personally. Do yourself a favor -- and spend some time learning to sell.

Also, my Karaoke song is Alone by Heart. :)

Romy is one of the inspiring business leaders taking part in our Leadership Debate at YMS18 NYC this October. Early bird tickets are on sale now.