How She Got There: Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO of MOGUL

Name: Tiffany Pham

Age: 28

Job Title and Description: Founder & CEO, MOGUL

College Name(s): Yale University, Harvard Business School

Website: www.onmogul.com

Twitter Handle: @tifftpham

 

What does your current job at MOGUL entail? Though I’m sure your days are far from typical, what sorts of tasks are you doing on a regular basis as founder and CEO?

Tiffany Pham: At MOGUL, we have built a technology platform for women worldwide connecting users to trending content, including stories, jobs and products that are personalized to their interests. We are ultimately democratizing information for women by enabling users to connect, exchange this information and access knowledge.

As founder and CEO, I therefore lead our team forward in ways that remain fully aligned with this mission. I guide our content and community team as they onboard new users, creating a vibrant and dynamic community. I communicate with our technology and product team to ensure our platform is providing a positive and empowering environment for sharing. I support our marketing team as they create initiatives and partnerships to bolster our presence among women and extend our reach. And I work with our operations and growth team to strengthen our internal processes and infrastructure, which further fuels our external growth. In addition, I manage our relationships with our legal [counsel], accounting [team], advisors, think tank, and tnvestors.

 

What is the best part of your job?

TP: The best part of launching MOGUL has been developing a product that has the potential to create a lasting impact on women worldwide with our talented team. Each member of our team represents a different perspective, bringing with them years of experiences and insights that make each day unique and interesting as we encounter new opportunities. This includes the ongoing guidance and support of our advisors, including:

  • Ann Sarnoff, President of BBC Worldwide North America; Board of Directors at HSN, Inc.
  • Cathie Black, Former Chairman & President of Hearst Magazines
  • Michael Wolfson, Co-Founder of TheKnot.com; Former Chief Creative Officer at AOL
  • Will Bunker, Co-Founder of Match.com
  • James Benedict, Chief Learning Officer of Cavendish Global
  • Kevin O’Donohue, Managing Partner at BC Partners

Through our combined efforts as a team, MOGUL has experienced tremendous momentum. We were the Recipient of the IVY Innovator Award presented by Cadillac, named one of the Top NYC Startups to Watch by Entrepreneur, and have been honored and recognized by Forbes, Business Insider & Harvard Business School.

But it is the countless letters that we receive from women around the world that I most look forward to every day. Women write to us, letting us know that MOGUL has changed their lives. For example, one young woman from South Asia wrote to us saying that there, a girl’s life is all about marriage. But MOGUL pointed out ideas to her, helping her prove to herself and to others that she could be more than what they say.

Another example involved a woman who uploaded her invention to Kickstarter and received little traction during that time. When she then posted her product onto MOGUL, it became the number one trending item that day, and she subsequently received unending support and backing. She wrote to us saying she was in awe – that MOGUL was democratizing PR and giving women their voice.

 

Between being one of the youngest executives at CBS, sitting on several boards, working as a film producer, and doing a whole lot more, you’ve been busy the last few years! Could you talk about how you got your start in media and how you acquired the skills to make MOGUL the powerhouse it is today?

​TP: I knew early on I would become a founder. Yet I concurrently became a film producer, investor, arts philanthropist and book author in order to learn as much as possible prior to the launch of MOGUL.

After graduating from Yale University and Harvard Business School, I became Director of Business Development for CBS, handling strategic initiatives for 150 digital properties. I additionally helped found the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition with the Beijing government, and I served as a co-producer on different award-winning independent films, such as Girlfriend (Toronto ’10) and Funny Bunny (SXSW ’15). I also served on the Board of Directors for a number of arts organizations, such as No Limits Media and Provincetown Film Society. For these efforts, I was named one of Forbes' “30 Under 30," Business Insider's "30 Under 30," and next Elle magazine's "30 Under 30." But most importantly, I learned key lessons along the way for running my own company in media-technology.

Soon after, I co-authored the book From Business Strategy to Information Technology Roadmap, published by CRC Press. This inspired me to teach myself how to code Ruby on Rails, and I subsequently coded the first iteration of the MOGUL platform myself. MOGUL has since achieved a global reach of 16.2 million users per week across channels.

 

Speaking of age, what are some advantages and disadvantages of being the youngest person in the room? What advice do you have for college women who are finding themselves in the same spot?

​TP: The advantage of being the youngest in the room is that you are largely uninhibited by prior ways of thinking and awareness of obstacles. Your ideas and recommendations may therefore be naturally more innovative and needed within your organization.

The disadvantage is that others may automatically assume you are not experienced, and therefore your insights are not as valuable.

However, through hard work and continued collaboration, you can prove others wrong. If ever you find yourself being underestimated, continue forward with your work and deliver outstanding results, in order to demonstrate your worth. You will show that you are fully capable of spearheading initiatives or meetings and thus sharing your insights.

 

What is one thing you wish you knew about the media industry when you first started out that you know now?

​TP: The media industry is constantly evolving, and it is important to examine the landscape to see where you might be able to add the most value for yourself and for an organization. Consider which form of media you are most passionate about – whether it is print, music or digital media. Is it undergoing disruption? Find ways in which you would be able to add to the innovation, and adopt the skill sets to do so through college projects or internships.

 

Since MOGUL is all about women empowerment and mentorship, what advice do you have for college women who are looking for mentors and also might find themselves in a mentor role?

Be kind. Be authentic. Be generous. In the years leading up to MOGUL, I built friendships with countless women and men by initiating projects together and finding ways to collaborate whereby I could exercise my strengths, but also learn more from their expertise. The years I spent creatively collaborating with such mentors ultimately led to some of the strongest friendships I have to date, and these people are the ones who came to rally around MOGUL upon its launch and joined our team.

For those seeking mentorship, I would recommend doing the same. For those who might find themselves in a mentor role, I would recommend accepting collaborative help from those hungry to learn from you and dedicating the time to teach through such collaborations.

 

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

​TP: I look for someone who is a hustler – someone who will roll up their sleeves and get things done. Everyone on our team has that mentality built into her or his DNA, and that is something of which we are collectively very proud.

 

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

Think about what you want to do five years from now. Then, figure out what you know and what you do not know in order to make that vision come true. Of the things you do not know, obtain opportunities wherein you would be able to learn as much as possible by offering your help, even if only for free while still a student. With each opportunity, remember that you are bringing yourself to new heights – and that much closer to your ultimate goal.

 

Where do you see MOGUL (and your career!) in the future?

We aim to continue developing a more diverse and inclusive future for women. We will therefore continue to expand MOGUL in ways that lend to the overall empowerment and education of women worldwide.

This is just the beginning.

 

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