The powerhouse CEO of online platform Mogul is doling out all her top career lessons and leadership advice.
It’s rare to meet someone who has been certain of their career path since age fourteen. At that point most kids are waffling between dreams of becoming professional ballerinas or astronauts (excellent career choices both, though perhaps not the most trafficked paths). Not Tiffany Pham.
“My grandmother ran newspapers across Asia,” explains Pham. “She passed away when I was fourteen, and that same day I decided I would do everything in my power to follow in her footsteps.” Pham had set her sights on becoming a media tycoon and now, less than two decades later, she’s done just that.
Pham is the creator of Mogul, a digital platform for women to connect, share information and access knowledge from a global community. When Pham launched the site two years ago, they hit one million users within the first week. Now, they have an audience of over 18 million women and are accessed in all 196 countries in the world, every single day. “We’re one of the fastest-growing content platforms for women ever,” says Pham.
One look at Pham’s resume and you’ll realize that she is a veritable force. At 21, she was the youngest member of her Harvard Business School class. After graduating, she went on to hold three simultaneous media jobs (handling partnerships at CBS, launching a cultural venture with the vice mayor of Beijing and producing films, all at the same time). Several years ago, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In fact, that’s when the inspiration for Mogul struck.
“All of the sudden girls around the world found my e-mail address and I started receiving hundreds of notes every day asking for advice,” recalls Pham. She answered their queries one by one (often foregoing sleep in order to get all the responses out) until one day she realized that these individual responses were just a drop in the bucket.
“I thought, ‘what if we had a platform where every woman could ask questions and share insights about career and life journeys and gain knowledge from each other in return?’” she says. “I looked around and saw that every other large information exchange hub – from Reddit to Wikipedia with its 90% male editors – was largely oriented around male millenials. That’s when I realized there was a need for Mogul.
Since its inception, Mogul has helped to launch innovative products, has empowered female entrepreneurs across the world, and has provided education to scores of girls who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. Their mentorship channel even grants users access to serious #girlboss mentors (think women like Chelsea Clinton and Kelly Osbourne), for insight and advice. “Collaboration is one of the most powerful ways in which women can support and encourage each other, whether in their personal or professional lives,” says Pham. “With Mogul, we gain access to so much more knowledge than we could ever gather on our own, and become that much stronger together.”
Of course, over the years Pham has become a wizened mentor herself. “I’ve learned so much in the process of creating Mogul,” she says. Her number one piece of advice for life and work? “Establish a vision of what you would like to accomplish in ten years, and then work backwards.” As she sees it, if you know where you want to go, it will be much easier to get there. “Over time, iterate towards perfection, but don’t be held up by the need to be perfect now.”
Other than that, “be kind, be authentic and be generous,” advises Pham. “As a founder, it is so important to stay in touch with why you wanted to start your company in the first place.” Of course, she adds, you have to balance all that good nature with a healthy dose of ambition and strength too. “As women, we can’t be afraid to ask for opportunities,” counsels Pham. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” And if you don’t get the answer you want? Ask yourself: what would Tiffany Pham do? Try again, we suspect.