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Mogul's Tiffany Pham Aims To Unite And Uplift Female Voices

People

Tiffany Pham, Founder of female-oriented social platform Mogul, is hoping to continue the momentum from the Women's March, by uniting millions of young women in protest across college campuses.


“It's a campaign that emerged organically and took off like wildfire across college campuses," said Pham, the Founder and CEO of women-focused media network, Mogul, of her #ReadMyLips campaign. “It's a campaign of women sending messages directly to the White House [voicing concern for Trump's administration]."

The #ReadMyLips campaign, which now includes students from thousands of schools, began with 24 universities including Harvard, Yale, NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, and Wellesley. According to Pham, participant statements are printed and placed inside statues- incidentally designed by Saturday Night Live veterans-and delivered to the White House.

“We want to ensure women's voices are heard," says Pham, whose life focus has been and continues to be empowering women through access to communication and content.

Pham's platform, Mogul, which she describes as a “social platform enabling women to connect and get opportunities from each other," now has 18 million readers (aged 18 to 34 years old) per week across 196 countries and 30,470 cities, according to Pham.

“Our community is made up of upwardly mobile rising stars," says Pham. We are aspiring to inspire incredible women who are doing incredible things."

The Beginning

“Essentially my vision for Mogul was inspired by my family," says Pham. “I had grown up in a family that had been for many generations in media and I wanted to follow their footsteps. From early age made my mind up I would provide information access to the world."

Pham, who grew up in Plano, Texas, and learned how to master English through television shows and movies, says she saw from a young age how important access to information was.

“I saw how media was such a powerful tool especially for learning and education and I never forgot that experience," says Pham.

It was during her time at Yale University that Pham decided she would create a company for women, with the goal of empowering them through access to information. Pham then attended Harvard Business School she worked for four years in media for various executives at BBC, HBO and CBS, across television and radio.

“I got to see a lot of different types of media," said Pham, who worked with the Mayor of Beijing on a new venture; an international screenwriting competition. “It was one of the first attempts to reach through cultural gaps between the US and Beijing at that time. I found top talent in the US and had them submit screenplays oriented around Beijing."

Through her project in China, Pham, who was working three jobs and producing films on the side, began to see through her goal of providing access to information across the world. A few months later Pham found herself listed in Forbes 30 Under 30.

“The final catalyst towards launching Mogul was one day I woke up and all these young women around the world started to write me hundreds and thousands of letters," says Pham, regarding the reaction to her feature. “I started writing back to every single letter and started to realize they were telling me my messages were changing their lives. I thought 'what if we could exchange information and share our journeys'?"

“Where were the women's voices?"

After a couple of weeks, Pham taught herself programming and built the first iteration of Mogul on a simple platform, which she launched in 2014. Pham's goal was to offer women that chance to upload-content in real time and see what's trending in terms of women's conversations around the world. According to Pham, Mogul had 1 million users in the first month, a number she attributes to a core database of passionate women who all shared it with their respective networks. Another impressive feat? According to Pham, the site became immediately profitable, and thus self-supporting and sustainable, thanks to its large reach.

“I ultimately knew that what I was creating, as a Millennial myself, would be supremely helpful," says Pham. “It would be for my own personal usage; for me, for my friends, for the young women writing to me. Ultimately I realize all these young women in my life were sharing it, and I saw how much it was resonating and realized how much it was needed. Reddit and Wikipedia (whose authors are 91 percent men) are similar platforms plats yet they are catering to mostly men."

The Partners

Mogul currently includes two arms in its business model; Mogul Studios, which supports the creation of content with brand partners like IBM, Estée Lauder, and Samsung; as well as Mogul At Work, an employee platform where women can share information about their workplace, and where jobs are posted.

According to Pham, Mogul was commissioned by the NYC Department of education to train 100,00 teachers in gender equality training.

According to Pham, for each dollar generated by Mogul At Work, Mogul provides free access to 62 million girls in need of education, in partnership with the United Nations, beginning with India, Pakistan, Canada, Kenya, Myanmar, and Egypt.

“With world-changing partnerships such as with UN Women, we will be distributing free educational resources to over 62 million women across 93 countries, beginning with Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and the Caribbean," says Pham. “With the launch of our partnership, Mogul and UN Women will now be accelerating educational and economic opportunities for women worldwide. We are proud to make this global impact together."

According to Pham she is currently focused on continuing to grow her platform, with no plans to slow down.

“Our aim to take this to new heights," says Pham. “We built a strong foundations to make a big impact on women globally and that model is one that has enabled Mogul to become a highly sustainable, highly profitable social enterprise. We want to take it to next level, continuing to fortify and scale internationally, and through mobile expansion to new women abroad."

When it comes to the future of media, as a whole, Pham believes the democratization of content will continue.

“I believe that in the future everyone will be creating content in some way," says Pham. “In the end what will differentiate that content is authenticity. Brands are creating content, so are influencers, consumers, and businesses. That's why the Mogul platform has positioned itself to become a daily destination for all these corresponding parties. Mogul will enable them to reach women."

5 Min Read
Featured

Judge Tanya Acker On Overcoming Racial Barriers And Her Rise To The Top

You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.

Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life.

The show, created by Judge Judy, is a new take on the court genre. Alongside Acker, are two other judges: Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero. Together the three-panel judges take viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers. “I feel like my responsibility on the show is, to be honest, fair, [and] to try and give people a just and equitable result," Acker says. She is accomplished, honest and especially passionate about her career. In fact, Acker likes the fact that she is able to help people solve problems. “I think that efficient ways of solving disputes are really at the core of modern life.

“We are a very diverse community [with] different values, backgrounds [and] beliefs. It's inevitable that we're going to find ourselves in some conflicts. I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.

Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life. Particularly, her time working right after college impacted the type of legal work she takes on now.

Shaping Her Career

Acker didn't foresee doing this kind of work on television when she was in college at either Howard University or Yale Law. “I was really open in college about what would happen next," Acker comments. “In fact, I deliberately chose a major (English) that wouldn't lock me into anything [because] I wanted to keep all of my options open." Her inevitable success on the show and throughout her career is an example of that. In fact, after graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Dorothy Nelson who sits on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It was not only her first job out of law school but also one of the formative experiences of her professional life. “[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law," she exclaims. “She delivers it all with a lot of love." Judge Nelson is still on the bench and is continuing to work through her Foundation: The Western Justice Center in Pasadena, California, where Acker serves on the board. The foundation helps people seeking alternative ways of resolving their disputes instead of going to court.

"I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.

“It was important to her to try and create platforms for people to resolve conflict outside of court because court takes a long time," Acker explains. “I'm proud to be a part of that work and to sit on that board."

After her clerkship, she was awarded a Bristow Fellowship and continued building her career. Outside of the fellowship, Acker's legal work incorporated a broad variety of matters from civil litigation, constitutional cases, business counseling, and advising. One of her most memorable moments was representing a group of homeless people against the city. “They were being fought for vagrancy and our defense was, they had no place to go," she shares.

As part of her pro bono work, Acker was awarded the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her success with the case. Though, she has a hard time choosing from one of many memorable moments on Hot Bench. Acker does share a few of the things that matter to her. “Our show is really drawn from a cross-section of courtrooms across America and the chance to engage with such a diverse group of people really means a lot to me," she discusses.

How Did Acker Become A Judge?

In addition to Judge Nelson, Judge Judy is certainly among her top professional influences. “I think it's incredible [and] I feel very lucky that my professional career has been bookended by these incredible judges," she acclaims. “I've really learned a lot from Judy about this job, doing this kind of job on television." Before Acker was selected for Hot Bench, she hadn't been a judge. It was Judge Judy who recommended that she get some experience. Acker briefly comments on her first experience as a temporary judge on a volunteer basis in traffic court. “I was happy to be able to have the chance to kind of get a feel for it before we started doing the show," she comments. “Judy is a wonderful, kind, generous person [and] she's taught me quite a lot. I feel lucky."

Judge Acker in white pantsuit with her dog. Photo Courtesy of Annie Shak.

Acker's Time Away From Home

Outside of Hot Bench, Acker took recent trips to Haiti and Alabama. They were memorable and meaningful.

Haiti, in particular, was the first trip she excitedly talks about. She did some work there in an orphanage as part of LOVE Takes Root, an organization that is driven to help children around the world whether it's basic aid or education. “Haiti has a special place in my heart," she began. “As a person who's descended from enslaved people, I have a lot of honor and reverence for a country that threw off the shackles of slavery."

She was intrigued by the history of Haiti. Especially regarding the communities, corrupt government and natural disasters. “They really had to endure a lot, but I tell you this when I was there, I saw people who were more elegant, dignified, gracious and generous as any group of people I've ever met anywhere in the world," she goes on. “I think it left me with was a strong sense of how you can be graceful and elegant under fire." Acker is optimistic about the country's overall growth and success.

“[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law."

“There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," Acker says. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving."

Her other trip was different in more ways than one. She traveled there for the first time with her mother as part of a get out to vote effort, that Alabama's First black House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels was organizing. “It was incredible to take that trip with her [and] I've got to tell you, the South of today is not the South of my mother's upbringing," she explains. Originally from Mississippi, Acker's mother hasn't been back in the South since 1952. “Every place has a ways to go, but it was a really exciting trip [and] it was nice for me to connect with that part of the country and that part of my history."

Overcoming Racial Barriers

As a black woman, Acker has certainly faced challenges based on her race and gender. But it doesn't define who she is or what she can accomplish. “There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," she says. “There's no sort of barrier that someone would attempt to impose upon me that they didn't attempt to impose on my mother, grandmother or great-grandmother." In a space where disparity is sometimes apparent, she recognizes that there is no barrier someone would try to impose on her that they didn't attempt to impose on her mother or grandmothers. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving," Acker states. The conversation continues truthfully and seriously. Acker shares what it can be like for black women, specifically. “I think we're underestimated and we can be disrespected, whereas other folks are allowed the freedom to enjoy a full range of emotions and feelings," she articulates.

At times black women are often restricted from expressing themselves. “If someone wants to make an assumption or jump to a conclusion about me because of my race or gender, that's on them, but their assumptions aren't going to define me," Acker declares. “If something makes me angry or happy I will express that and if someone wants to caricature me, that's their pigeonholing; that's not my problem." A lifelong lesson she learned and shared is to not let other people define who you are. It is one of three bits of wisdom.

Three Pieces Of Advice From Judge Acker

The Power Of Self-awareness

“It's really important that you have a really firm sense of what you want to do and be, and how you're moving in the world because when people try to sway you, judge you or steer you off course you've got to have some basis for getting back on track."

Know Your Support System

“Have a strong community of people who you trust, love and who love you," she advises. “But also learn to love and trust yourself because sometimes it's your own voice that can provide you the most comfort or solace in something."

Learn From Your Experiences

“Trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself.

“There are times when it's not enough to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we've got things that we need to work on, change or improve upon," she concludes.

Acker stands out not only because of her accomplishments, but the way she views certain aspects of her life. These days, she's comfortable accepting what makes her different. “I think there's a time when you're younger when conformity feels comfortable, [but] I'm comfortable these days not conforming," she laughs. She enjoys being a decision maker and helping people work through it on Hot Bench.

This article was originally published May 15, 2019.