Meet Crimson Hexagon’s CEO Stephanie Newby
Stephanie Newby is the CEO of Crimson Hexagon, a big data social media analytics firm at which the author is currently working. She is also the founder of Golden Seeds, an angel investor network that invests in women-led start-ups. Prior to that, Stephanie was an operating executive in financial services. The majority of her career was with J.P. Morgan where she headed several global businesses, growing and managing revenue and expense budgets up to $500m.
Minette Yu: Prior to joining Crimson Hexagon as its CEO, you founded Golden Seeds, which invests in companies that are led by women. What inspired you to found Golden Seeds?
Stephanie: I have always wanted to support women entrepreneurs so as to foster more companies with women in positions of leadership. If a woman starts a company and she’s in the position of leadership, it’s hard to take that away. A company’s culture is created around the founding team, so if the leadership team has at least one woman in it, my belief is that she will impact the culture one way or another.
M.Y: When you were working at J.P Morgan, you worked 12 hour days from 4:30am-4:30pm while raising your young kids, how did you manage to motivate yourself and go through that?
Stephanie: I’ve never had any issue with motivation. But one thing I am doing differently is living nearer my work. Back in the day at J.P. Morgan I had a 1.5-hour commute each way every day. That was crazy. I wouldn’t do that again. My suggestion for young women is to make their lives easier, and living near your work can make it easier to juggle family and career. Technology has helped improve women’s work-life balance a lot, as good employers can provide some flexibility to work from home when needed. Flexibility is what parents need – both men and women. Picking up the kids, or going to a school concert is not just a woman’s responsibility, but a parenting one. Most workplaces have become more open and amenable to that, and technology provides the opportunity.
M.Y: I have read in many places that women hardly ask for more compensation. Is that true in your experience as well?
Stephanie: One of my goals is to encourage women to talk about compensation. What I say to them is: you have to come in here and talk about compensation, because the men do. I’m telling you, the men do. It’s very rare for women to talk about compensation. I don’t remember ever having a woman bring it up. Almost every guy who has worked for me has done that; there were hundreds of them, and they have all brought it up. When people talk about compensation, they do end up getting better paid. I always tell people that they should know their market worth. It’s not being traitorous to find that out. Make sure you know your market worth, and make sure the company is treating you right. If I disagree, then I have to have good arguments for not paying the amount you are asking for. I have to do my homework as well, and that’s fair.
M.Y: In your opinion, what’s the most common mistake young women tend to make early in their career?
Stephanie: Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s always a redeeming feature for me. My career is a total random walk theory, not mapped out at all. I just took advantage of opportunities when they came along. Don’t be afraid, and don’t be too cautious. Jumping is good. Taking risks is good. I’m not a big believer in mapping the whole thing out. I do think, however, that if you are bored or don’t feel challenged any more, you need to look for something new, hopefully within the same company. I like being the boss; I guess that’s why I ended up being a CEO.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MINETTE YU
Born and raised in China, I moved to Los Angeles with my family when I was in high school. I went to Harvard thinking I’d pursue a career in international relations, instead I stumbled into the world of tech. So glad I did! I’m now a professional product manager, a struggling engineer, and an aspiring entrepreneur. Outside of work, I’m passionate about providing smart kids from new immigrant families with college admissions advice and resources.