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Girl Mogul: Dream It. Do It. Change the World

Girl Mogul: Dream It. Do It. Change the World

by Tiffany Pham
Girl Mogul: Dream It. Do It. Change the World

Girl Mogul: Dream It. Do It. Change the World

by Tiffany Pham




"If you know an aspirational teen who's destined for the big leagues, or if you just want to make sure you're doing everything right in today's weird economy, Girl Mogul is the perfect book to help." —Bustle

Welcome to Girl Mogul! No matter who you are or where you come from, this book can help you define success, envision it, and make it happen—in school, in your personal life, and at work. Get ready to awaken all the awesomeness that is already inside of you.

You are fierce.
You are bold.
You are unique.
You are driven.
You are inspiring.

Tiffany Pham, founder and CEO of Mogul, created one of the most successful platforms for girls worldwide, reaching millions of people to enact true change in their lives, after receiving thousands of emails asking for advice. In Girl Mogul, she speaks directly to teens and young adults, sharing insights from her own life as well from the lives of the most incredible and inspiring women on Mogul. Tiffany has proven that with the right attitude, the right people, and the right vision, there’s nothing girls can’t do.

An Imprint Book

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250298966
Publisher: Imprint
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Tiffany Pham is the founder and CEO of Mogul, one of the largest worldwide platforms for women, enabling them to connect, share information, and access knowledge from one another. As a coder, she developed the first version of Mogul, reaching millions of women per week across 196 countries and 30,470 cities. Tiffany was named one of Forbes’s “30 Under 30” in media, Business Insider’s “30 Most Important Women Under 30” in technology, ELLE Magazine’s “30 Women Under 30 Who Are Changing the World,” among many other honors. Tiffany is a judge on the TLC TV show Girl Starter, and cohost of the show Positive Pushback. She speaks at the United Nations, Microsoft, Hearst, Viacom, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Wharton Business School, Scripps Research Institute, SXSW, and around the world. She is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Business School. She is the author of Girl Mogul.

Read an Excerpt



To do great things, you have to believe you are capable of them. You have to know your worth, be assured of your power, and realize you already possess an aptitude for awesomeness.

After all, confidence is the first step to awakening your inner Girl Mogul.

Without confidence, you don't know how powerful you are, how creative you are, and how much you can accomplish. I'm not talking about the kind of confidence where you walk into a room convinced that you are the most beautiful one there. I'm not talking about how you look at all — this has nothing to do with your weight, height, hair color, or style. It's not about who likes you or whether you're the most popular girl in school. I'm talking about the kind of confidence that comes from deep knowledge of your smarts, skills, and significance. The kind of confidence that allows you to believe that within you is the ability to learn new things, think of innovative solutions, and bring change to the world.

This chapter is all about asking yourself the question What am I capable of ? Have you tried something you haven't done before and learned a new skill? Have you taken a risk and succeeded? I know the answer is yes. The question is, Did you notice? You've likely never taken the time to recognize that your life has been a series of trying new things and gaining new skills. It started the moment you were born! The problem is, somewhere along the way, we stop aiming high, because we are surrounded by a culture that is afraid of failure.

To be confident in your abilities, you've got to try and try and try again. There will be times that you fail. But as long as you get back up and keep going, it's not really failure. It's a chance to learn. And once you have enough successes under your belt, you realize that there is nothing you can't tackle.

It's time to awaken the awesomeness that is already inside you. And don't worry — it doesn't matter when you start.


I was born in beautiful Paris, France, the middle child of Vietnamese and Chinese parents. We spoke French and Vietnamese at home. My siblings and I wore school uniforms straight out of the Madeline books and spent our weekends exploring the Tuileries Garden. My early childhood in Paris was a wonderland of history, shopping, and food along the River Seine, full of jaw-dropping cathedrals like Notre-Dame and majestic monuments like the Eiffel Tower.

But when I was ten years old, our family moved to Plano, Texas, for my father's work. It was jarringly different from Europe, and I became the definition of the odd girl out.

I spoke little English at the time, making my inherent quietness even more pronounced and a defining characteristic in my first few years in Texas. I sat in class coloring instead of contributing anything, doodling in a dictionary instead of starting my homework. My teachers would call my parents, concerned that I wasn't making any progress. But my parents knew to give me time. They knew I would pick up the language eventually and then be able to start participating in class and making friends.

In those early months in Texas, I would come home every day after school, and await my father's arrival. He would come home from work each evening with a different movie rental from Blockbuster. Classic '90s romantic comedies like While You Were Sleeping and You've Got Mail became my de facto English lessons.

Slowly but surely, I began to emerge from the cocoon of my family and put myself out there. With my father's encouragement, I joined the school orchestra and started taking piano lessons. I trained in Taekwondo at the local dojo and, by the time I reached high school, tried out for the lacrosse team.

I was far from confident. But at least I was no longer hiding, or afraid of standing out and being ridiculed for being different. Though I may not have been as awkward anymore, I was still trying to find my awesomeness.

So how did I go from shy barely-speaks-English Tiffany, at age ten, to the young woman who runs a global technology and media company today?

Actress, author, and producer Mindy Kaling says in her book Why Not Me? (which is a great title and a mantra for all of us): "Confidence is like respect; you have to earn it." I couldn't say it any better. I've learned firsthand that the only way to earn confidence is to dare to do something you once thought was impossible. When you tackle a problem that seems insurmountable, when you approach someone you thought would ignore you, when you try out for something you aren't sure you'll get chosen for, you realize how capable you are. And you'll get addicted to that feeling of accomplishment. You'll begin to feel like if you work at it, nothing is impossible.

My journey to becoming the confident woman that I am today started in math class. Math was my favorite subject when I moved to America, mainly because there was no language barrier. Numbers were numbers, and equations came out the same whether in English, French, or Vietnamese. And I was good at math. With little studying, I could still earn an A– on every test or quiz.

I discovered this fact thanks to a grade-school teacher who would hold multiplication races each week. There would be dozens of equations, and whoever solved them first would quickly jog-walk up to her desk to turn in their answers. The teacher would check their work, and call out their name if they got all the answers correct. The winner would now proudly walk back up to the front of the classroom, where the teacher would present them with a small tin of Sour Patch Kids. The winner would then select their prize — one Sour Patch Kid — and head back proudly to their desk. And while I know that a single piece of candy seems like a small token, everyone in the class wanted to be the winner.

A different student would receive the Sour Patch Kid each week, and while I was always done quickly, I was never the first to submit my answers.

But one day, I just decided — I was going to do it. I felt this determination surge inside me. I knew that I was good at multiplication and that I was fast. I could do it. I could be better than I thought.

That week, I stayed laser-focused on each problem, and quickly raced through and finished. Then I jog-walked up to that desk — where I was declared the winner.

The next week came, and I gave myself a pep talk again. You can do this, Tiffany. That Sour Patch Kid can be yours. And sure enough, I jog-walked up to her desk — again first — and won that coveted prize.

I did so every week for the rest of the year. But this was about more than candy. This was about knowing how hard I'd worked, and the powerful belief that I could accomplish something I set my mind on.

I once heard about a research study on the power of positive messaging. Two groups of students of similar mathematical ability were put in two separate rooms. One group heard that they were receiving some math problems that were very difficult to solve. The other group received the same math problems but were told that they were easy. The first group was unable to solve any of the equations. The second group solved every single one.

What you tell yourself and believe you can do truly does matter.

I received another important lesson in the power of believing in yourself during my freshman year of high school, when I had a geometry teacher who asked us students to grade our peers' papers. Toward the end of class, we would switch papers with the person in front of us and grade their work while they graded ours. I was never too focused on these grades and, therefore, usually got a 92 or 93. But I often had to grade the homework of the girl who sat in front of me, Diane. I had my hand poised ready to put a red slash through any answer she got wrong. But I never had to use my pen. There was always one grade at the top of her papers: 100%.

After a few weeks of this routine, I started to wonder why I had felt so content with my 92s. Why did it suddenly feel like I was settling? As Diane kept getting perfect score after perfect score, something awakened in me. Could I get a 100%? If I took the time to really study each night and double-check my work?

I remembered my experience with the Sour Patch Kids. If I put in the work and believed I could do it, I bet I could get a 100%, too. Instead of breezing through my math homework, I made sure to study the lesson carefully each night and concentrate on ensuring that the answer to each question was correct.

And after a few weeks, my grades started to rise. First it was a 95. Then a 97. And then, I got my first 100.

When Diane turned around to hand me that paper, she gave me a little smile. I smiled back. I had done it. I had gotten a perfect score.

Pretty soon, I was getting 100s on every homework assignment, and every quiz, too. Diane and I became best friends, studying together after school and occasionally meeting up at the local mall on the weekends, where we had a tradition of buying "Best Friend" key chains. Diane ended up being valedictorian of our class. And though she and I attended different colleges, we stayed best friends and both ended up attending Harvard together for graduate school. Shortly after, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, which took place inside the cylindrical MIT Chapel, decorated with geometric shapes that seem inspired by mathematical formulas. The night before the wedding, in the midst of all the hectic preparations, Diane showed me her "Best Friend" dice key chain, which she had kept all these years.

I'm indebted to Diane, because she set before me an example of awesomeness, and of what happens when you believe in yourself and actually apply yourself to a goal. Accomplishing that goal strengthened my confidence, so that the next seemingly insurmountable task somehow didn't seem so insurmountable anymore.

Because now that I knew what it felt like to be my best, I wanted to strive for excellence in everything.


The confidence that I cultivated in the classroom helped me aim high when I began applying to colleges. While I applied to the state university system, I also applied to a number of schools that I had only ever read about, schools that I felt were out of my league.


What is one area in your life where you know you could up your game from good to excellent?

What could you begin to do today to awaken your awesomeness in that activity?

Tell one friend of your commitment to see this goal through, to build up your confidence muscle. Ask them to check in with you occasionally, as a reminder.

List three other areas that you could work on next:

1) ____________________ ____________________

2) ____________________ ____________________

3) ____________________ ____________________

I had purposely not told my parents about the applications, not wanting to disappoint them.

Then came the large envelopes.

My parents were moved to tears as I showed them each letter, one by one. I had been admitted to Yale. Stanford. Duke. Everywhere I had hoped.

Yale had especially intrigued me, because I was a huge Gilmore Girls fan. Rory Gilmore was a lot like me growing up. She was shy, the quiet one in any classroom, her nose always in a book. She stayed focused on her big goals, often sacrificing fun in the moment for a focus on the future. When she went on to attend Yale and run the school newspaper, meeting smart and interesting friends along the way, I dreamed of doing the same. I wanted to stretch myself, as she had, to grow in unexpected ways.

I felt fortunate that the school had granted me a full scholarship for the first three years. While my parents were overjoyed that I was being given the chance to attend such an esteemed school, I was equally happy that I had the opportunity to go without burdening my parents financially.

I sent in my acceptance check, even though I still hadn't even visited the campus. I couldn't believe I was going to build a new life in New Haven, Connecticut, and I was incredibly nervous and excited to start. Yet when I walked onto campus, I felt like a total outsider. Sometimes things aren't as bad as you'd imagined, and sometimes they are exactly the way you'd imagined them to be. I felt incredibly insecure, unsure of how I would ever keep up with all these geniuses. I was so shy in class that I rarely spoke up. I kept my awesomeness hidden under lock and key inside of me. I didn't want to risk letting it out, in fear that compared to others, I wasn't awesome at all.

I won't pretend that first year wasn't rough. Anytime you move someplace new or start a new job, it is going to take some adjustment to find your footing. Don't beat yourself up about it! We have all been there. But at some point, you're going to have to open that lock and unleash your awesomeness for the world to see. It does get better.

By sophomore year, I knew I had to push myself more. I had been accepted to Yale. I deserved to be there just as much as anyone else. And I slowly began to emerge from behind the guard I had put up: I spoke up in class and started to get involved in campus organizations.

Why are extracurricular activities so important? In high school, they're encouraged because they help us to become well-rounded, and more desirable to the colleges of our choice. But why do colleges even care about these activities? While you may be able to take tests and write papers with the best of them, academic learning is only one aspect of who you are. You can be incredibly confident in the classroom and completely insecure when you step out into the real world. Having confidence in both is key!

By the time I graduated, I had shed my shy-girl ways. But it didn't happen overnight. Instead, through a number of gradual steps, I began to put myself out there.

My first small step was volunteering to be the website manager for the Asian American Students Association. Even though it was a minor role, participating in that group led to an opportunity to join the staff of the school newspaper and then, by junior year, to be promoted to publisher. By senior year, I was selected to be a part of the Yale Senior Class Council, composed of the top student leaders from across campus (athletes, musicians, newspaper staff, student government officers), who would be in charge of overseeing class events throughout the year.

As someone willing to put in the work, I ended up being the one to takecharge of most of these events. And by year's end, both students and the administration ended up asking me, as a thank-you, to be the class's graduation chair. This involved planning Senior Week activities and the graduation ceremony; meeting with our graduation speaker, Tony Blair (who at the time was the prime minister of the United Kingdom); and giving an address at graduation itself.

And that is how I found myself onstage, in front of ten thousand people, giving a speech to my classmates about how we should stay focused on the good and optimistic about our futures, no matter what hardships we may face.

I was hesitant to give that speech; the shy girl who would never speak up in class still lived within me. But despite my hesitation, I knew I could face my fear and do it anyway. Every time I had faced something that I wasn't sure I could do, with enough practice and perseverance, I had stepped up to the moment, not wanting to live with regret.

As I took the stage, I took a breath and unleashed my awesomeness. I had spent hours preparing and had practiced enough to know, without a doubt, that I could do it.

As a fun surprise for my classmates, one of Yale's choirs joined me onstage in the middle of my speech. Together, we sang a college favorite, Bon Jovi's classic "Livin' on a Prayer."

The audience of ten thousand cheered.

Looking out from that stage, I stood there confident and capable, knowing how far I had come from the moment that I had first stepped on campus, afraid, insecure, and hiding. Here I was in front of everyone, not letting any fears hold me back.


The kind of confidence I felt on that graduation stage — the kind that fills your chest with excitement and makes you feel on top of the world — is the key. I never would have built my own company without it. When I felt the seeds of Mogul growing, I would not have been able to see the opportunity and build it myself without confidence in my abilities. That doesn't mean it wasn't scary. It was! But I had learned by then to trust that I had what it takes. This trust came not only from responsibilities that I took on during college but also from pursuing jobs after graduation that I knew would develop the skill sets I needed to one day build my own company.


Excerpted from "Girl Mogul"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Tiffany Pham.
Excerpted by permission of Imprint.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

PART ONE CONFIDENCE Define your life on your own terms.,
PART TWO COMMUNITY Choose your team.,
PART THREE COMMITMENT Envision your future and make it happen.,

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