Meet Fran Hauser: Author, Investor, and Westchester Entrepreneur
Women supporting women is definitely the mantra that has been shifting the past few years, and one woman who personifies that message is Fran Hauser. Westchester native and mom, Fran is passionate about leveling the playing field for women through investing, writing, and speaking. She does this both in NYC and locally in Westchester where she invests and connects women in various industries. Read on to learn more about Fran and her favorite places in Westchester.
Westchester Family: Tell us more about how you got into your work as both an author and investor?
Fran Hauser: I had been an executive at Time Inc. for eight years when I started getting an itch to do something different. I realized that the thing I loved most about my job was partnering with startup founders.
Through these partnerships, I got to know the founders and I became a sounding board for them. I also learned that there were many women in NYC who wanted to launch businesses, but when they looked up they didn’t see any female investors or advisors to support them. So I decided to start investing and advising as a side hustle while I was at Time.
I did that for two years and then went out on my own. I’ve invested in over 30 female-founded companies and I truly love what I do. Working for myself also gave me the capacity to write my first book (something I had always wanted to do).
The real tipping point was a blog post I wrote for Forbes called Nice Girls Finish First, which ended up being one of the most popular posts in their mentoring series. I started hearing from women all around the country about the double bind that they found themselves in: if they are nice at work they are thought of as a pushover, and if they are strong they are thought of as a b***h. That single blog post validated the need for the book and helped me to secure a book deal for “The Myth of the Nice Girl.”
Westchester Family: Why is it important for you to support/empower moms/women?
Fran Hauser: Women are still under-represented when it comes to leadership and board roles, they receive only 2% of venture capital funding, and are paid on average 77% of what men earn. And the pandemic has only made things harder, especially when it comes to gendered division of family responsibilities.
On a personal level, I’ve experienced and observed many behaviors that hold women back at work (behaviors like not speaking up in meetings, being afraid to go for a promotion, not making time to build out their professional network, and more). A lot of the work that I do, whether it’s through my books or my speaking, is to unpack these behaviors and embolden women to address them so that they can move forward in a powerful, intentional way.
Westchester Family: We love the digestible workbook format for “Embrace the Work, Love Your Career”, how did you decide to create it in that form?
Fran Hauser: I wrote the book in the middle of the pandemic and given the weight that we were all carrying, I wanted to create a book that was less academic and more practical. I envisioned a book that was beautiful and light and fun – and something that the reader would actually look forward to doing.
Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that even the smallest steps can move you in the right direction. Taking action is a fundamental principle of the book, and readers will walk away with a personal career action plan.
There are fun checklists, tools, and creative exercises, all with the goal of helping activate a career that you will love. The chapters end with meditations and coloring breaks which offer an opportunity for resetting and for reflection. There’s definitely a holistic approach with this book, with a focus on moving through your career mindfully.
Westchester Family: What advice would you give to moms/women who feel stuck/lost in their careers?
Fran Hauser: I want to say that you are not alone. There are millions of people who feel the same way. And the good news is that you can decide to do something about it. It’s totally in your control. And there are exercises and questions and frameworks that really do work and are available to you. That really was my goal with the book to capture them and package them in a way that makes them very doable.
Here are a few questions from the book that you can reflect on right now:
- What comes easy to you or where do you naturally shine?
- What tasks do you always choose to do last or dread?
- Which projects or tasks make you the most proud?
- When do you feel most appreciated?
The other thing I would recommend if you’re feeling stuck is to make time to meet people that work in different roles/industries that are interesting to you. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Be curious. Ask them what their day looks like, what skills they use, what they love about their job. You never know what these conversations might spark and you’re also deepening connections in the process.
Westchester Family: How do you create joy in your life?
Fran Hauser: By prioritizing people that make me happy and energize me, and letting go of people that drain me.
Westchester Family: What are some of your favorite things to do in Westchester?
Fran Hauser: I have a regular lunch with five women that I’ve known forever (my sister, sister-in-law, godsister, cousin, and dear friend). We all grew up together in Mt Kisco so it’s fitting that we meet at Village Social for a “Paloma lunch” (their Paloma is to-die-for). We gather every couple of months and it’s always something that I look forward to. I’m a voracious reader and I curate a table at Booksy Galore in Pound Ridge with my favorite books.
With my husband and kids, we love to go to Exit 4 in Mt Kisco for dinner and we spend a lot of time at Bedford Village Memorial Park (especially watching my older son play baseball). My new favorite place to work is Yellow Studio in Cross River. I’m a member there and their space has the perfect energy to get creative work done and brainstorm new ideas. And my husband and I love going to The Capitol Theatre with friends – it’s always a fun night out!
How to Find Fran’s books
Both The Myth of the Nice Girl and Embrace the Work, Love Your Career are available at Booksy Galore in Pound Ridge, 67 Westchester Ave, Pound Ridge, NY 10576.