Erin & Sara Foster
Sisters Sara and Erin Foster may be best known for their tongue-in-cheek satire of reality TV, Barely Famous. But as the heads of creative at Bumble, they know all about networking, too.
The best career advice we’ve ever received is when something isn’t working, retreat and attack from a different direction.
A major challenge we’ve faced was we didn’t figure out what we wanted to do with our lives until a lot later than we ever expected. Instead of feeling like it was too late to pursue the things that secretly pulled at us, we decided to go after them. We started at the bottom and fought our way up, teaching ourselves how to get to the next phase. Don’t ever think it’s too late to pursue the thing you think you’re secretly meant to do.
No matter how busy we are, we make room for the people in our lives we want to spend time with. We close the computer and go out to dinner with our friends. We go on trips, if it’s possible. And sometimes we have a stretch of time where we just need a break and so we take it. We think it’s okay to slow down and take the day off sometimes.
On creativity and inspiration: Honestly, sometimes you just have to force it. Our dad always told us, If you want to be a writer, that doesn’t mean you just wake up at 3am inspired. It means you sit down in the morning and write even if it’s the last thing you want to do. But, we get inspiration from other people doing what we want to do. Making movies we wish we wrote, building companies we wish we had thought of. Nothing is more motivating than seeing someone else do something you’re afraid to do.
Erin: The thing I am most proud of is the fact that I’m making a living doing the things I always fantasized about, but deep down didn’t think I had the ability to really pull off. I always felt like an underdog. I was never great at sports, did poorly in school, never had a teacher who took a special interest in me. I just assumed I wouldn’t be able to be good at the things I loved. So, when I became a TV writer, and got my WGA insurance card, I thought, “Holy shit, I can’t believe I did it.”
The biggest gamble we’ve ever taken was creating “Barely Famous.” No one had any reason to trust that we could write, produce, and star in a satire comedy that was going to make fun of LA and reality culture. It was a risk that people wouldn’t understand it, and some people didn’t. Some people thought it was an actual reality show. Which was devastating. But the people who mattered understood it and it launched our careers in the best way possible.
Sara: Since having children, I’ve learned that there is truly no way to be in two places at once. I will say that having daughters motivates me even more to work hard. They motivate me to actually do more. I am grateful that they see me passionate about my work. I think it’s a good example to show our daughters that we are responsible for ourselves and never to rely on a man to provide for us. All that being said, I do believe being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job in the world. I have so much respect for women who choose to do that. My mom literally gave up her entire life to raise my sisters and I. She never missed a play, a soccer game, or a doctor’s appointment. I would say when you are home BE PRESENT. Put the phone away! It’s quality, not quantity, so if your time with the kids is quality then that’s all that matters. I am personally trying to practice what I preach.
The best way to cultivate a professional network is to surround yourself with people who are working towards things that excite you. Surround yourself with people who impress you, intimidate you, inspire you, annoy you with how ambitious they are. Don’t keep people in your life who just hang out and wait for things to happen. It’s contagious. It starts to feel acceptable, and it’s so easy to take the path of least resistance, so you always have to be exposed to the benefits awarded to the people who earned them.
The most important thing you can do to empower another woman in her career is support her. Offer help. Congratulate her when things are going well, and offer support when things aren’t. People feel more isolated and alone than we think and are receptive to someone offering them a connection.
The one thing I would like to say to every woman in the world is the best way to prove yourself is not to scream how worthy you are, but to simply be worthy. Everyone will notice.