Five years ago, Ellen Pao lost a gender discrimination lawsuit against her employer Kleiner Perkins, a case that received national headlines in part due to the defendant being one of Silicon Valley’s hallowed venture capital firms.
That stinging defeat led Pao on a journey she could have hardly imagined. Instead of building a career as a venture capitalist, she became an activist and champion of workplace equality. In recent years, the #metoo movement also has cast Pao as a trailblazer in the Valley. Readers might recall the spectacular fall of Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick as one of the highest profile casualties in Silicon Valley.
“I do want to show people that I have gone through an experience that no one wants to go through,” she told the Financial Times last year. “You can do it and get to the other side and continue to do positive things — just in a different way.”
“Entrepreneurs and people who work at start-ups thrive on change and are super-flexible,” she continued. “A developer once told me that any change needs to be repeated seven times before it becomes natural. I think that’s definitely the case with diversity and inclusion.”
After the Kleiner Perkins episode, Pao briefly led Reddit as its CEO and in 2017, she documented her travails in Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change. Today she is the founder of Project Include, a nonprofit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry.
Pao will join the Club to talk about the Valley and the change she has helped to bring, in an exclusive conversation. Join us for this inspiring discussion, moderated by CNBC’s Bertha Coombs.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
Ellen K. Pao is a tech investor and advocate, the former CEO of reddit, and a cofounder of the award-winning diversity and inclusion nonprofit Project Include. Her writing has appeared in WIRED, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Lenny, and Recode. She has earned an electrical engineering degree from Princeton and law and business degrees from Harvard (HBS ’98).
Bertha Coombs is a reporter for CNBC, covering financial markets, business news stories and health care.
Her health care coverage at CNBC has ranged from covering the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the failed launch of the Obamacare health insurance exchanges, to how cancer researchers are using IBM’s Watson to improve cancer care, and how doctors are using mobile technology to treat patients in their own homes.
Coombs is a graduate of Yale University. Born in Havana, Cuba, she speaks fluent Spanish. Follow Bertha Coombs on Twitter @BerthaCoombs.
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