Haas Hosts Discussion With Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao

berkeley ellen pao

Ellen Pao, the Kapor Center for Social Impact’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, spoke at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business last week, discussing her tumultuous time as Reddit CEO, her new book, and the difficulty women face in business culture.

The Berkeley Forum and Asian-Americans@Haas co-hosted the discussion, which was moderated by Berkeley sophomore Shaina Zuber.

Prior to her much-publicized stint with Reddit, Pao, a Harvard Business School MBA graduate, worked for law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, WebTV, and several Silicon Valley companies, including BEA Systems. She joined Reddit in 2013 as the head of business development and strategic partnerships, and quickly filled in for the recently-departed CEO Yishan Wong in late 2014. She and the company had a mutual agreement for her resignation the following year.

Last month, she released “Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change” (Spiegel & Grau), which chronicles her unsuccessful 2012 gender bias lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, as well as her time in Silicon Valley and with Reddit.

Pao discussed her seven years as a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins as a way to touch upon a number of topics related to how we need to work together to level the playing field for women and people of color.

“Throughout my career, there would be little things I noticed but brushed off,” she noted. Pao argues she was routinely excluded from communication, meetings, and decisions.

“Despite evidence showing that the women’s investments were doing better than the men’s, none of the women, who seemed to have more education and work experience, received promotions,” she recalled.

Pao says her colleagues distanced themselves from her and avoided in-person contact during the lawsuit. However, she did receive encouraging private messages that commiserated with her battle and confirmed the company’s sexist culture.

Pao emphasized “the importance of workplace relationships in career-building.” She concluded, “Everyone has a voice. There is a systemic problem where people are not being included. And we need to change the whole system so everybody gets included fairly.”

You can read more from the Pao interview here.

Save

regions:
schools:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *