Ellen Pao Biography
Ellen Pao is a Chinese- American investor and activist who co-founded Project Include. Since becoming known, in 2012, for filing a gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins, she has expressed vocal criticism of the hiring and promotion practices in Silicon Valley. She was born in 1970, New Jersey, USA.
In 2018, she left Kapor Capital and Kapor Center for Social Impact to focus on being Project Include’s CEO. Pao served a term of office as CEO at Reddit but in 2015, detested decisions made generated a wave of controversy that peaked in her stepping down. The adverse response she received ignited debates on the treatment of women in technology and on the need for transparency in a company that relies on volunteers.
Ellen Pao was a partner at Kapor Capital and the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. Her other roles included investment partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, board director at Flipboard, and corporate attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Pao is the middle child of three daughters born to Tsyh-Wen and Young-Ping Pao.
Her father was a professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences while her mother worked as an engineer in computer sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1991, she graduated from Princeton University, which is also the alma mater of her two sisters. Here, she secured a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
In 1994, she earned a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, and after two years of working, Pao returned to attend Harvard Business School. Here, she received an MBA in 1998.
Ellen Pao Husband
Previously, Pao, who is a vegetarian, married Roger Kuo but later got divorced. In 2017, she then married African-American, Buddy Fletcher and the two share a daughter. They met in 2007 through Aspen Institute functions, after they were both appointed Crown Fellows. Buddy had for years openly dated a man, Hobart “Bo” Fowlkes, an employee of his investment firm. Buddy founded Fletcher International which was declared bankrupt in 2012.
He is the former New York hedge fund manager. Both Buddy and Pao filed sensational lawsuits that put their careers at risk, no matter the outcome. Buddy sued the iconic Dakota apartment building, accusing the board of racial discrimination after it questioned his ability to pay for an additional unit in the complex.
On the other hand, Pao sued her employer, Kleiner Perkins, for sexual discrimination. She allegedly said that her superiors ignored her complaints of abuse by some male colleagues and went on to curtail her career for raising the issues. Besides Buddy’s hedge fund being filed for bankruptcy, he has also been accused of sexual harassment and discrimination by employees.
The couple is keeping it lowkey and information on whether they are back in business is vague. Pao dismisses the stories about her husband and his finances as efforts by the media to smear both of them. They both lost their careers back after filing serious lawsuits.
Ellen Pao Daughter
Ellen and Buddy Fletcher have a daughter named Matilda Pao Fletcher, who was born in July 2008. Like many children these days, Matilda asks deeply investigative questions about the state of our society. While at coding camp, the almost 10-year-old finds herself lonely because she is one of few girls there. She tells her mother that she is at a desk all day, doesn’t really have anybody on her team or to talk to and that she is just doing it by herself.
At first, Pao tells her daughter that is how people work when they get older. They are just on their own. But then she stops herself and thinks. “Maybe 20 years from now, when my daughter is a young woman embarking on her own career, discrimination in tech will be a relic of the past, like segregated lunch counters or Irish Need Not Apply signs.”
Ellen Pao Reddit
Ellen Pao joined Reddit in 2013 as the head of business development and strategic partnerships. One of her first investments made in this capacity strengthened the ties between Reddit and its in practice image host, Imgur. She set a goal for the company which was to make it easier for people to become Redditors. In November 2014, Yishan Wong resigned and Pao became the interim Chief Executive Officer of Reddit.
The website has gone through a number of changes under Pao. One of the largest changes was the banning of revenge porn in March 2015. Other social networks, that removed such images in the following months, have been referred by many to as following Reddit’s model.
Pao was the subject of criticism and harassment by Reddit users after five Reddit communities were banned for harassment and Reddit’s director of talent was fired. The critics lasted between June and July 2015. A Change.org petition requesting her removal reached 200,000 signatures.
On July 3, Pao issued apologies through Reddit and Time magazine. However, the Reddit post was thought to have been deleted after it received enough downvotes to lose visibility. So on July 6, she apologized on a longer post, for poor communication between staff members and for not delivering on promises. Pao resigned on July 10 and was replaced by Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman.
Former CEO, Yishan Wong sharply criticized the movement against Pao’s lead in banning hateful subreddits and warned about stricter policies under the site’s co-founders. On July 13, Reddit’s chief engineer Bethanye Blount left the company for unrelated reasons. She suggested that Pao did not receive enough support from the board. On July 16, Ellen Pao wrote about the difficulty of combating harassment while preserving “edgy content”. For more information about Ellen Pao’s link to Reddit, visit her account by clicking here.
Ellen Pao Book
In her book, Pao shines a light on troubling issues that affect today’s workplace. The book titled Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change also lays out practical, inspiring, and achievable goals for a better future. Reset, 288 pages long available as hardcover and audio, was released on September 2017 and The book has been shortlisted for the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.
Pao describes herself as a “Dutiful daughter” of immigrants who excelled at Princeton and Harvard, where she picked up law and business degrees, and then headed west for the technology gold rush. As the book persuasively shows, men in the tech industry love to exalt the notion of “Disruption,” but those at her venture capital firm chafed at a woman disturbing their comfort.
She unravels the slow accumulation of slights and outrages she endured at Kleiner. Pao recalls trying to implement Sheryl Sandberg’s advice about leaning in and demanding a seat at the table. When the plane landed, Pao realized that “The group couldn’t wait to ditch me.” She thought, “Taking your seat at the table doesn’t work so well. . . when no one wants you there and you are vastly outnumbered.”
Later, she notes wryly that after Sandberg’s book came out, “That porn-obsessed tech CEO was all over it as a spokesperson and advocate.” ‘Reset,’ Pao’s book, is most acute when it portrays a fine form of discrimination. Pao writes, “When venture capitalists say – and they do say – ‘We think it’s young white men, ideally Ivy League dropouts, who are the safest bets,’ and then only invest in young white men with Ivy League backgrounds, of course young white men with Ivy League backgrounds are the only ones who make money for them.”
Reset, Ellen Pao’s Book
Pao suggests she suffered in Silicon Valley simply because of her gender. “This is a problem with pushing boldness for its own sake onto introverted, analytical women,” Pao writes.”What if our inclination to assess and avoid the outsized risk of certain ventures could be an asset to our teams?
Why does it never seem to occur to anyone that it’s an option, say, half the time, for the men to actually listen to us?”That sort of coolheadedness is contrary to the cowboy risk-taking for which tech culture constantly congratulates itself.
All this leaves women and people of color with an unappealing set of choices. Whether complaining about sexism or wondering if an investment is a smart bet, Pao and women like her are stuck with the unfun roles of ballbuster and buzzkiller.
Men, including those at Kleiner, are permitted to be prickly and unlikable if they are perceived to deliver, whereas women are required to be likable. As long as a trial turns into a referendum on likability, ambitious women are likely to lose. Like Anita Hill and Hillary Clinton before her, Pao was humiliated and defeated. It seemed to take losing for people to embrace Pao, to thank her for raising awareness.
At the end of the book, Pao notes that she has formed Project Include to fight underrepresentation of women and people of color in tech.
Ellen Pao Twitter
Pao has over 59.8K followers on Twitter and has posted more than 8,000 tweets. Check out the embed of her account below.
Ellen Pao Project Include
Pao cofounded the non-profit organization Project Include with Erica Baker, Tracy Chou, Freada Kapor Klein and four other women in the technology industry. It is an advocacy group aimed at improving diversity in the technology industry and was launched on May 3, 2016. Project Include is also accepting as many as 18 startups with 25 to 1,000 employees to promote diverse workforces.
The group develops human resources advice in a series of meetings with clients and publishes anonymized progress reports under a Creative Commons license. Ellen Pao knows the drawback of the predominately white and male workforce in technology. In 2015, she sued Kleiner Perkins for gender discrimination and lost the case.
Since then, she has doubled down on her criticisms of sexism in Silicon Valley. Besides, Project Include invited venture capital firms to participate in a mentorship capacity. As of May 2016, 18 companies signed up for its services.
Ellen Pao Salary
According to Lynne Hermle, Kleiner attorney, Pao made more than $500,000 in 2011. Susan Biglieri, Kleiner Perkins’ chief financial officer, confirmed that junior partners get paid a salary as well as bonuses while senior or general partners get profits from Kleiner’s investments.
Her annual bonus was $160,000. Three of her male colleagues, hired around the same time as her, were promoted in 2012, despite her seniority. If she was also promoted, Ellen Pao could have made as much as $2.6 million a year. As of today, her salary is disclosed and will update soon as it is not confidential.
Ellen Pao Incels
Incels is a term used by Pao to refer to an online subgroup who discuss their frustration with relationships and their lack of sex lives by often downgrading women as a whole, and using slang to refer to “outsiders.” She also terms them as involuntary celibates.
Ellen Pao Kleiner
In 2005 Pao joined Kleiner Perkins as technical chief of staff for John Doerr, a senior partner, a job that required degrees in engineering, law, and business, and experience in enterprise software. On May 10, 2012, Pao filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against her employer alleging workplace retaliation by a married junior partner, Ajit Nazre, with whom she had an affair.
On March 27, 2015, the jury found in favor of Kleiner Perkins on all counts. In an excerpt of Pao’s book, Perkins goes into detail about the office affair she carried on with a colleague. An affair that ultimately set her on a path to one day filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the firm. As she wrote, it all began with a “fateful” 2006 business trip to Germany.
Her colleague Ajit Nazre went on the trip along with Pao and opened up to her that he was having marital problems at home. He confessed to being desperately lonely and suggested that he and Pao would make a good couple since she was lonely too. After they returned to the U.S., she remembers that Ajit told her he was getting a divorce.
This opened the door to the two of them becoming romantically-involved, though when she learned that he was still with his wife, she broke it off with him. Once she ended it, Pao says in her book that Ajit almost instantly became hostile toward her at work. His hostility continued for years, even as Pao went on to get married and after she returned from maternity leave after having her first child.
She writes, “Not only was he blocking my work, but he had also been promoted to a position of even greater responsibility and was giving me negative reviews. I started to lodge formal complaints about him. In response, the firm suggested I transfer to the China office.”
Ellen Pao 2019
As chief executive of non-profit Project Include, Ellen Pao now works with investors and companies to address bias in the workplace.
Ellen Pao Quotes
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