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Ellen Pao's Reset reveals Silicon Valley's 'toxic culture'

posted onDecember 4, 2017

In 2012, Ellen Pao sued her previous employer, Kleiner Perkins, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, claiming workplace discrimination, retaliation and bias and was subsequently fired from the firm. Pao alleges her colleague, Ajit Nazre, pushed her into a relationship and, when she broke up with him after finding out he was married, cut her out of important meetings and emails. After complaining about his behavior, she was given poor reviews, passed up for promotions, and told to keep quiet. Although Pao lost the court case, she has emerged as something of a leader for the club of women who've spoken out against harassment in the industry.

After Kleiner, Pao became CEO of Reddit, one of the web's biggest and busiest sites. Under Pao's leadership, the social news website and forum introduced its first anti-harassment policy, banned revenge porn and shut down subreddits over online harassment. Time hailed her as “the face of change.” In Reset, released by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Penguin Random House publishing, she tells her full story for the first time. Here's the release by Spiegel & Grau announcing "Reset":

Ellen Pao’s RESET, a fearless first-person account exposing the toxic culture that pervades the tech industry and defined her experiences both as a Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist and Reddit CEO; in telling her story as one of the few visible, prominent women of color who have reached the C-suite in corporate America and have dared to speak out about her experience, Pao, now the founder of Project Include, aims to spark a movement to empower other women and minorities; to Emi Ikkanda as her first acquisition at Spiegel & Grau, at auction, by Albert Lee and David Kuhn at Kuhn Projects.

Here are some reviews from the some of the world's most respected media:

“[Reset delineates] the very fine line that a professional woman in a male-dominated field will, at some point, most likely find herself treading: ‘Is it possible that I am really too ambitious while being too quiet while being too aggressive while being unlikable?’ . . . The genteel chauvinism of the enlightened elites at Kleiner Perkins . . . carried with it the sting of betrayal. They promised her a meritocracy and gave her a glass ceiling instead: ‘It just wasn’t fair.’ She’s right.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Ellen Pao [is] a phenomenal woman. . . . For anyone who cherishes the illusion that the tech industry is somehow superior to, say, investment banking, Pao’s book will come as a shock. . . . They say a fish rots from the head down. Same goes for Silicon Valley.”—The Guardian

“[In Reset,] Pao shares her story—the fascinating arc of her career and the bias and discrimination she encountered along the way, from Harvard Business School up through her time as CEO of Reddit. . . . To women throughout the tech industry—and to women in similarly male-dominated fields—she was a hero.”—Mashable

Ellen Pao

Ellen Pao was born in 1970 in New Jersey. She is the middle child of three daughters of Chinese immigrant parents, a maths professor and an engineer. Pao is fluent in English and Mandarin and first learned to code from her mother at age ten. She holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

In 2005, Ellen Pao joined venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, becoming junior partner. In 2013, she joined Reddit, becoming interim chief executive last November. Pao married Buddy Fletcher, an American former hedge fund manager in 2007. They have a daughter.

In 2016, Ellen Pao and seven other women tech leaders formed Project Include, a nonprofit effort with a mission “to give everyone a fair chance to succeed in tech” .

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