In 2015, Ellen K. Pao sued a powerhouse Silicon Valley venture capital firm, calling out workplace discrimination and retaliation against women and other underrepresented groups. Her suit rocked the tech world—and exposed its toxic culture and its homogeneity. Her message overcame negative PR attacks that took aim at her professional conduct and her personal life, and she won widespread public support—Time hailed her as “the face of change.” Though Pao lost her suit, she revolutionized the conversation at tech offices, in the media, and around the world. In Reset, she tells her full story for the first time.
The daughter of immigrants, Pao was taught that through hard work she could achieve her dreams. She earned multiple Ivy League degrees, worked at top startups, and in 2005 was recruited by Kleiner Perkins, arguably the world’s leading venture capital firm at the time. In many ways, she did everything right, and yet she and other women and people of color were excluded from success—cut out of decisive meetings and email discussions, uninvited to CEO dinners and lavish networking trips, and had their work undercut or appropriated by male executives. It was time for a system reset.
After Kleiner, Pao became CEO of reddit, where she took forceful action to change the status quo for the company and its product. She banned revenge porn and unauthorized nude photos—an action other large media sites later followed—and shut down parts of reddit over online harassment. She and seven other women tech leaders formed Project Include, an award-winning nonprofit for accelerating diversity and inclusion in tech. In her book, Pao shines a light on troubling issues that plague today’s workplace and lays out practical, inspiring, and achievable goals for a better future.
Ellen K. Pao’s Reset is a rallying cry—the story of a whistleblower who aims to empower everyone struggling to be heard, in Silicon Valley and beyond.