Diversity advocate Ellen Pao joins Kapor Center

Gender equality advocate and former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is getting back into the investing game.

On Tuesday the Oakland-based Kapor Center for Social Impact announced Pao has joined the team as a venture partner and chief diversity and inclusion officer. She started work there last week.

“This role is the culmination of my professional experience and passion,” Pao wrote in a news release. “The Kapors, the Kapor Center, Kapor Capital and I share deep values around diversity and inclusion for everyone in tech. And in this political climate, our work is more important than ever.”

Pao became a household name in Silicon Valley last year when she took storied venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to court, accusing the firm of discriminating against her based on her gender and fostering a boys’ club atmosphere that was hostile toward women. She lost the case, but the trial launched her crusade to infuse more women into the male-dominated tech workforce. Pao co-founded diversity effort Project Include (alongside Kapor partner Freada Kapor Klein) and is planning to release a tell-all memoir about the “toxic culture” in the tech industry.

Pao plans to continue those efforts at the Kapor Center, which invests in startups that are making a “positive social impact,” such as those tackling issues of access to education and healthcare. The center opened a new headquarters in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood last year, just a few blocks away from Uber’s future headquarters on Broadway.

In Pao’s new role as the Kapor Center’s first official chief diversity and inclusion officer, she will organize and coordinate the center’s many diversity-focused initiatives, and she will spearhead new projects that will be rolled out this year, founding partner Mitch Kapor told SiliconBeat on Tuesday.

“I’m really excited about boosting our abilities to do effective diversity and inclusion work that will impact the whole Silicon Valley ecosystem,” he said.

Pao will spend about a quarter of her time in an investing partner role, helping to source deals, evaluate investments and work on diversity issues with the center’s portfolio companies. The main goal is to create individual hiring targets for each company, Kapor said, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

“We are thrilled to have Ellen on our team,” Freada Kapor Klein wrote in a news release. “While her long list of talents and accomplishments make her an excellent fit for this role, it is her values, her courage and her leadership skills that will prove enormously valuable.”

Photo at top: Ellen Pao is photographed on Sept. 7, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif.  (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

 

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  • John Ray

    What is it- chief diversity and inclusion officer?

  • Zach

    Hint for job applicants: I’ve always found that saying “hire me or I’ll sue” impresses HR departments. Being a black, handicapped lesbian is also helpful.

  • Zach

    How is Pao’s husband Buddy Fletcher doing these days? Will he be hired too?

  • Makikiguy

    Didn’t she ball one of the bigwigs at her former company????

 
 
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