“When I first got the three pages of specs for a chief-of-staff position at Kleiner Perkins in 2005, it was almost as if someone had copied my résumé. The list of requirements was comically long: an engineering degree (only in computer science or electrical engineering), a law degree and a business degree (only from top schools), management-consulting experience (only at Booz Allen or Bain), start-up experience (only at a top start-up), enterprise-software-company experience (only at a big established player known for training employees) … oh, and fluency in Mandarin.”
That’s Ellen Pao’s career in the elite of the elite from a must-read excerpt of her upcoming book, Resent, which details the intense harassment she experienced at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The excerpt is worth the read in part because it challenges the assumptions we make about women who speak out on sexual harassment. It’s not just a woman who speaks up, gets fired, goes to court, loses, life goes on. Imagine having this happen to you when you spoke up about wrong-doing in your organization:
In response to my suit, Kleiner hired a powerful crisis-management PR firm, Brunswick. On their website, they bragged about having troll farms — “integrated networks of influence,” used in part for “reputation management” — and I believe they enlisted one to defame me online. Dozens, then thousands, of messages a day derided me as bad at my job, crazy, an embarrassment.
Corporate. Troll. Farms. Backed by people who have piles money like this:
Ellen Pao is a fighter. A leader. A storyteller. And she’s a damn strong role model for women, especially those navigating those same elite circles.