Reset | Ellen Pao

Summary of: Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change
By: Ellen Pao


In ‘Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change,’ Ellen Pao exposes the systemic discrimination woven into the fabric of corporate America, focusing on her personal experiences in the male-dominated tech industry. The book delves into harrowing accounts of sexual discrimination and unfair treatment, culminating in Pao’s sensational legal battle against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. These powerful narratives underscore the importance of fostering an environment of inclusivity, equality, and respect in the workplace, paving the way for lasting change.

Breaking Barriers in Corporate America

Ellen Pao’s experience as a successful lawyer highlights the pervasive nature of sexual discrimination in the workplace, ultimately hindering women’s professional growth.

Ellen Pao, a Harvard Law School graduate, had high hopes for her career as a corporate lawyer when she joined the prestigious law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City. However, she was soon hit with the realization that deep-seated sexual discrimination was rampant in the workplace, affecting both her and her female colleagues.

Pao recounts the experience of a black female coworker who was constantly mistaken for an administrative assistant despite being dressed in professional attire. This colleague faced challenges in accessing company cars despite holding legitimate authority, leading to her eventual departure from the profession.

Pao also describes the exclusionary nature of male-dominated events, where women were often left out of important conversations and opportunities. Despite her best efforts, Pao was relegated to a seat far from the senior partner when attending a hockey game with her colleagues.

These experiences highlight the difficulty women face in trying to advance in male-dominated professions. Sexual discrimination in the workplace often goes unnoticed, but it creates detrimental effects on women’s professional growth and success.

In conclusion, Pao’s story serves as a reminder that barriers still exist for women in corporate America. It is time for companies to take proactive measures to eliminate sexual discrimination and create inclusive work environments that foster equal opportunities for all employees.

Breaking the Boys’ Club

The book excerpt tells the story of Ellen Pao, a Harvard MBA graduate who joined a venture capital firm and faced the reality of being a woman in a man’s world. Throughout her career, Pao experienced gender discrimination and exclusion from men-only events. She suggested the name of Marissa Mayer to join a board with only men, which was rejected because she was deemed “too controversial.” In contrast, male colleagues openly discussed sex workers without any consideration for Pao’s presence. Despite her foresight, Pao’s proposal to invest in Twitter was dismissed until a male junior partner suggested it four years later, who was hailed a genius for his idea. The book highlights the challenges women face in male-dominated industries and the double standards of having ambition as a woman.

A Woman’s Struggle in a “Boys Club”

Ellen Pao’s memoir “Reset” highlights the gender bias that prevails in the male-dominated world of venture capital investments. Pao’s experience at Kleiner Perkins, a well-known venture capital establishment, exposed her to the stark reality of how women are excluded from men-only events that are commonly used to exchange advice and information. Her struggles to pitch for change and recognition are also highlighted in the summary through her efforts to promote Twitter, which was dismissed by a senior partner, only to be invested in by a male junior partner four years later.

Pao’s Fight Against Workplace Harassment

Ellen Pao, a former senior partner at Kleiner Perkins, stands up against harassment in the workplace. When Pao was subjected to unfair treatment by Ajit Nazre, she filed several verbal and written reports to the HR consultant but was told to stop complaining. Her fellow junior partner, Trae Vassallo, revealed that Nazre had sexually harassed her. When Pao reported this to the managing partners, Nazre finally left the firm. Pao sought to eradicate the “boys club” culture at Kleiner by convincing the company to hire an independent investigator. But Kleiner did not seem interested in her experiences of harassment, which led her to file a lawsuit against the firm for their inaction and mistreatment of women.

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