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Women In Comms

WiCipedia: Pao Resets; Fowler Goes Supreme

This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Ellen Pao shares an excerpt from her revealing new book; Susan Fowler fights class action waivers; Uber's financials grow despite its drama; and more.


Join Women in Comms for its upcoming networking breakfast in Denver, Colorado, on September 28, where we'll be tackling the question "What's the matter with the tech industry?"


  • New York Magazine has published an eye-opening excerpt from Reset, the new tell-all book from Ellen Pao, who sued (and lost to) venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins for discrimination, retaliation and harassment in 2012. The excerpt shares all the forms of gender discrimination she experienced at her time at the firm from the seemingly innocuous (being passed over with a plate of cookies at a meeting) to the overtly offensive (being excluded from company trips and, more importantly, meetings with her own portfolio companies) to the downright illegal (having board seats taken away when on maternity leave). Since her unsuccessful lawsuit, Pao has started a non-profit aimed at sharing recommendations, data and best practices for inclusion in tech. She's also raised a ton of awareness to what's been a systematic problem in the industry and one that had been ignored or brushed aside for too long. (See Ellen Pao Returns to VC to Tackle Tech Diversity.)

  • Another wronged woman in tech who's helping to change the game, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, is fighting for a different kind of change at Uber now, and is taking it to the Supreme Court. Fowler filed an amicus brief calling for the end of class action waivers, which are a common practice at Uber and many other tech companies as a condition of employment. Her lawyers write that these "waivers in arbitration agreements unfairly allow companies to eliminate legal risks associated with systematic, illegal employment practices." The Supreme Court is set to hear three different cases related to workers' right to organize on Oct. 2. (See Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims.)

  • Despite all the corruption, exec shuffling and very public turmoil at Uber this year, it appears business is still quite good for the ride-hailing company. Uber released some earnings to show the public it's preserving despite an internal implosion. Gross bookings were up 17% in the second quarter and the number of trips taken rose 150% in the past year, while its adjusted loss fell and adjusted net revenue grew to $1.75 billion in the second quarter from $1.5 billion in the first, according to numbers confirmed to Axios by the company. Uber says its drivers have also earned a total of $50 million in tips since enabling them on the app in late June. As Axios notes, however, Uber lost its CEO and has been dealing with more boardroom drama in the third quarter, so that will be the one where the numbers matter the most. (See Uber Investor Sues to Kick Kalanick Off Board and Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO.)

  • In case you haven't had your fill of Uber news this week, the company has announced a multi-year partnership with Girls Who Code that includes a $1.2 million donation over the next three years to be used to develop hundreds of after school and immersion programs, exposing 60,000 more girls to technical skills from an early age. Uber's new Chief Brand Officer Bozoma Saint John will join the Girls Who Code Board of Directors, and the company's engineers will also begin volunteering, setting up coding workshops and mentorship programs at local Girls Who Code chapters across the country. And, this means that Uber still has another $1.8 million left to dole out from its diversity fund. Sure, it's all just for good PR, but we're happy an organization like Girls Who Code is benefiting from it. (See 'Women Who Code' CEO Paints Better Tech Pic.)

  • If all the negativity in the Valley has you thinking about where else you can make it big in tech without dealing with drama, Entrepreneur suggests seven other cities that are giving Silicon Valley a run for its money and attracting new talent to vibrant tech scenes. They include: Salt Lake City, Utah; Tampa, Florida; Huntsville, Alabama; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albany, New York. (See Which States Have the Smallest Gender Gap in STEM Occupations? )

    — Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Director, Women in Comms

  • Sarah Thomas 8/25/2017 | 12:29:26 PM
    Uber CEO search In even more Uber news, the company is meeting today to hopefully finalize its CEO search wtih GE CEO Jeff Immelt and one other candidate presenting their visions for the company. I think many are still hoping HP CEO Meg Whitman will change her mind and consider the CEO slot too though... As always, stay tuned...
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