January 10, 2017 / 11:25 PM / 7 months ago

Ellen Pao, once at center of gender case, joins Kapor in diversity role

Ellen Pao speaks to the media after losing her high profile gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers in San Francisco, California March 27, 2015.Beck Diefenbach

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Ellen Pao, whose 2012 gender discrimination lawsuit against the venture firm fueled a debate over tech industry diversity, has joined Oakland-based Kapor Center for Social Impact as an investor and diversity advocate, Kapor announced Tuesday.

Pao, also a former chief executive officer of the social network Reddit, was named Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer for the non-profit founded by Mitch Kapor, creator of the pioneering Lotus spreadsheet software, and his wife Freada Kapor Klein.

Pao will also be a Venture Partner at Kapor Capital, which invests in startups that solve problems for under-served people.

Pao pointed to an effort she has spearheaded called Project Include, aimed at gathering diversity research and providing tools for companies, as an example of the initiatives she would pursue.

"My work with Project Include was about calling out specific comprehensive solutions, and as I approach my role at the Kapor Center it will be about implementing these types of solutions at scale," Pao said in an interview.

Pao lost her sex-discrimination lawsuit in 2015 against Kleiner Perkins, but the case drew attention to the comparative lack of diversity at many technology companies and tech investment firms.

Reporting by Deborah M. Todd; editing by Grant McCool

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