Kleiner’s Ellen Pao, the elephant in the room

May 25, 2012

Kleiner Perkins partner Ellen Pao has unleashed one of Silicon Valley’s juiciest lawsuits in recent memory, alleging discrimination, harassment, and even an out-of-the-box solution to her woes proposed by a colleague: marriage to her harasser.


But Pao didn’t let this awkward legal situation stop her from stepping out to a couple of parties in Palo Alto Thursday night, just days after news of her lawsuit leaked out.  That included one held by her employers at Palo Alto’s Reposado, a busy Mexican restaurant, for some of Kleiner’s start-up companies.

There, Pao held court on one side of the room, greeted with hugs and hearty handshakes by a number of start-up entrepreneurs she has worked with. Meanwhile, other Kleiner partners at the bash– including Matt Murphy and Ted Schlein– clutched their drinks and steered clear of their suddenly famous colleague.

At the entrance, two arrivals loudly told the female Kleiner assistants who were greeting guests:  “I’m on team Ellen.”

Pao declined to discuss her suit, but did say she was going into work every day and attending board meetings as usual.

“Spine,” was how one partner at another Silicon Valley firm put it after running into her earlier in the evening.

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