Freada Kapor Klein

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Freada Kapor Klein
Known for Organizational development and human resources

Freada Kapor Klein Ph.D. (born 1952) works at the intersection of tech and racial/social justice. She is a Partner at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. The Center relentlessly pursues creative strategies to leverage information technology for positive, progressive change; and works primarily with under-represented communities, focusing on gap-closing endeavors. As a Partner at Kapor Capital, Freada invests in tech start-ups that solve real problems, aspiring to simultaneously generate economic value and positive social impact. Kapor Capital’s investment sectors include—but are not limited to—education, health, and consumer finance. She is particularly interested in investing in women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color.

Freada is the founder and Board Chair of the Level Playing Field Institute, which promotes innovative approaches to fairness in higher education and workplaces. The Institute's Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH), a three-summer high school program serving under-represented students of color, is in the process of scaling nationally. Half of SMASH’s participants have always been girls. The Academy works to ensure racial equity within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Institute's workplace programs have conducted landmark research, including the 2011 study The Tilted Playing Field: Hidden Bias in IT Workplaces. Freada's book Giving Notice: Why the Best and the Brightest Leave the Workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay (Jossey-Bass 2007) combines quantitative research on who leaves corporate America and why, with stories of day-to-day experiences detailing the human and financial cost.

A frequent speaker (some of her recent engagements include presentations at: Airbnb, Asana, Generation Investment Management Women’s Leadership Summit, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Milken Institute Global Conference, RAND Corp., Square, SXSW, Twilio, Twitter, Uber and Women 2.0), Freada is also quoted and written about in the media (recent examples include: TechCrunch, FastCompany, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News.)

Freada is also an Advisory Trustee of the U.C. Berkeley Foundation, an Advisory Board member of The Workers Lab, and an Advisor to CrossCulture VC.

Early life and education[edit]

Kapor Klein received a bachelor's degree in criminology from University of California, Berkeley in 1974,[1] and a Ph.D. in social policy and research from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1984, with a Social Science Research Council fellowship for the study of sexual harassment in federal government employment.[2][3] Freada co-founded the first organization in the U.S. to address sexual harassment in 1976. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy and Research from Brandeis University, and has conducted many large survey projects on perceptions and experiences of bias, harassment, and disrespectful treatment in workplaces.


Level Playing Field Institute[edit]

In 2001, she founded the Level Playing Field Institute, a non-profit which promotes innovative approaches to fairness in higher education and workplaces, especially by removing barriers to full participation by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.[4][5] The institute's main programs are promoting computer science participation through hackathons and workshops; intensive summer and weekend educational programs; and research studies.[6][7]

IDEAL Scholars Fund[edit]

While serving on the Executive Board of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Berkeley, Klein co-founded the IDEAL Scholars Fund with three other board members in 2000. IDEAL invests in high-caliber, underrepresented students at Berkeley by providing resources and support to maximize their educational experiences and leadership opportunities during college and beyond. The fund was established in response to California Proposition 209.

Research studies[edit]

Kapor Klein’s for-profit and non-profit endeavors include the design and execution of several landmark studies, including: an annual survey of quality of worklife issues in Internet start-ups, a survey of Fortune 500 manufacturing and service firms to determine the effectiveness of corporate efforts to address sexual harassment, a survey of gender bias and sexual harassment experienced by Massachusetts physicians and medical students, survey projects for the United Nations and World Bank on various forms of harassment, and a national representative survey of U.S. employers and employees on their perceptions of fairness in the workplace.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Kapor Klein and her husband, Mitchell Kapor, live in San Francisco, California.[5] Her first job in tech was as the first head of Employee Relations, Organizational Development, and Management Training at Lotus Development Corporation. Her job description was to make Lotus the most progressive employer in the U.S. Lotus 1-2-3 is widely recognized as the “killer app” that made the personal computer ubiquitous in business.

She served, with Mitchell Kapor, on the Board of Trustees of the Summer Science Program from 2004 to 2006. He had been a student of the program in 1966.


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  4. ^ a b "Handling back to work hurdles" - The View from the Bay
  5. ^ a b "How Green Is My Mansion?" - New York Times
  6. ^ "Interview with the Level Playing Field Institute" - Model View Culture
  7. ^ Two Silicon Valley Moms Pursue a 'Level Playing Field' in STEM Education - Huffington Post

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