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‘We Have to Do More to Support Women,’ Kleiner Perkins Partner Says

Juliet de Baubigny, the senior partner in charge of hiring and recruitment at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, has had a front row seat to some of the most formative events in the world of venture capital. Since joining Kleiner in 2001, she’s seen some of the most innovative companies grow and transform.

“It’s not the industry that I came into 16 years ago,” she said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on Tuesday.

But spending so much time at the forefront at an emerging industry is a double-edged sword. De Baubigny has shaped the management teams of companies including Google, Amazon, and DocuSign. In 1998, she recruited Meg Whitman to eBay when the company was only a three-year-old startup with 30 employees and less than $5 million in revenue.

“As you assess talent, you have to be situation-specific, you have to recognize how roles and positions evolve, and then you have to look very distinctly at the culture and value set around the team around which you’re building,” she said. “If you don’t get that right, it’ll be a disaster.”

Disaster struck at her own workplace in 2012 when Ellen Pao, a former Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist, sued the firm for gender discrimination and retaliation. De Baubigny had to testify in the sexism trial, but her testimony stood in sharp contrast from Pao’s, claiming that the firm’s partners were intent on bringing more females into the VC industry.

“We very much want to ensure that more women build great careers,” de Baubigny said at the time.

De Baubigny declined to comment on the case at the Fortune summit, saying only that the industry is at “a really important moment in time” in regards to discrimination and inclusion.

“There’s a call to action to say, we have to do more to support women,” she said. “We have to do more to support diversity. Diversity is good for business.”

Earlier this year, more than a dozen venture capitalists pledged their support for a proposal, called “the decency pledge,” which was an effort aimed to call out and confront sexual harassment and other misconduct in the VC industry. When asked about whether she thinks the decency pledge is an effective call to action, de Baubigny said that she admires the people who have rallied around it, but this is about a bigger issue.

“These are all very important steps to create an environment that absolutely supports and advances diversity, and creates safe and respectful working environments,” she said. “We’re all committed to doing more about that, and this is a great step in the right direction.”