How Sarah Kunst Became The CEO Taking Down Sexism In Silicon Valley
As a tech entrepreneur and former venture capitalist, Sarah Kunst understands a thing or two about what’s in a name—particularly, what happens when you Google it.
Prior to June of this year, her name would’ve brought up results for Pro Day, the sports media company of which she is the founder and CEO; her expertise as an investor; and her work in marketing for some the biggest brands in the world, like Apple, Red Bull and Chanel.
But earlier this year, Kunst made a decision to go on the record about the sexual harassment she encountered from Dave McClure, the former CEO of venture fund 500 Startups. McClure was forced to resign after multiple women then came forward with similar stories of harassment.
A viral New York Times article blew the lid off the rampant, long-standing culture of sexism in Silicon Valley, and Kunst has since continued to speak out openly and often on the matter. Needless to say, in the wake of her role as a whistleblower, her search results have changed some.
In this episode of Girlboss Radio, Kunst elaborates on how she arrived at the point of knowing she needed to call Silicon Valley out on this appalling status quo: “Multiple times, I would be there waiting for a meeting and guys would come over to me and start asking me if I was a hooker,” she recounts—and she shares somewhat depressing, yet useful, advice on what women subjected to sexual harassment can do.
“As the late, great Whitney Houston said, ‘Show me the receipts.’ You always want to keep the most impeccable receipts possible.”
But before she took up the mantle of exposing the pervasive culture of sexism in tech, Kunst was busy learning to become the all-out hustler she is today. Raised in Michigan, where her first job was a weed-puller and strawberry-picker on a farm as a kid, Kunst eventually figured out how to earn $75 an hour as a college student by hacking the college-rep system.
That ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit eventually set her on the path of becoming the innovator and trusted advisor in the tech space that she is today. At 31, Kunst is at the top of her game, transforming how and what we pay attention to when it comes to the sports and athletes in the wider context of our culture.
In the full episode above, find out how Kunst cultivated the tenacity and strength that has enabled her to not only become one of the brightest stars in the sports-tech space, but a relentless advocate against a toxic culture that has hindered the progress of women for far too long.
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Words: Deena Drewis