In conversation with: Susan Fowler, Writer and Former Technology Op-Ed Editor, New York Times; Named “Person of the Year” by Time, Financial Times, Webby Awards; Author.
Fowler joins Phanikiran Radhakrishnan to discuss her book, “Whistleblower: My Unlikely Journey to Silicon Valley and Speaking Out Against Injustice”, a powerful and inspiring story of the young woman who faced down one of the most valuable start-ups in Silicon Valley history
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Vogue, Forbes, and Cosmopolitan
Susan Fowler was just twenty-five years old when her blog post describing the sexual harassment and retaliation she’d experienced at Uber riveted the nation. Her post would eventually lead to the ousting of Uber’s powerful CEO, but its ripples extended far beyond that, as her courageous choice to attach her name to the post inspired other women to speak publicly about their experiences. In the year that followed, an unprecedented number of women came forward, and Fowler was recognized by Time as one of the “Silence Breakers” who ignited the #MeToo movement.
Now, she tells her full story for the first time: a story of extraordinary determination and resilience that reveals what it takes–and what it means–to be a whistleblower. Long before she arrived at Uber, Fowler’s life had been defined by her refusal to accept her circumstances. She propelled herself from an impoverished childhood with little formal education to the Ivy League, and then to a coveted position at one of the most valuable companies in the history of Silicon Valley. Each time she was mistreated, she fought back or found a way to reinvent herself; all she wanted was the opportunity to define her own dreams and work to achieve them. But when she discovered Uber’s pervasive culture of sexism, racism, harassment, and abuse, and that the company would do nothing about it, she knew she had to speak out—no matter what it cost her.
Whistleblower takes us deep inside this shockingly toxic workplace and reveals new details about the aftermath of the blog post, in which Fowler was investigated and followed, hacked and threatened, to the point that she feared for her life. But even as it illuminates how the deck is stacked in favour of the status quo, Fowler’s story serves as a crucial reminder that we can take our power back. Both moving personal narrative and rallying cry, Whistleblower urges us to be the heroes of our own stories, and to keep fighting for a more just and equitable world.
About our speaker
A contributing opinion writer and the former technology op-ed editor at The New York Times, Susan Fowler has been named a “Person of the Year” by Time, The Financial Times, and the Webby Awards, and has appeared on Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment List, Marie Claire’s New Guard list, the Bloomberg 50, the Upstart 50, the Recode 100, and more. She is the author of a book on computer programming that has been implemented by companies across Silicon Valley.
Phanikiran Radhakrishnan, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, University of Toronto Scarborough, Department of Management
This event was hosted by the Institute for Gender and the Economy.
Stay tuned for an event recap and video
Venue: Online. Rotman Events will email customers the link to the livestream on February 11th.