Mar 3, 2017 · 2 minutes

Aileen Lee is one of those women that you just have to have if you are doing a podcast about badass working moms.

She’s one of a handful of women who have created their own venture funds in recent years… and one of those women whose returns are responsible for stats that show female VCs on average perform better than men.

She is also an interesting mix of calling out sexism while not wallowing in it; linking arms with women while not being too agro about it.

We opened the podcast talking about a common theme in this podcast: Our collective disbelief that sexism is an issue in our youth. “Because I hadn’t experienced [sexism] I thought it didn’t exist,” she says. “Until I hit my 30s, I didn’t see it.”

We talked about why that is and Lee brought up an interesting point I haven’t heard on this podcast before about the “isolation” a lot fo women feel once they get into the workforce. “You aren’t grabbing drinks with your boss after work… for many years, I did not realize this was happening,” she says. “You start to feel more alone, and it gets political and … meanwhile your husband is doing great at work and getting a lot more support...I wish someone had told us when we were in business school that that’s what happens.”

We talked about Susan Fowler and Uber-- both of our shock and lack of shock about it. “This is a company that pays for Beyonce to play for a party… skimping on six leather jackets seems so petty,” she says. “You have to go out of the way to make people feel crappy...I’m surprised one person was able to have so many bad experiences.”

We also talk about the impact that Lee’s former colleague at Kleiner Perkins Ellen Pao had in setting a new precedent for women speaking out. We talk about how Lee got over her own confidence gap in starting her own firm. And-- true to the point of this podcast-- we talk about Lee as a mother.


She divulged to me for the first time that when she was in her early 20s she was told she would never have children. She has had three since. We talk about women’s shame about speaking out about infertility and why women’s health issues should get more attention than they do.

Basically it was a phenomenally powerful conversation. You should listen to it right now.


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