Susan Rigetti is a renowned engineer, author, and advocate for ethics and transparency in tech. In 2017, she posted a blog post about her experiences with sexual harassment at her job, which catapulted her into the public eye. Susan’s whistleblowing actions not only sparked significant change in workplace culture but also among women in STEM who had similar experiences. Her bravery and advocacy have made her a key voice in the movement for an even more inclusive and equitable tech world. Not only has her experience gained her attention, but so have numerous book and film deals. Her memoir, “Whistleblower,” dives into her journey and the challenges she faced, empowering others to speak out and stand up for what is right.

The Early Years

Growing up in rural Arizona, Susan was one of seven siblings. She was taught to be a hard worker and would nanny to bring in money for her family. Susan was homeschooled throughout her childhood, but she always had a desire for a better education. Her dedication finally paid off, and she was offered a full scholarship to Arizona State University but transferred to Pennsylvania State University instead as it better met her goals. While at Penn State, she discovered her interest in physics and became a research assistant for the physics department. She faced setbacks during her college career and was forced to drop out, but she never lost her spark and was determined to succeed.

The Turning Point

In 2015, Susan became a site reliability engineer for Uber to continue her work in tech. During her time at Uber, she experienced extreme sexual harassment, as did many of her female coworkers. She even went to Human Resources, but they refused to do anything about it. In 2017, she finally spoke out about her experiences and wrote a thorough blog post explaining Uber’s hostile work environment. Susan’s blog quickly took off and was shared over 22,000 times. During that time, many investigations were conducted at Uber, and they found many employees guilty. Eventually, the founder of Uber was forced to resign, along with numerous other Silicon Valley tech investors. 

Fortunately, Susan Rigetti’s work was not done, and she agreed to write books and films about her experience. This not only brought more awareness to the situation but also inspired countless women to take a stand against sexual harassment in the workplace. After that, she petitioned her case to the Supreme Court to help pass legislation about workplace standards. Her story was then further broadcasted by the achievements she received. Susan was listed among Vanity Fair’s 2017 Top Business & Cultural Leaders as well as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017. 

The Lasting Impact

Susan’s impact on the tech industry extends far beyond her own story. Her unwavering determination to shed light on the darker aspects of tech culture has initiated a much-needed conversation about workplace ethics, diversity, and the power of speaking out. As a symbol of courage and an agent of change, Susan’s legacy continues to encourage a new generation to demand a fair and respectful work environment. Her contributions serve as a beacon, guiding the tech industry toward a more just and accountable future.     

Read more about Susan Rigetti’s book, “Whistleblower”, here!

Food for thought

Are workplace ethics important in the tech industry? Would you stand up for yourself in the face of adversity? What has bravery empowered you to do?