Artifact Details


Klein, Freada and Kapor, Mitchel interview

Catalog Number





In this joint interview with Freada Kapor Klein, Mitch Kapor talks about his goal to create a new kind of socially progressive corporation when he cofounded software publisher Lotus Development Corporation. He describes hiring Freada Klein as Director of Employee Relations, Organizational Development, and Management Training. Her charter was explicitly to make Lotus the most progressive employer in the United States. Among the many moves she took to fulfill that challenge, Klein created a Diversity Council that represented every dimension of difference and included representatives from the lowest to the highest paid employee ranks.

Corporate America had been making intermittent efforts at diversity and inclusion since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among tech firms, Boston minicomputer pioneer Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was a leader with its company-wide Valuing Differences training seminars and hiring practices.

Klein had cofounded the first group to address sexual harassment in the U.S. They both describe how with Kapoor’s support as Lotus's CEO, she helped shape a set of policies that linked managers' bonuses to employee evaluations on their adherence to company values, including diversity. This sort of tie to compensation remains rare today.

She also helped create an ombuds function and made Lotus the first tech firm to sponsor an AIDS walk when the disease remained highly stigmatized, and other corporations refused to take a public position.

Klein went on to consult on diversity to a wide range of corporate clients, both in tech and outside, as well as to the U.S. government on the Civil Rights Act of 1991. She and Kapor married long after both left Lotus, and their venture firm and foundation support a variety of diversity, inclusion, and education efforts, including this series of oral histories.

The two of them talk about the overall failure of corporate diversity efforts to substantially change the low percentage of BIPOC participants in the tech industry, and analyze some of the possible reasons why.

For more information on the founding and growth of Lotus please check Mitch Kapor's oral history in our collection.




Kapor, Mitch, Interviewee
Klein, Freada Kapor, Interviewee
Weber, Marc, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Healdsburg, CA, USA


28 pages






Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102792788 Klein, Freada and Kapor, Mitchel interview