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The Power Broker of Silicon Valley

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, Hiring, @jack, Dropbox, Square, @sherylsandberg, @dickc, Uber, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Silicon Valley, Career, Extraordinary People

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She has more connections than a switchboard.

When I ask Jana Rich to work her magic on me, I have the warm yet affirming sensation of being in a nurturing therapist’s office. She leans forward across the light-wood conference table, clasps her hands together, and asks me: Why did you move across the country for that job? What is it you really wanted to do? And what about that other dream? Occasionally she interrupts, as though testing my storytelling abilities as much as my professional narrative, to clarify, to draw me out.

It makes sense that Rich, in another universe, imagined herself getting a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Where she has ended up is cushier: She is one of Silicon Valley’s top recruiters, with a hot roster of clients. “Who’s your favorite person to name-drop?” I ask her. “Sheryl Sandberg,” she says with an almost girlish giggle. (Sandberg’s a friend, not a former client, but, y’know … six degrees.) On Rich’s client list, past and present? Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo of Twitter, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Dropbox, Uber, Square, Eventbrite.

“Everyone wants to find their unicorn — and she’s sort of the ideal unicorn hunter,” says Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of the eyeglass startup Warby Parker, who’s retaining Rich to hire a VP of human resources. He adds: “And the other thing is, she just knows every single person.”