In August, a leaked internal memo penned by former Google engineer James Damore criticizing the company's diversity efforts ignited a heated national discussion on women and people of color in the workplace. Immediately, the memo stirred up a whirlwind.
Google terminated Damore. He announced he would seek legal recourse. And many prominent figures spoke out against it. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of "Lean In," wrote a social media post saying, "Inequality in tech isn't due to gender differences. It's due to cultural stereotypes that persist."
"We all need to do more," she added.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, which Google owns, called the memo "yet another discouraging signal to young women who aspire to study computer science."
Adam Grant, bestselling author and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania professor, posted a response debunking several of the suggestions Damore made.
But the memo also had an important long term effect. And it's one Damore likely did not intend.
According to Christa Quarles, CEO of online restaurant reservation network OpenTable, the memo made Silicon Valley leaders more aware of conscious and unconscious discrimination against women and people of color in the workplace.
"I think what's different now, versus even six months or a year ago, is that people are on notice," she tells CNBC Make It, "and that people are not letting things slide."