Leila Janah, Samasource CEO dies at 37

Who was Leila Jenah?

  Leila Jenah was a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a former Director of CARE USA. She is the youngest person to win a Heinz Award in 2014. Among the list of most promising entrepreneurs Leila name was on top. Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Conscious Company Magazines all have put Leila as the subject of there cover stories for instance. She was a founding director of Incentives for Global Health and a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners (now Booz & Co.).

Samasource Foundation

Leila Janah founded Samasource in 2008 with the vision of equally distributing opportunity by giving work, using cutting edge social enterprise models.

“Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.”

Leila Jenah

The company is distinct for delivering AI-driven services to Fortune 100 companies with a global workforce of data specialists, a large number of whom are located in East Africa. The company has a global staff of 2,900 and is the largest AI and data annotation employer in East Africa. Presently this company have 9 offices in the global world.

She formed an AI company in Africa because she saw huge opportunity for tapping into the incredible depth of talent in East Africa in the tech world. She also said:

“A big part of our values is offering living wages and creating dignified technology work for people. We hire people from low-income backgrounds and offer them training in AI and machine learning. Our teams achieve above the industry standard, as a result.”

Leila Janah Death!

The startup community has lost another moral leader today. As a serial entrepreneur who was the CEO and founder of machine learning training data company Samasource, passed away at the age of 37 due to complications from epithelioid sarcoma, according to a statement from the company.

Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare, slow-growing type of soft tissue cancer. Most cases begin in the soft tissue under the skin of a finger, hand, forearm, lower leg or foot, though it can start in other areas of the body. Typically, epithelioid sarcoma starts as a small firm growth or lump that’s painless.

In a statement on Janah’s passing, Samasource said:

We are all committed to continuing Leila’s work, and to ensuring her legacy and vision is carried out for years to come. To accomplish this, Wendy Gonzalez, longtime business partner and friend to Leila, will take the helm as interim CEO of Samasource. Previously the organization’s COO, Wendy has spent the past five years working alongside Leila to craft Samasource’s vision and strategy”

Leila Janah Career

She focused her career on social and ethical entrepreneurship with the goal of ending global poverty. She was most well-known for Samasource,  which was founded a little more than a decade ago.

In addition to Samasource, Janah founded SF-based Samaschool, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income workers learn critical freelancing skills by helping them negotiate the changing dynamics in the freelance economy.

Janah also founded LXMI, a skin-care brand that emphasized organic and fair-trade ingredients, with a focus on sourcing from low-income women’s cooperatives in East Africa.

Her Legacy

Janah’s legacy will proceed through the AI information preparing experts the organization she established, Samasource, trains and employs. As a component of its most recent Series A, Samasource expanded staff in Uganda to 90 individuals, with plans to develop that by 150% in 2020.

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