Leila Janah Biography – Wiki
Leila Janah was the Founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI, two companies that share a common social mission to end global poverty by giving work to people in need. She was also the author of giving Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time and co-author of America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age, a book by Rework America: A Markle Initiative.
Leila Janah was born on 9 October 1982 in Lewiston, New York. She died on 24 January 2020 at the age of 37.
We are saddened to announce that Leila Janah, Samasource Founder and CEO, passed away due to complications from Epithelioid Sarcoma. Her commitment to creating a better world was unparalleled. We will miss her everyday. @leila_chttps://t.co/l3RBxMsoWC
— Sama (@SamaAI) January 25, 2020
Parents & Education
She was the daughter of Indian immigrants, who came to the United States with nothing. Janah described her childhood as being difficult, often due to a lack of financial security.
Janah attended the California Academy of Mathematics and Science. She won a scholarship at 17 through American Field Services and convinced them to let her spend it teaching in Ghana where she spent 6 months during her senior year of high school. In Ghana, Janah taught English to young students in the village of Akuapem, many of whom were blind. Janah has cited this early experience as sparking her passion for working in Africa, and she continued to visit the continent during her time in college.
She attended Harvard University, graduating in 2005 with a degree in African Development Studies. While at Harvard, Janah conducted fieldwork in Mozambique, Senegal, and Rwanda and consulted to and authored papers for the World Bank’s Development Research Group and Ashoka on social and economic rights.
In 2008, Janah launched Samasource (then called Market for Change), an idea that was inspired by her time spent in Africa and her experience managing a call center in Mumbai. Samasource delivers secure, high-quality training data and is a trusted platform for expert, ethical training data. and is the trusted, high-quality training data and validation provider for 25% of the Fortune 50. From self-driving cars to smart hardware, Samasource fuels AI.
The Samasource teams are experts in image, video and sensor data annotation and validation for machine learning algorithms. Samasource is driven by a mission to expand opportunities for low-income people through the digital economy, and its social business model has helped over 50,000 people lift themselves out of poverty. One of the first organizations to engage in impact sourcing, Samasource workers are trained in basic computer skills and paid a local living wage for their labor.
In 2013, Janah founded Samaschool (previously SamaUSA), a program that moves people out of poverty by providing digital skills training and a connection to internet-based jobs that pay a living wage. Samaschool runs in-person programs in Arkansas, California, New York, and Kenya, and also provides online classes that are available internationally. Samaschool courses train students in digital literacy, workforce readiness, and portfolio building.
Janah founded Samahope in 2012, the first crowdfunding platform that directly funded doctors who provide life-changing medical treatments for women and children in poor communities. Samahope enabled anyone anywhere to directly fund doctors’ life-changing medical treatments for women and children in need. Samahope was built on the belief that transparent funding mechanisms could help close the global surgery gap and ensure that all people have access to medical treatments.
In 2015, Janah co-founded LXMI, a for-profit luxury skincare brand. Built on the idea of beauty in action™, LXMI employs marginalized women in the rural Nile Valley communities to harvest LXMI ingredients and reports that their producers earn 3x the average local wages. LXMI is named after the Hindu goddess of beauty and prosperity.
Award And Honors
Janah was a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Director of CARE USA, a 2012 TechFellow, recipient of the inaugural Club de Madrid Young Leadership Award, and the youngest person to win a Heinz Award in 2014 when she received the 19th Annual Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment.
Janah was included as one of Elle Magazine’s “Women in Tech” in 2016 and The New York Times T Magazine’s Five Visionary Tech Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World in 2015. She was also named a “Rising Star” on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2011, one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business” in 2012, and was profiled as one of Fortune’s “Most Promising Entrepreneurs” in 2013.
Cause of Death
Leila Janah, a fierce entrepreneur who worked to help those living below the poverty line, died in January from complications of epithelioid sarcoma – a form of cancer.
In a November Facebook post, Janah wrote, “Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare, strange beast. As it moves through my body I’m trying to understand what it could possibly teach me. My biggest lesson is awe: I’m awe-struck by the complexity of human biology, and equally by the almost mystical power of human connection and love flowing my way.”
Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare soft-tissue cancer often seen in young adults, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
“Epithelioid sarcoma accounts for less than one percent of all soft tissue sarcomas,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.
In a statement last month, the agency announced it approved the first ever treatment option for the specific form of cancer.