Leila Janah is a social entrepreneur using technology and lean business methods to promote social and economic justice. The concept of “sama,” the root word for equality or fairness in many languages, is the guiding principle behind the Sama Group, a family of impact enterprises Janah founded and runs. The first of these is Samasource, an award-winning nonprofit business that connects women and youth living in poverty to microwork — computer-based tasks that build skills and generate life-changing income, now part of the broader field of impact sourcing. Samasource has moved 20,000 people over the poverty line and spun out a domestic program, SamaUSA. In 2011, Janah co-founded Samahope, a crowdfunding site for medical treatments in developing countries.
Janah’s work with Sama Group enterprises has been featured widely in the press with features in publications including The New York Times, CNN, Forbes and Fast Company; she is the subject of a chapter in the book Hearts on Fire. Janah was the youngest recipient of the 2012 Club de Madrid Leadership Award, presented by President Bill Clinton, and the youngest person to receive a Heinz Award in 2014. Janah was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Social Enterprise Alliance, one of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, and one of the seven most powerful women in tech in 2014 by Entrepreneur.
Janah serves as a director of CARE USA, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, and TechSoup Global, the world’s largest provider of donated software to nonprofits.