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 non-profit 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 4,000 workers and their families over the poverty line in under five years, and spun out a domestic program, SamaUSA. In 2011, Janah cofounded 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, and she is the subject of a chapter in the book Hearts on Fire. She was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Social Enterprise Alliance in 2011, and one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013.
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. She lives in San Francisco, California.