Indian origin humanitarian  entrepreneur  Leila Janah passes away at 37

Leila Janah
Leila Janah

Founder of two successful US firms worked for eradicating global poverty.

Leila Janah, the young entrepreneur born to Indian immigrant parents in America, will always be remembered for her remarkable work in addressing global poverty.

A successful businesswoman, Janah passed away on the night of Jan 23. She was suffering from epithelioid sarcoma, a rare slow-growing type of soft tissue cancer.

Despite her short life, Janah would be remembered as a  great young Indian origin humanitarian for creating numerous opportunities for the poor with her entrepreneurship.

A self-made woman, who grew up in poverty, but succeeded in creating numerous opportunities for the socially disadvantaged not only in America and India but across the world, Janah’s story is an inspiration for all immigrants.

Janah was the founder of two US based companies – Samasource, an ethical training data company and LXMI, a luxury skin care brand.

Both her ventures though belonging to different industries were centered around the strong social message to end global poverty.

Born to Indian immigrant parents in Lewiston, New York, Janah grew up in San Pedro, Los Angeles, amidst financial constraints juggling many small jobs such as nannying and tutoring.

Her mission in life was perhaps shaped by the knowledge that her Indian immigrant parents came to America with nothing in their pockets.

Studying at the California Institute of Mathematics and Science, Janah bagged a scholarship at 17, which let her spend six months in Ghana teaching poor and visually impaired kids.

The experience had a lasting effect on Janah who spent a great deal of her life working for the benefit of Africans. She graduated in 2005 from Harvard University with a degree in African Development Studies.

After working as a management consultant, Janah, launched Samasource in 2008, a company that delivers training data for  25 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including Walmart, General Motors, Google and Microsoft.

With offices in New York, California, San Francisco, Costa Rica, Montreal, Hague, Uganda, Kenya and Nairobi, her firm offers opportunities for under privileged communities.

Janah’s other venture, LXMI, co-founded in 2015, employs marginalized women.

Listed among Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, she also received the Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012.

She was also named a “Rising Star” on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2011. Fast Company counted her among “Most Creative People in Business” in 2012 and Fortune profiled her as one of “Most Promising Entrepreneurs” in 2013.

Janah who succumbed to the rare cancer was diagnosed with the disease in April 2019.  Her tragic diagnosis came at a time she was planning to get married to her fiancé. She got married to Tassilo Festetics and often detailed her journey from chemotherapy to healing.

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