Tess is a social entrepreneur focused on increasing equity and inclusion in the tech economy. As CEO of AI4ALL, she is creating pathways for underrepresented populations to chart a future in the artificial intelligence field through education, outreach and mentoring programs. Before joining AI4ALL, she was Managing Director of TechHire at Opportunity@Work, a national initiative launched out of the Obama Administration to increase diversity and inclusion in the tech economy, where she oversaw the network of 72 cities, states and rural areas and 1300+ companies implementing the TechHire model.
Prior to joining Opportunity@Work, Tess built and ran Samaschool, a social enterprise part of the SamaGroup that equips low-income people to find work in the digital economy. Tess grew the program from a pilot in San Francisco in 2013 to international adoption, now with over a dozen diverse locations from New York City to rural Arkansas and in East Africa and launched an online training platform, now serving 60,000 students in 70+ countries. Samaschool’s approach to giving low-income populations 21st century skills to tap into the digital economy led it to be named one of the “13 most innovative schools in the world” by Business Insider, featured in TechCrunch, FastCompany and receive funding from organizations such as the Tipping Point Community, JPMorgan Chase, the California Endowment and the Robin Hood Foundation. Prior to Samaschool, Tess led the employment and education programs at First Place for Youth, a nationally-recognized model that helps foster youth find housing, get their first job, and stay in school. Before First Place, she managed programs that taught competitive debate as a literacy and empowerment tool in underserved public schools in New York City. Tess holds a master's degree from Columbia University School in Social Enterprise Administration and a bachelor’s in liberal arts from St. John’s College.
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Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.