C. M. Samala

Samala is the Head of Community and Culture at Unshackled Ventures, where she has launched the preeminent community for immigrant founders to learn, share, and accelerate each others’ success. She is a Board Member at Monument Lab and Women’s Foundation California. Samala cut her her teeth as the founder of America’s first national organization to serve Asian Pacific American communities online: 18MillionRising.org. She and her team got Asian Pacific Americans, the country’s fastest growing demographic, excited about politics and launched groundbreaking online vehicles for civic engagement—whether pressuring a company to stop exploitative practices, talking to their parents about racism or homophobia, or getting to the polls. Her work and writing on social innovation, technology and movement-building has been featured at the Obama Adminstration’s White House LGBTQ Technology & Innovation Summit and in Forbes, The New Yorker, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Al-Jazeera.

Prior to launching 18MillionRising.org, Samala created START Mobile, one of the earliest digital art distribution networks. The global platform helped more than 500 artists, including Shepard Fairey, Justin Bua, David Choe, and Apex, reach their fans and followers on mobile devices. At peak popularity, START had users in the United States, Central & South America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India, China, and Russia. Samala embodies multitudes—a social media expert, Wharton business school grad, and a DJ of renown in the San Francisco Bay Area (she founded and still hosts the longest running 90s party on the West Coast!). Audiences find her message inexorably unique, grounded in her experiences as a serial creator/founder/entrepreneur.

The saying goes: change is inevitable. I believe in that inevitability and, for those of us that are in a position to do, we need to very thoughtfully design that change. We must first envision, then make, change that is equitable for all.
—C. M. Samala

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