Name: Tanya Sam
Occupation: Tech Entrepreneur
How We Know Her: Last fall Tanya’s face hit small screens around the world when she made her debut on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” A friend of the show, she dazzled Bravo viewers with her Canadian class and charm, moreover, she proved to be a refreshing RHOA addition who beautifully blended showcasing her personality with displaying integrity.
Why We Chose Her: Before, during and after the cameras stop rolling Tanya’s true to her tech-money game. She’s a venture capitalist in the tech sector with a focus on helping startups. Not only that, we absolutely admire how this brainy beauty is introducing tech to a new audience. Polished, poised and perspicacious, it really is Tanya’s time.
What’s Next: A little more television and a lot more money are both in Tanya’s front view. She’s hyper-focused on helping women of color get in the game and we’re kicking back and watching her work.
Tanya Sam’s life as a businesswoman, Tech Square Labs Director and reality TV star is just peachy. The brainy beauty is confirmed for her second season of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” as a friend of the show. She recently confirmed to fans that she turned down an offer from Bravo for a full-time position and instead will focus on her multiple businesses.
And while Tanya told BOSSIP that “balance is overrated”, she’s still trying to maintain some sort of equilibrium hence why’s she’s not picking up one of Andy Cohen’s coveted peaches. Instead of dedicating hundreds of hours to Bravo cameras, this nurse turned tech venture capitalist will continue in her role as Director of Partnerships at TechSquare Labs, a technology startup hub that’s invested in over 30 companies, raised over $300 million dollars in venture capital and generated over $100 million dollars in revenue.
She has an unbridled passion for tech, and TechSquare Labs feeds just that. Established in 2014 and located in an Office Depot in the heart of Georgia Tech’s campus, Tanya’s especially proud of the hub she says helps early-stage donors realize that they can “build something from nothing.” With that in mind, Tech Square Lab has invested in seven of the annual Atlanta Startup Battles, a pitch competition that awards $100,000 cash investment to a winning startup.
And that’s not all. Tech Square Labs has also invested in Ascend Atlanta, a program to grow inner city business schools and business service-providing organizations in Atlanta, and Tanya is especially passionate about Ascend Atlanta’s work with women of color and minorities.
According to Tanya however, being a black woman in tech isn’t exactly easy. While we don’t see much representation in the field, Tanya is encouraging fellow black women to explore all the tech has to offer from coding to marketing.
“It’s about getting involved in the technology ecosystem; going to Tech Square Labs, going to meetups, going to pitch competitions, any type of networking event. You really have to stick your neck out, stick your hand out, introduce yourself,” Tanya told BOSSIP.
“Oftentimes you can’t let the fact that ‘there aren’t a lot of people that look like me at these meetups deter you—you just have to blaze a trail for yourself and get involved. One of things I hear a lot is ‘I’m not technical, my background is not in technology, I don’t know how to code—there’s an easy fix to that, there are so many online learn to code programs and on the other side there are so many roles that don’t require you to be technical. There’s operations expertise and marketing expertise, Uber doesn’t just run on coders, there are hundreds of thousands of employee that do everything else and make the magic happen.”
Tanya Sam is the perfect blend of someone who’s trending in pop culture but still extending a helping hand to the community; did we mention that she launched The Ambition Fund? With it, she invests $25k in minority entrepreneurs, one of them being the feminine hygiene company Femly.
“We are leveling the playing field by intentionally going out beyond the traditional circles to provide underrepresented entrepreneurs a chance at capital, mentorship, and resources for their business,” says Tanya about the investment company focused on funding women and underrepresented business owners.
“The face of entrepreneurship is ever-evolving and I want to empower and ensure that all minority groups, inclusive of people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities have the same level of access and opportunities to thrive.”
All the while Tanya’s handling business and making entertaining television on Bravo she still exudes elegance and grace, two traits many non-scripted stars simply can’t relate to.
Copiously creative and exuding class, we’d be absolutely remiss NOT to welcome Tanya Sam to the Creative Class.
“Check out the other honorees on iOne Digital’s The Creative Class.”