Sunday, October 2, 2022

All Star Code Launches Ambassador Program to Drive National Awareness of Diversity Issues in the Technology Industry

Christina Lewis, Loida Lewis, Ken Chenault
From left: Christina Lewis, Loida Lewis, Ken Chenault. Photo Credit: All Star Code

*NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–All Star Code (ASC), a leading nonprofit organization creating economic opportunity for young men of color by helping them develop the tools they need to succeed in a technological world, today launched its inaugural Ambassador program, comprised of renowned executives and start-up founders.

The group of business leaders will use their unique experiences and expertise to bolster All Star Code’s mission to work to create economic opportunity for young men of color by teaching them the skills and mindset they need to become entrepreneurs.

“I firmly believe that one of the biggest issues in our society today continues to be diversity and inclusion”

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All Star Code is partnering closely with the Ambassadors to bring widespread awareness to the underrepresentation of Black and Latino men in tech, which remains “starkly inadequate at the national level,” according to the Brookings Institution. Ambassadors will participate in various activities, including speaking at ASC’s programs and events, hosting discussions and fundraising engagements, and providing strategic counsel to the organization.

The Ambassadors announced today are: Ken Chenault, previously CEO and Chairman of American Express; Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO of Year Up; Van Jones, host and political commentator on CNN; Jessica Lessin, Founder and CEO of The Information; Loida Lewis, Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC; Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of; Robert Smith, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners; and Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome this outstanding group of Ambassadors to All Star Code as we work together to establish a pipeline of talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs,” said Christina Lewis, founder and Chief Executive Officer of ASC. “These business leaders will not only serve as role models to our students but also improve our national exposure, ultimately helping us reach a national alumni network of 10,000 future leaders by 2022.”

“I firmly believe that one of the biggest issues in our society today continues to be diversity and inclusion,” said former CEO and Chairman of American Express Ken Chenault. “All Star Code is doing an excellent job preparing the next generation of young men of color with an entrepreneurial mindset and the tools they need to succeed in the tech industry. I am proud to be involved with this organization and look forward to serving as an Ambassador to All Star Code in 2019.”

More information on the ASC Ambassadors:

  • Ken Chenault is Chairman and a Managing Director of the venture capital firm, General Catalyst. Prior to General Catalyst, Ken was Chairman and CEO of American Express Company, from 2001 to 2018. Ken is recognized as one of the business world’s experts on leadership and brand management and was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list in 2014. Ken serves on the boards of Airbnb, Facebook, the Harvard Corporation and numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. He also serves on the board of trustees for NYU Langone Health.
  • Gerald Chertavian is the Founder and CEO of Year Up, a national program that empowers underserved young adults to enter the economic mainstream. With an annual operating budget of $170M, Year Up is one of the fastest growing non-profits in the nation. In 2013, Gerald was appointed Chairman of the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and reappointed in 2016. Gerald earned a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he serves on the Board of Advisors for the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative. He served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Youth Unemployment Council, and his book, A Year Up, is a New York Times bestseller.
  • Van Jones is the CEO of REFORM, CNN political contributor, and host of The Van Jones Show. Jones has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. He has founded and led many thriving social enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and the Dream Corps – a social justice accelerator that houses #YesWeCode, #GreenForAll, and #cut50. Jones has authored three New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008), Rebuild the Dream (2012), and Beyond the Messy Truth (2017). In 2009, Jones worked as the Green Jobs Advisor to the Obama White House, where he oversaw an $80 billion dollar investment in training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
  • Jessica Lessin is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Information, the publication known for original, in-depth reporting about the technology industry. Prior to founding the publication in 2013, Lessin covered Silicon Valley and tech for the Wall Street Journal covering breaking news, product launches, management changes and strategy shifts. Lessin was named a “Media Disruptor” in 2014 by Vanity Fair and she was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for a series on digital privacy in 2011.
  • Loida Nicolas Lewis is Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment firm. She assumed leadership of the business after the death of her husband, Wall Street financier Reginald F. Lewis who, in 1987, engineered a leveraged buyout for $985 million of Beatrice International Food thus becoming the first African American to create a billion dollar company. Prior to her work with TLC Beatrice, Lewis became the first Asian woman to pass the New York Bar, making her eligible to practice in both the Philippines and in New York in 1974. She sued US Immigration and Naturalization Service,(INS) now called Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) for discrimination and won three years of back pay. She worked as General Attorney at INS for 8 years. She co-authored “How to Get A Green Card,” now in its 12th edition and a bestseller in its genre and she currently Chairs the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation.
  • Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of, which launched in 2007. Today, is the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care. Marcelo drives innovation across’s platforms and services to enable families to find care and caregivers meaningful work and leverages the company’s expertise to drive systemic change across the global care economy. Prior to founding in 2006, Marcelo was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Matrix Partners and held executive positions at Upromise and She currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership.
  • Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm focused exclusively on investing in enterprise software. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $46 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 50 software companies that employ over 60,000 people worldwide. Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Smith has overseen over 380 completed transactions by the firm representing over $120 billion in transaction value. In 2017, Smith was named by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. Smith is the Chairman of Carnegie Hall, Chair of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation. In 2017, Smith signed on to The Giving Pledge, the only African American to do so.
  • Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grantmaking. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and is co-founder and chair of the US Impact Investing Alliance. Before joining Ford, Walker was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation and served as COO of Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation, where he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy of the community. Earlier, Walker had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and at UBS.

About All Star Code

All Star Code, a nonprofit organization founded in 2013, empowers young men with the skills, networks, and mindsets they need to create new futures through technology. Our goal is to close the tech entrepreneurship gap in the United States by developing a pipeline of diverse 21st century leaders. The Summer Intensive, our free six-week flagship program in New York, NY and Pittsburgh, PA, exposes our talented students to the technology industry via an innovative curriculum that mixes specific skills, networks, mindsets, and cultural understanding.






Scott Etkin, Finsbury





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