Press release

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

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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.

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

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

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
. 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

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
, 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