MEMBER PROFILE: Sam de Brouwer

Chief Strategy Officer, Sharecare; TED AI Curator, producer

Sam established several AI and deep tech companies from 1990 to date. Two have undergone public offerings in Europe on the LSE and Euronext, and two went public on the NYSE and NASDAQ in the USA. In February 2023, her most recently founded AI company,  doc.ai, was acquired by Atlanta-based Sharecare and went IPO at a valuation of $3.9bn.

Sam’s non-profit work with organizations such as the One Laptop Per Child from MIT MediaLab and TED conferences led to her curating and organizing the first of its kind TED Conference in San Francisco, TED AI, on October 17.

CANOPY will be a base for Sam and TED AI volunteers to gather and collaborate during TED AI.

Tell us a little about how your CANOPY membership relates to your role at TED AI.

My relationship with CANOPY is linked to the TED AI conference I am curating and producing. I’m using the TED format to invite pioneers and trailblazers of AI to share the profound implications of generative AI on our civilization, industries, businesses, institutions, and culture. Canopy is a TED AI partner: our volunteers will use CANOPY spaces in San Francisco and Silicon Valley for our meetings.

What is TED AI’s relationship to the TED organization?

TED is a known format and began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment, and Design converged. Today, it spans many worldwide communities and initiatives exploring everything from science and business to education, arts, and global issues, devoted to curiosity, reason, wonder, and the pursuit of knowledge—without an agenda. TED AI, hosted by co-hosted by Chris Anderson, Head of TED, is new and focuses on the power and impact of AI in all its nuances.

Congrats on establishing this groundbreaking new organization! Please tell us a little about the team and the event.

A team of 100 volunteers from the Bay Area is working to bring together 30 speakers representing systems, tools, and frameworks already used by at least half of the planet. We expect 1000 attendees at the Conference, featuring 40 phenomenal speakers deploying AI in various sectors across panels and workshops, including CTOs and EVPs at some of the largest tech companies, investors, choreographers, music producers, and a magician.

To mention a few names, we’re looking forward to welcoming:

Every speaker’s TED talk will be hosted on TED’s ecosystem and reach millions of viewers post-event. We’re also hosting a two-day hackathon organized by the Open Source community to utilize AI’s transformative power for good and to benefit everyone.

What current/future developments in your field are you most excited about, and why?

I am excited by the opportunities that generative AI can offer in education and healthcare, specifically in medicine and biotech, and how it could accelerate discoveries for new treatments and therapeutics. I am also fascinated by the conversations that generative AI triggers and how it pushes us to think and reflect on progress. It’s almost like witnessing a new cycle of human evolution in real-time.

Are there any changes or developments you want to see in this sector?

More decentralization and more transparency in the concept of consent regarding our data.

How do you define success?

Always doing the right thing, being fair, and going for the win.

What elements about CANOPY’s workspaces appealed to you concerning your needs around TED AI?

We’ve been fortunate to have CANOPY as a partner for spaces where the TED AI volunteers can gather and implement the critical pieces of our two-day conference.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?

If you need help, ask.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Don’t take no for an answer!

What’s the one destination you never get tired of traveling to?

Paris. It’s my hometown.

Follow Sam on X, formerly Twitter @sam_debrouwer, and LinkedIn. Follow TED AI on X @TEDAI2023, on LinkedIn, and Instagram @tedai2023.

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Sam de Brouwer profile pic

About Sam de Brouwer

Sam co-founded and served as CEO at doc.ai, an AI company for healthcare. doc.ai was acquired by digital healthcare company Sharecare in 2021, where Sam is now Chief Strategy Officer.

Previously, she cofounded Scanadu Inc., a venture-backed company developing consumer-facing mobile medical devices, in 2011 and served as its VP of communications until April 2016.

Sam started her entrepreneurial career in 1996 with the Starlab research lab, where she ran the business development department. It was her first experience with the MIT MediaLab, which specialized in blue sky research, deep future research, and BANG (Bits, Atoms, Neurons, and Genes) research. Starlab produced generic patents that were later sold to Philips.

In 1999, Sam started one of the first employment websites for Benelux, called Jobscape, which merged with eight similar sites to make up Stepstone and went public on the London Stock Exchange. From 2001 until 2004, Sam founded the National Institute for Telework in Europe, which designed pilot micro-entrepreneurship workshops with the University of Antwerp and the European Social Fund.

In 2008, Sam served as advocacy director of NGO One Laptop Per Child, the European/African branch of One Laptop per Child foundation, located at the global headquarters of The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) near Brussels. The European team secured funding for the deployment of laptops and training for more than 50,000 children in more than 10 countries, including Rwanda, Paraguay, Peru, Nepal, Madagascar, and Tanzania.