Where Are They Now?
For the 10th year of the Bethesda Magazine Extraordinary Teen Awards, we checked in with some past winners
2011 Extraordinary Teen
Then: In high school, Sam Taussig had a list of countries to visit and adventures he wanted to experience. He was a social activist who organized several community service projects, and was a supervising ambassador for LearnServe International, a D.C.-based program that encourages teens to lead social change. He had an interest in international relations and hoped to join the Peace Corps.
Now: Since graduating from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Taussig has traveled extensively and is currently head of global policy at Kabbage, a nonbank lender with nearly 500 employees globally that caters to small businesses in search of working capital. The company uses data and artificial intelligence to assess borrowers and provide loans quickly. The 26-year-old lives in Atlanta, where Kabbage is headquartered. He travels to New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Brussels and other places, working with government officials and community development organizations on issues ranging from financial regulatory reform to privacy and the responsible use of data.
Before joining Kabbage, Taussig worked on development and microcredit projects in Haiti, Zambia and Indonesia with various organizations. “I believe if you give people a little bit of financial edge with seed capital, startup capital or equity, they will do all the rest of it and follow their dreams,” he says.
Taussig majored in economics at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was considering a career in medicine, but vividly remembers adjusting his path after witnessing extreme poverty while doing relief work on a trip to Haiti in college. “I thought, ‘Why put a Band-Aid on this? Let’s go to the root solution,’ ” he recalls. “People needed economic opportunity.”