Bill Samuels has a lifetime of experience as a successful businessman, socially-responsible entrepreneur and CEO. At the same time, he has a rich history as an innovative political thinker, progressive leader and activist, most recently as chairman of the board of the nonprofits EffectiveNY and the EffectiveNY Howard Samuels Policy Center.
After law school, Bill started a trailblazing education company that focused on training workers 16 years and older the basic skills needed to get and keep a job. He built that company into a worldwide enterprise with operations in Brazil, Europe, Mexico and Asia, and took it public before moving on to other entrepreneurial ventures. Later, he founded ACTV, a cutting-edge interactive education and media company. Working with investors such as The Washington Post, the company developed some of the core intellectual property for interactive television and the World Wide Web, including two fundamental patents issued for the Internet, before being sold to an affiliate of Liberty Media in 2002.
Bill was also one of the founders of the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP), which for over 30 years was the premiere public interest organization focused on companies’ policies on the environment, women & minority advancement, corporate disclosure of information, labor relations, family benefits, and worker rights.
At the same time, Bill remained deeply involved in progressive politics, fundraising for Democratic candidates and speaking out on issues of both local and national importance. During the 2004 Presidential campaign, in response to the “swiftboating” of Democratic nominee John Kerry, Bill produced the documentary Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry to set the record straight about Kerry’s heroism.
After the 2004 election, Bill turned his attention back to state politics, working with Eliot Spitzer to raise money to help the Democratic Party regain the State Senate. He also founded the Blue Tiger Democrats, an innovative grassroots organization designed to reconnect the party to its core communities.
In the 2008 election cycle, Bill served as Finance Chairman for the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, playing a key role in the Democrats gaining control of the State Senate for the first time in decades. However, after Pedro Espada deserted the Democratic Party and joined the Republicans, Bill urged the Democrats not to take the corrupt Espada back. Despite his pleas, the Democrats made Espada Majority Leader of the State Senate.
Bill resigned as Finance Chair and launched the New Roosevelt Initiative, a political action committee with the mission of defeating Espada. Cultivating Gustavo Rivera as a challenger, Bill built a sophisticated campaign and field operation and shocked the political establishment by ousting Espada. With this success, Bill shuttered New Roosevelt.
Today, Bill continues his work in policy and government reform as Chairman of EffectiveNY. As he has done throughout his career, he balances his political and nonprofit activities with his business enterprises.
Bill is currently chairman of the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, a facility dedicated to helping people overcome addiction. He is also managing member of the Carlyle Capital Group and an Ex Officio on the Board of Directors for New York City Center.
A graduate of MIT with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering, Political Science and Economics, Bill also holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Marie, and daughter, Kitty.