Meet Allison

Posted by Lauren in January 2024

Get to know our CEO! In today’s journal entry, we sat down with Allison Samuel, EarlyDog’s fearless leader since 2020.

Check out our Q&A to learn more about Allison’s interests, where you’ll find her on a Saturday afternoon, and how being the CEO of a startup isn’t so different from working as a science teacher.

What’s your favorite thing about working at EarlyDog?

I like to surround myself with inspiring people who are inquisitive and like to learn. My favorite thing is being surrounded by and learning from the thoughtful, conscientious, deep-thinking people on our team.

How has your background in teaching and science informed your expertise as CEO?

My teaching and coaching experience provides me with a wide bank to draw from when working with people on things that matter, even when it might not be easy. My science and philosophy background, focused on epistemology, have habituated me to a method of logical reasoning and skepticism that is highly applicable to the nature of our work at EarlyDog. This has also prepared me to be a quick and quality learner. Given the accelerating rate of change in the volume of information in the world, the ability to logically analyze and quickly learn is needed to maintain relevant understanding.

The role definition of CEO is so diffuse and multifaceted, especially in a startup, that generalists (as described in David Epstein’s book “Range”) are often well suited for this position. One must be able to effectively navigate situations they may not have ever seen or imagined. My background has enabled me to build a large, successful set of experiences in many contexts, making the role of CEO a natural fit for me. I consider my biggest keys to successfully filling this role are similar to those to being a good teacher. These include my tenacity (I’m a bit of a scrapper who has learned through the years how and where to best aim), my hard-earned ability to manage my own psychology (if you’re not sure if this is an important CEO attribute, ask Ben Horowitz) my ability to learn, and my willingness to do it in front of my colleagues.

What’s your perfect Saturday?

An ideal weekend day for me would be to compete in a running race, hang out with the horses, dogs, and my husband, drive the tractor, go swimming in the lake, take an afternoon nap, then go to the ballet or concert with family and friends.

What type of music do you like?

Two consistent music genres I’ve been the most inspired by throughout my life are punk and outlaw country. Sex Pistols and Waylon Jennings are two anchor examples. I enjoy listening to any kind of music that has some edginess to it.

Are there any charitable causes that you are passionate about?

I’m passionate about quality education and necessary reforms to achieve that, particularly focused on promoting girls in STEM and increasing opportunities for quality learning in rural communities.


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