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Jess Ladd

Founder & CEO, Callisto

Skoll Awardee


Jess Ladd grew up in San Francisco during the height of the AIDS epidemic, an experience which brought to light the importance of sexual health, rights, and fighting for justice. As a sex education teacher throughout high school and college, students and friends came to Jess with stories of sexual abuse. It was during her college years that Jess herself experienced the trauma of sexual assault — and the subsequent reporting process, which was, in Jess’ words, “more traumatic than the incident itself.” Jess’ work as a FemSex facilitator and campus educator during college showed Jess that her experience was not unique — that many survivors of assault feel doubly traumatized by flawed reporting processes. After graduation, Jess worked as a federal HIV policy advocate and interned at the Obama White House Domestic Policy Council. After completing a Master’s in Public Health at Johns Hopkins, Jess was determined to address the failings of reporting assault, harnessing technology for the purpose. In 2015, she launched Callisto, the site she wished existed when she was in college. Callisto’s trauma-informed reporting platform allows survivors to create a time-stamped record of their experience, report at a time and place that feels safe to them, or enter the name of their perpetrator under the precondition that this information is not released unless someone else names the same individual.