After graduating from Oxford University in 1983, Sam worked for six years in the agrochemical industry, with a focus on Latin America. After 18 months working as a volunteer with street children in Sao Paulo, Sam returned to business with 11 years at UK commodity trading company, ED&F Man Holdings, becoming Managing Director of the company’s Asian business in 2001. In 2002, Sam returned to the development sector becoming Organisational Development Manager at the International Save the Children Alliance.

In 2006, Sam joined Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) as its first CEO. WSUP is a not-for-profit company, a private sector-NGO hybrid, which empowers local providers of water and sanitation services to reach low-income urban consumers on a commercially viable basis. By 2014, the WSUP programme had provided over two million low-income consumers with improved water and sanitation services and five million with improved the hygiene. In the process, WSUP has contributed valuable learning for the WASH sector on how to leverage private sector know-how to provide sustainable benefits to the BOP.