Cyndy Yu Robinson
CYNDY YU-ROBINSON
Cyndy Yu-Robinson, Final Round Judge 2019
National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP), Executive Director
Cyndy is 1 of 4 Final Round Judges for the 2019 SASEtank Competition. She is the Executive Director of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP), and has been working with the organization for the past 22 years. When she’s not working, she's teaching self-defense classes, hosting karate tournaments, and watching The Good Wife.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB.
As the NAAAP Executive Director, I set the organization's goals and strategy. I also fundraise for projects and review budgets. Outside of administrative functions, I dedicate a lot of time organizing and directing programs, focusing on conferences. I also plan communication and outreach for infrastructure projects, such as plans related to transit, widening roads, and municipal or airport sustainability.

I've also worked part-time as a Public Involvement Specialist at AECOM since 2010.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOUR CURRENT JOB?
I was the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Lenovo. I also worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) as the Communication Director of a national research lab as well as a Congressional Liaison.

Prior to my career, I received a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University (1987). I also received a Master's in International Studies, Global Policy, and Strategy from UC San Diego (1991).

WHY IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP IMPORTANT?
Being an entrepreneur involves agile thinking and gritty persistence. It also requires taking risks, pioneering, leading with positivity, and seeing the potential in something that hasn't been done yet. The entrepreneurial spirit entails characteristics of innovation, being a visionary, and discovering and synthesizing new opportunities and connections. I very much admire people possess these qualities while doing things efficiently and effectively.

In my own life, the entrepreneurialism has not only helped me in traditional career paths. It has also given me the courage to create solutions in non-traditional jobs and fields.

WHY SHOULD STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS ATTEND THE FINAL ROUND AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE?
SASEtank helps motivate rising entrepreneurs by breaking down the entrepreneurial process into manageable chunks. It gives independent thinkers an opportunity to test out their skills and present in front of others.

By attending the Final Round, the audience will admire the personal fortitude, ingenuity, and all-around brilliance of people who are of similar age. They'll witness and learn how success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING?
For the past 4 years, I've been on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Stanford Alumni Club of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, as well as a Stanford Alumni Interviewer. More recently (September 2019), I joined the Board of Directors for the Stanford Asian Pacific American Alumni Club (SAPAAC)

I'm also the Chair of the North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) Board of Directors, a non-partisan non-profit organization. We're committed to supporting equity and justice for everyone through civic engagement and political participation. This includes encouraging and assisting with voter registration.

I'm passionate about karate, fitness, and recycling. I run a martial arts school with my husband in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to teaching self-defense classes, we train athletes for national and international competitions. For the past 13 years as an AAU Karate District Director, I've hosted 2-3 single-day tournaments every year. In 2015 and 2017, our dojo in Raleigh hosted the National Championships for 1,200 athletes, their coaches, and their families.

I enjoy being on the move, especially outside running, walking, and biking. I appreciate various music genres, including Motown, blues, and Broadway tunes — even if I may not be musically talented myself.

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