On stage at Demo for the launch of PublicStuff.

On stage at Demo for the launch of PublicStuff.

As a first generation Chinese-American, raised in a blue collar family, I've learned to appreciate the fruits that hard work can bring. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of the entire family helping with my father's business. I have always been a "fixer." I love creating new businesses, helping existing agencies to solve big problems and improving effectiveness. At 18, I started an organization that provided free tutoring services to inner-city urban Pittsburgh students and then on to create a public surveillance art program. 

Since then, I've been busy:

  • 2005: Received my Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and Management with a minor in Photography from Carnegie Mellon University. This is where I developed my deep love affair with the City of Pittsburgh. 
  • 2006: Received my Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from the H. John Heinz III school at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • 2007:  Selected from hundreds to be one of three to participate in the City of Long Beach's Management Rotational Program.
  • 2008: Went through my rotations in Public Works, IT and City Managers Office. Learned about local government management and also my first year snowboarding. The first of many to come. 
  • 2009 - 2010: Youngest analyst under Mayor Bloomberg's Department of Education for special analytics and projects. Helped manage the $20B budget and teacher union negotiation. 
  • 2011: Founded one of the first civic tech startups, PublicStuff, focusing on civic engagement and service request automation. 
  • 2012: Selected to participate in the ERA accelerator, launching us into the next stratosphere. PublicStuff named one of the top 25 startups to watch by Business Insider among many other accolades. 
  • 2013: I was named one of the top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs by Forbes
  • 2014: PublicStuff doubles in size and I'm named by Forbes as one of the women building outstanding companies. Started advising other startup projects.
  • 2015: PublicStuff ranked by Forbes at #85 on America's Most Promising Companies. In May, we are acquired by Accela
  • 2016: Focused on growing business for Accela. Started traveling in August for a world-wide surf trip. Surfs up. 
Taken at 5 Pointz, a public art and graffiti mecca.

Taken at 5 Pointz, a public art and graffiti mecca.

Things you may not know about me:

  • Hunted a thief in Thailand who broke into my hut and stole some really valuable stuff. Tracked him down in the woods, found him and my stuff and the rest is history...
  • Took 6 months off college to move to Sichuan, China to work, learn, teach and live...
  • Was almost arrested in Pittsburgh for being mistaken for a local street artist and jokingly pretended to be her (yup, stupid joke)...
  • For reasons I don't understand, I love to arm wrestle and have yet to lose a match...
  • Went off-trail snowboarding and got stuck in an avalanche...
Photo by Kelly McLaughlin @  Sites, Camera, Action , 2017

Photo by Kelly McLaughlin @ Sites, Camera, Action, 2017