BE Modern Man: Evin Robinson
Entrepreneur; 29; Co-Founder and President, New York on Tech
Twitter: @evinrobinson; Instagram: @evinrobinson
I’m the co-founder and president of America On Tech Inc. (currently operating as New York On Tech Inc.), an award-winning, early-pipeline technology talent accelerator on a mission to prepare the next generation of leaders by creating pathways into degrees and careers in technology. To date, we have worked with more than 1,000 students to deliver our tuition-free courses and help provide work-based internships and learning programs that promote the advancement of underestimated students into technology.
AOT’s work has been featured in Black Enterprise, Forbes, BET, CNN, People Magazine, Univision, TechCrunch, and other leading publications. AOT has also been awarded by Forbes 30 Under 30, Wells Fargo, and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
Graduating from college holds the place as the proudest moment in my life. For me, this accomplishment was larger than myself. I remember it was Mother’s Day. The smile on my mother’s face as she congratulated me on graduating from Syracuse University is a moment I will forever treasure.
Those feelings amplified as I delivered a speech during the Multicultural Graduation Reception, a celebratory tradition on campus hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. I was selected as a senior speaker. While delivering my speech on stage, I reflected on what I had overcome to get to that point. The challenges and unfavorable circumstances that were converted into a motivational desire to achieve everything I put my mind to is what I spoke about. While I graduated with honors and a fleet of awards, it did not come easy and it validated that I could overcome any challenge ahead.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
While Brooklyn has changed drastically over the years, the neighborhood where I grew up still remains off the realtor’s list as a top pick. Reflecting back, I realized that limitations were placed on me before I had the chance to fully understand the opportunities the world had to offer. Similar to many low-income communities, you experience a lot of hardships and get placed into situations that test you in various ways. Through mentorship and a supportive family, I learned to turn those experiences into competitive advantages instead of disadvantages. The lessons learned and skills acquired in the struggle have assisted me in my pursuit and achievement of success, including with New York On Tech.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
I don’t have one male role model, but rather a collection of mentors I’ve acquired over the years. From them, I’ve learned the importance of hard work, self-assurance, strategy, alliances, perseverance, and most importantly giving back.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
The exploration and development of oneself toward becoming a better person—and supporting others in their exploration and development toward becoming better people.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
“You have all the right ingredients, you just have to mix it right.”
This is something I was told while in college and it has stuck with me. It’s a statement and a nugget of advice I constantly come back to in my personal and business life. It helps me to look at things (including my work with America On Tech) from a proactive viewpoint, reassess, and organize plans of actions toward goals.
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
A large percentage of the males we serve through America On Tech Inc. (New York On Tech Inc.) identify as black males. For many of them, it’s their first time receiving coding and technical training, industry mentors, company site visits, and paid internships. Additionally, I volunteer often with my fraternity brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha and serve as a business coach and mentor to many black men.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
Being a black man to me is a true example of perseverance. Despite all of the challenges we face, we still overcome them and continue to show our greatness at the highest levels possible.
WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?
Journaling while eating a good breakfast and listening to an entrepreneurial podcast while working out. I read a lot of autobiographies, history, business, and innovation books. For me, it’s important to understand the past, future, and proven methods and frameworks toward success.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.