“Let Daddy move the chopsticks first” and “Do not leave one piece of rice on your plate."
These maxims were part of the Chinese culture and tradition that Tina Yao imparted to her daughter, a first-generation Chinese-American. With a Yale degree (and wearing her mother’s suit), Nancy Yao Maasbach got a job at the Council on Foreign Relations, using her heritage and perspective to work on U.S. policy with China, as that country of her ancestors became an increasingly powerful player on the world stage. After six years at Goldman Sachs, ending as a senior vice-president, she applied her understanding of U.S.-China relations as executive director of the Yale-China Association. Then she found her true calling: as president of the Museum of Chinese in America. (In one of life’s wonderfully wild full circles, the original home of the museum, then known as the Chinatown History Project, was the building where her mother learned to speak English.) Our delightful interview reveals why the mother-daughter relationship is so central to the development of this unique influencer, and how the loving foundation of her own family helps in her mission to interpret and present the many variations of the Chinese-American immigration experience.