For A&S alum Andrew Yeung, forging connections between people is everything. Yeung, who completed his bachelor's degree at Rotman Commerce in 2017 as a member of Woodsworth College, has carved out a niche in tech by becoming the go-to guy for free, accessible and unique networking experiences. Through Andrew’s Mixers, he has created events in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Austin, Los Angeles and most recently, Toronto, all in the past three years.
And Yeung is doing it all while balancing a day job as a global product lead at Google and, previously, as the North America operations lead for Meta.
Yeung’s success didn’t come easy. While Yeung was still struggling in school, he envisioned other ways to grow and gain experience. Yeung credits his time at Rotman for teaching him there’s more than one path to success.
“I learned how to stand out,” Yeung says. “I did a lot of absurd, crazy things in school. I started my own projects and had a few entrepreneurial ventures. It's really all about taking the wacky path, almost like a shortcut or a life hack, to getting the outcome you want versus following everyone else.”
Yeung returned to Toronto in mid-June to throw his biggest event in the city at the esteemed University Club of Toronto. The sold-out homecoming event was a true benchmark for the popularity of his mixers.
“Technology is just evolving so fast,” says Asif Ansari, a product manager at Ticketmaster and a guest at the Toronto mixer. “Attending these events helps you stay on the cutting edge. And that's why I come out: to learn from others.”
“I seek out events like this,” says Areeb Mianoor, a product manager at GroupBy, a product discovery platform startup. “I love them.”
The Toronto event was also an opportunity for Yeung’s friends and family to come and see what he’s been up to.
“He's working very hard, and he has a real passion for it,” Yeung’s mother Monica says. “So, we are very, very glad and very happy to be here.”
Be present . A lot of people come in a very transactional way and they're like, I just want a job. I want this, I want that. Come and be present and be human. Speak to others as a human.
Before Andrew’s Mixers, Yeung hosted small dinner parties for friends to help combat isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic while still complying with public health guidelines. That core idea of bringing people together has grown to where Yeung is regularly hosting events with hundreds of guests in the tech space in cities across North America.
To keep his events free, Yeung has become adept at cold emailing venues and finding sponsors to activate his events. His unique blend of persistence, creativity and experience has proven the right cocktail to keep his parties accessible to anyone who wants to attend. Yeung’s biggest win in this department was booking the Sony Hall in New York City, a 1,000-person concert venue, totally free of charge.
“A powerful cold email can be worth $100,000,” Yeung says.
Yeung, who’s lived in five countries, knows the importance of building communities. It is that central tenet underlying all his work at Andrew’s Mixers.
“The thing that touches me the most is a lot of people have come up to me and say, ‘Andrew, during COVID I was super lonely. I had no friends. And I've met eight of my closest friends through your events.’ And that's what keeps me running,” Yeung says.
Yeung’s advice to anyone attending a networking mixer is to be kind and give others your complete attention.
“Be present,” Yeung says. “A lot of people come in a very transactional way and they're like, I just want a job. I want this, I want that. Come and be present and be human. Speak to others as a human.”
Now that Andrew’s Mixers is reaching critical mass, Yeung is thinking about what’s next.
“I want to build this into a bigger thing,” Yeung says. “I'm exploring what it would look like if I really blew it up. And one of the cities I want to do that in is Toronto. So, I would say just stay tuned for what's next because I'm really excited for what's coming.”