Robin Bienfait is executive vice president and chief enterprise innovation officer for Samsung, responsible for building strong partnerships with large global customers to deliver enterprise class services. Robin joins Samsung with over 30 years of experience in mobility, security, business development, enterprise sales, wireless network operations and engineering.
Prior to Samsung, Robin served as chief information officer for BlackBerry for six years, where she led the enterprise business unit, end to end security, tier 3 customer service, global network services and corporate IT.
For the majority of her career, Robin held senior leadership positions across AT&T including Bell Labs, Global Network Services/GNOC, business continuity and disaster recovery, and compliance. Her last position for AT&T was senior vice president of global network services and chief compliance officer, environment, health and safety.
Robin holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Central Missouri State University and an associate degree in business from Maryland University – European Division (Cambridge University, UK). She is also a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in management of technology.
Robin is a member of a number of professional organizations including: the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Georgia CIO Leadership Association, Atlanta CEO Council, Tech America, TechBridge, American Red Cross Tiffany Circle and Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on several boards; Global Aviation Company, X-span Results and Georgia Tech College of Management.
Her personal philosophy includes three tenets that promote value to any organization: keep the customer at the center of everything you do; you are only as good as your team; and being successful doesn’t always mean moving up, it sometime means moving laterally so that you can learn and grow. Robin consistently lives these tenets and they have made her the remarkable and multi-talented business leader she is today.
Tomorrow’s economies will be forged by students who are proficient in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects. Samsung is dedicated to helping people discover a world of possibilities, so we’ve made it our mission to raise student interest in STEM subjects nationwide through innovative programs with our partners that will help us all build a better tomorrow.
The first and biggest area of opportunity lies in sparking creativity in the classroom among our youth now that will lead to keeping them engaged in and wanting to pursue a promising STEM-based career. Through our Solve for Tomorrow program created in 2010, Samsung has encouraged innovation while specifically addressing the technology gap that exists in many classrooms across the country.
By developing a nationwide contest that encourages students and teachers to share the wonder of STEM-based education, the students dive in applying hands-on STEM learning to solve real-life issues impacting their communities. The contest is designed to raise enthusiasm in these subjects by making them fun and interesting. The goal is to boost STEM proficiency among U.S. children, ultimately strengthening the nation’s future competitiveness. We are partnering in this effort with several leading education non-profits, including the National Environmental Education Foundation and the National PTA, as well as with leading technology companies such as Adobe and DIRECTV.
Using Samsung technology in exciting new ways, students create videos that address the challenge, “Show how STEM can be applied to help improve your local community.” The top five winning schools win $140,000 in Samsung technology and other software, while the entire contest awards more than $2 million in technology. Educators recognize our deep commitment to improving STEM education in the United States, with the contest receiving more than 1,600 submissions last year.
Our second key area of focus is backed by studies that have shown young girls reach a critical decision on whether they will pursue the sciences in the fourth and fifth grades. To encourage girls at this critical time, Samsung has developed an after-school and summer program called emPOWER Tomorrow to get them excited about engineering and computer science. If we can reach these young girls, we hope to close the workplace gender gap by introducing and empowering girls with STEM studies.
Samsung’s emPOWER Tomorrow program is exactly about that: getting young girls excited about STEM. Making learning fun is the goal, so Samsung’s women scientists volunteer to work directly with the young girls. Samsung takes it another step by donating Chromebooks, so students can interact with the latest technology while also learning on the computers outside the context of the program. The objective is to get these girls excited about technology, the future, and their place in both. And it’s working.
In order to continue development and stave off summer learning loss, Samsung’s third area of STEM focus is offered through the Mobile App Academy—a fully immersive five-day program that provides high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to work with and learn from the mobile app industry about the many facets of mobile app development and about career opportunities in the growing field of mobile technology. Academy participants also have the opportunity to win $35,000 in college scholarships.
In addition to the fourth area of STEM focus serving as an advocate for young women, I am very proud of Samsung’s work with 20 Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expose our youth to STEM learning and supporting that learning with the latest advancements in Samsung Technology. In order to make sure that these children have an inviting learning space, we recently collaborated with celebrity designer Carter Oosterhouse to transform the Boys & Girls Club in Southern Louisiana into the first of many planned Tween Tech Centers.
In this national technology partnership with Samsung and Oosterhouse, each makeover hinges on design concepts that complement and incorporate Samsung technology, an initiative that supports the brand’s dedication to exposing the nation’s youth to STEM principles in a fun and inspirational environment.
In addition to the Tween Tech Centers, 120 clubs across the country will receive custom STEM curricula and e-books on Samsung tablets to enhance education and improve literacy. Each tablet will have a custom, preloaded app to provide tweens with a virtual community, where they can invent and share their engineering-based solutions for community needs.
For those of us in the field, particularly those of us in STEM leadership roles at Samsung, we are highly encouraged to be visible in the industry, advocate and share success stories of women in engineering. I believe it’s important for all of us who have been on this path to talk openly about the ways we overcame challenges early in our career, build confidence in young women and encourage perseverance in tough times by keeping an eye on the big picture. Having role models who are succeeding in STEM related industries is critical to fostering that interest and building a strong and empowered workforce.
For more than 70 years, Samsung has been dedicated to making a better world through diverse businesses and industries that today span a wide-reaching spectrum courtesy of ground-breaking advanced technology. With its flagship company, Samsung Electronics, the organization leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. And, as Samsung looks to the future, boosting enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among our youngest students is a critical priority for helping foster further discoveries leading to the innovations of tomorrow that in turn lead to an even better world.
Through innovative, reliable products and services; talented people; a responsible approach to business and global citizenship; and collaboration with our partners and customers, Samsung is just beginning the journey of taking the world in imaginative new directions.