Equitech Tuesday #139: Welcome Aboard, Robbin!

Hello Baltimore - from the newest member of the UpSurge Team!

My name is Robbin Lee and I am excited to be the new Director of Partnerships & Mobilization for UpSurge Baltimore. In this role, I will be responsible for managing UpSurge’s local, regional, and national collaborations and programs to foster greater participation in Baltimore’s tech startup ecosystem.

-- Robbin Lee, UpSurge Baltimore Director of Partnerships & Stakeholder Mobilization

For those of you who don’t know me (yet), I am a gatherer at heart and bringing people together with purpose has always been a core focus and integral part of my career.  Most recently, I was the Executive Director for Baltimore Homecoming, a non-profit launched to build, cultivate, and move a network of powerful Baltimoreans across the world to invest in Baltimore.  Throughout my Baltimore life, the many diverse relationships I’ve made have been my lifeblood and I am grateful to be in a position to continue to build on a strong foundation of relationship capital in the service of the city I love and with a more focused lens and approach.


It has only been 2 weeks since I joined UpSurge, but I feel at home not only because I get to continue to serve Baltimore, but also because UpSurge is a growing organization, and nurturing young organizations to maximize for impact is exactly where I want to be.  As part of my onboarding, I’m reading The Startup Community Way and, despite feeling new to the tech economy, I realized I’ve always been an ecosystem builder.  I’m ready to – officially – be a part of leveling up Baltimore’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.


What does my role mean for UpSurge and the Baltimore tech community?

Since UpSurge launched in 2021, I’ve been closely following its work and had the opportunity to collaborate with the organization in my previous role; I have been impressed by how the community has grown to bridge silos, talk to each other, and share resources. UpSurge has made tremendous strides in creating a more connected ecosystem, so now is the time to ramp up our mobilization strategy to advance the ecosystem’s collective goals.  Our gatherings will be more intentional, pathways for participation more clear, and collaborations more impactful.


What brought me to Baltimore?

I always give credit to UMBC – go Dawgs! – for bringing me to the Baltimore region 14 years ago and to the Baltimore arts community for embracing me as a whole human.  My first job was at Maryland Art Place, an arts gallery nonprofit that I still hold dear to my heart.  Since then my career has taken me to Washington, DC and across the country, but Baltimore is where I have found belonging.


What I’m most excited about:

Tech is an exciting new frontier for me, but I remind myself that I’ve always been in and around tech – we all are, more than we think. As I think about the next generation, I know that tech and innovation will have the greatest impact on the future of the city and our people.


Given my background in the arts, I love to work with creative people. Growing up in a small business family, I’ve known entrepreneurs to be some of the most creative people.  I’m excited about being surrounded by entrepreneurs and working hand-in-hand to break down barriers and create new solutions for challenges in our ecosystem.


My Ask:

  • Introduce me to founders. If you are a founder, please introduce yourself and connect with me.  Find me on LinkedIn.  
  • Connect me with the region’s corporate community.  Who do I need to meet at the region’s largest corporations so that they can be a part of growing our entrepreneurial ecosystem?
  • Suggest regional and national partnerships. Which partnerships could help us to unlock the potential of our tech startup ecosystem? Which conferences do we need to attend? Which funders and leaders should we get to know?


Come say hi at Guilford Hall Brewery Tomorrow March 5 from 6-8pm… where the tech community gathers.


Robbin Lee

Upsurge Baltimore, Director of Partnerships & Mobilization


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