Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Rep. Robinson saw firsthand how sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance make it possible to live the American dream. Like many other African Americans, his parents’ families migrated from the South to the North for opportunities and they stayed for the community. Rep. Robinson learned the values of family, hard work, and service from his parents who worked overtime and nights to move their family from the inner city of Cleveland to the suburb of Bedford Heights. Rep. Robinson watched his parents sacrifice to give him and his sister a chance at a quality education and a better way of life.
After graduating from Gilmour Academy, with the help of an academic scholarship, work-study programs, and summer jobs, Rep. Robinson earned his undergraduate degree in finance from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Like many of his classmates, he was deeply affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Instead of seeking a job on Wall Street after graduation, Rep. Robinson chose to serve as a congressional legislative aide for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
Several years later, Robinson worked as an account executive for a Fortune 500 marketing and public affairs firm. He later moved back to Northeast Ohio, where he worked for several small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, and received his Executive Master of Business Administration from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.
After a successful career in the private sector, Rep. Robinson served as the Executive Director of City Year Cleveland, an education nonprofit that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate. He led the organization out of debt, doubled the budget, and expanded services to help more students graduate from high school. Under Rep. Robinson’s leadership, City Year doubled its revenue, grew its operations by 20 percent, and helped a Cleveland school increase its graduation rate from 39% to 73% in five short years.
Rep. Robinson would go on to use his business expertise to serve as the Senior Vice President for Regional and Site Operations for City Year, Inc. He oversaw all aspects of operations for 28 U.S. sites, including five regional vice presidents, nearly 700 site staff, 3,000 AmeriCorps members, and a total revenue budget of $168 million. Since being elected to the Statehouse, Rep. Robinson continues to work as a senior education non-profit executive. Today he serves as the Chief Impact Officer for Reading Partners, a national nonprofit that works with communities to provide students with individual reading support to reach reading proficiency by fourth grade.
Rep. Robinson, and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Solon with their two children, where he is an active member of his community. Currently, he serves on the boards of Gilmour Academy and the United Black Fund Foundation. Rep. Robinson has also received numerous awards and honors including Crain’s Cleveland Business 2015 Forty Under 40, Pahara NextGen Leader (a program of the Aspen Institute), Crain’s Cleveland Business “Who to Watch in Education,” Leadership Cleveland Class of 2013, Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers by Inside Business Magazine, and The George Washington University Wall of Fame in 2001.