An Inspiring Path

Jordan Sun (BS ’09), Vice President of Product, Softbank Robotics America
Jordan Sun (BS '09)

With a through line focused on public service, Jordan Sun (BS ’09) discusses his dynamic career path shaped by industry, civic, and government roles.



Jordan Sun, an accomplished Stern alum who graduated 15 years ago, has not followed a linear path. His career has spanned finance, the military, government, and technology, with his current role as Vice President of Product, Softbank Robotics America. Despite his fluctuating career path he has kept true to his desire to give back. There is a through line—to be of service—a focus that comes from Jordan's service-driven family. His father immigrated from Taiwan and joined the U.S. Army, and his grandfather was a decorated veteran of the Republic of China Nationalist Party during World War 2.


Jordan's desire to do good is coupled with a natural curiosity about the world. He attributes this trait to having grown up in a Texas town near the Mexico border. "From an early age I was around different types of people and was curious about their backgrounds," said Jordan. That appreciation for meeting diverse groups of people fueled his desire to come to New York City for the undergraduate program at NYU Stern. He shared that his most memorable moment was his first night in his dorm room. "You walk out onto the street, and boom, the city is right there. There was a lot going on, and it was thrilling," said Jordan.


While at Stern, he enrolled in ROTC. His decision was inspired by a desire to do his part, especially in representing the Asian American community in the army. After graduating from Stern early, he served in the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment and volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan in 2012. Jordan is also a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, with the rank of Major, as well as the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service, with multiple tours across Afghanistan, Japan, and Taiwan.  He returned to Afghanistan in 2020 as the 75th Innovation Command’s Head of Tech Scouting and Innovation for Silicon Valley and Chief Operating Officer/Product Lead for an experimental tech unit with the U.S. Special Operations Joint Task Force.


Jordan Sun (BS ’09) while deployed on active duty

Jordan Sun (BS ‘09) deployed on active duty


From the army to public service

His technology skills landed him the position of Chief Innovation Officer for the city of San José, CA, during the pandemic. "My main role was to bridge the digital divide, focus on tech policy, and implement a data-driven approach to programs," explained Jordan. With a long list of goals, Jordan used a venture studio model to scale up fast.


"We couldn't move fast enough to get computers to people with access issues who were hampered from going to school or looking for a job without a device," said Jordan.


Thanks to funding for fellowships and partnerships with different nonprofits, his team was able to quickly scale up and, according to Jordan, "achieve all our goals without any additional expense to the city of San José."


In addition to addressing the tech accessibility issue, Jordan's team accomplished several initiatives: they launched an app to provide access to tailored mental health resources; an app to make police information more transparent; kicked off a digital privacy policy with the city; and brought in a chief data officer who focused on using data to inform policy decisions.


Despite all his contributions to San José, Jordan considers his proudest accomplishment to be helping bring five Afghans who he worked with, including their families, to resettle in the U.S. "I helped them find tech jobs and re-establish themselves. It is something I am proud of, and I believe that as a country, we have a lot of work to do to redefine the refugee experience to help them succeed."


Giving back

When Jordan looks back at the experiences that shaped him, he credits both Stern and the military. "I remember Professor Mike Mazzarese, who is now deceased, told me to ask 'why' at least five times. That really stuck with me," said Jordan. "The School also gave me confidence and taught me how to frame a problem. The military taught me how to lead by example and when and how to delegate and promote growth in others."


But one of Jordan's biggest goals is to inspire others to find ways to give back. "You don't have to be in uniform. It's great to broaden your scope in terms of all the possible ways to make a difference in this world," said Jordan. One day, he'd like to start an alumni group centered around public-private career paths.


As for what's next for Jordan, he sees himself alternating between the government and the private sector. "I tend to come into a crisis moment and do very well in that environment. So whatever role you'll see me in, it'll likely be something that is incredibly pressing."