August 10, 2012
IMBA Grad Helps Bay-area Event Planners Find Rooms
Yan Heim, ’97, IMBA, launched her own web company, called Froomz, in September 2011 from Berkeley, Calif. Short for “Finding Rooms,” Froomz provides a real-time booking platform for event planners to get in touch with hotels, restaurants, and other locales with under-used space.
“I can see the Golden Gate Bridge from my home,” said Yan, who this year also launched her first gift to Carolina. It benefits the Darla Moore School of Business’ prestigious IMBA program. "Education is the single most important investment this country, or any country, can make."
Yan and her husband, Patrick, a fellow Class of ’97 IMBA graduate, are both technology-driven: He is senior vice president and chief trust officer of Salesforce, a leading company in cloud computing and social enterprise.
Yan, a 15-year Bay Area resident originally from Beijing, China, worked for AT&T for 10 years negotiating contracts with carriers in Asia. She gave up a six-figure position to start Froomz: “Deep down, I’ve always been an entrepreneur looking for ideas.”
Yan said she and Patrick not only received an outstanding IMBA education at Carolina with a strong international component—spent partly in Austria under a joint program—she also received University support at a critical juncture. Her student visa into the United States was initially denied, but then approved after the Moore School worked with Sen. Strom Thurmond’s office to provide access—and opportunity.
“You can’t imagine what that meant to me at the time,” said Yan, who has two daughters. “It completely changed my life.”
—Larry Di Giovanni, Development Communications