Nhu Yeargin was born in Vietnam. Her father and mother are Chinese. Her first languages were Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese. She is still fluent in Cantonese. “I speak it every day,” she says. She lived in Vietnam until the Communist invasion when she was 13. “I can remember the trucks and tanks coming down the street,” she says. Her father, who was an educator and principal of a school, was targeted by the Viet Cong. “I remember him coming home and saying that we were leaving immediately. We couldn’t take anything with us.”
Thus began an odyssey that took them to the island of Phu Quoc, on the western side of Vietnam, then on to Thailand. They lived for a time on a boat and in a refugee camp. To leave the country required a confirmed foreign destination, complete with proper papers. The Catholic Charities helped with locating relatives from other countries. “We sent letters to relatives in the United States, Australia and elsewhere,” says Yeargin. “Whoever replied first would be our destination. And so we wound up in Newport News.”
Yeargin’s mother had a sister in Newport News. “We arrived in winter and I saw my first snow,” she says. “My father insisted on education and he taught us himself,” says Yeargin. She eventually earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and international commerce from Christopher Newport University (CNU). Later she earned her MBA degree from The College of William & Mary.
Yeargin met her husband at CNU. They were married in 1990 and have three grown sons. “I would not have achieved what I have without the sacrifice of my parents who came to this country with nothing but managed to put all of their children through college,” says Yeargin.
One of Yeargin’s jobs after graduating from college was with Virginia International Terminals. She handled import and export goods. “I was the first woman at the pier’s breakbulk warehouse,” she says. “We shipped everything from household goods and automobiles to boats.” She laughs as she recalls that a bathroom had to be installed for her.
In her position as administrator at YLS, Inc., a landscape contractor, Yeargin says that she “does everything. But I don’t mow grass,” she says with a laugh. Fortunately she has a great team to support her. “My husband Kevin is the hardest-working man I know. He is my cheerleader and the joy of my life,” she adds.
Yeargin also invests and manages various real estate portfolios, including single or multi-family homes, vacation rentals and commercial properties. “My whole family is in real estate,” she says. “I am thankful for all the people who work with me to make these ventures successful,” she adds.
Yeargin finds time to serve on many community and charitable boards. “For me, the bottom line is to do as much good as I can for as long as I can,” she says. Currently she is serving on the Bernadine Franciscan Sisters Foundation, Inc. board of directors. The Foundation seeks to improve human conditions on the Virginia Peninsula by providing funding and assistance to agencies that address the needs in our community, especially as it relates to the poor and disadvantaged. In the last fiscal year the Foundation awarded $477,000 to various nonprofits.
Yeargin also serves on the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities Board. She is humbled and proud that in 2011, she was a Humanitarian Award recipient. She also serves on the boards of the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsula and the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula. She holds the designation of Certified Credit Union Volunteer from the Credit Union National Association. The National Association of Corporate Directors awarded her the Leadership Fellows designation and Directorship Certified. Serving as chair of the American Heart Association over a two-year period, Yeargin achieved AHA’s Gold Standard Board designation as the result of a dedicated staff effort. She is past treasurer of the First United Church of Christ in Hampton. “Currently I serve as cook,” she says.
Fellow board members praise Yeargin as an extraordinary professional with innovative skills, impressed with her business and financial acumen. Yeargin credits the support and guidance from her friends and colleagues who are like family to her. “Because of them I strive for a better understanding of the world with the desire of making it a better place.”
Yeargin enjoys reading. She also likes to cook, especially baking. Yeargin has traveled a great deal. “l love it,” she says. “I am in a small group that has ‘girls’ week’ every year. We have been traveling together for 16 years.” She loves cruising with her husband and family. She has been to the Caribbean and traveled throughout most of Europe. And she visits the Far East. Where will she go next? “Wherever my friends take me — whenever the mood strikes,” she says.
TO THE POINT:
Nhu Yeargin: Administrator, YLS, Inc.
Address: 4 Shuttle Ct., Hampton, VA 23666