Nu Huynh, Executive Director, Iowa Asian Alliance 


nu nuynh Des Moines MomDes Moines Mom recognizes that moms wear a lot of hats. You are a mom, wife, friend, diaper changer, nose wiper, meal planner, lost toy finder, the list goes on and on!

This summer we are thrilled to feature some local moms who are thinking outside the box and making a difference in our community through the businesses they own, organizations they are involved with, and work they do. Check out the rest of the series and read profiles from previous years here.

Nu Huynh is the Executive Director of the Iowa Asian Alliance where her goal is to showcase Iowa’s diverse Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. She and her family love the Des Moines community. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’ve been hanging out with my husband since 8th grade. We share 3 kids and a dog. Our lives revolve around each of our passions.

Our oldest, Tayden, is officially an adult and will be exploring ISU this Fall. KaiLan, our fav daughter, will be a freshman at Urbandale High School and eager to start driving. Knolin, our biggest challenge yet, will be hamming it up as a 7th grader. And lastly, our fav child is Wicket, a Teddy Bear dog. The boys only live for video games, show choir, and theater. KaiLan and her dad are focused on golf and sports. Me…I’m all about working smarter not harder to travel and enjoy life now while I still have great health and energy.

What do you consider the biggest challenge of motherhood to be? Biggest joy? 

My biggest parenting challenge is knowing if I’m instilling the right values and life lessons to ensure my kids are respectful, kind and make smart decisions throughout life. I know they each come with their own blueprint and I can only influence so much. I live by everything is a balance as extreme anything can kill you, even water. My biggest joy is to know that we have given them a better life than ours.  

How long have you been Executive Director for Iowa Asian Alliance? 

My 10-year anniversary is coming up. Yet it flew by. I’m very much a long-term commitment gal when it comes to work and people. Unless it’s in our best interest to part ways.

What kind of projects are you working on?

We are always working on CelebrAsian, the annual Asian Heritage Festival. By the time we wrap it up, we are planning the next one. Our 20th anniversary is coming up, be sure to save the date May 26-27, 2023. We’re also revving up our civic engagement initiatives and bringing back the 6th annual Pho King Cook-off. Follow us on FB for the latest info.

What’s the best part about your job?

No surprise here. My core team of volunteer leaders is the best of the best. My meetings, projects, and events are with amazing humans that I truly enjoy spending time with. You can love what you do but if you don’t like whom you work with it’s like a constant dark cloud or tension that eats away at you. I’m thankful every team member chooses to be a part of the IAA family- it’s not a job they can’t leave.

What advice do you have for moms juggling work and mom life?

Too often we put everyone and everything else first. You have to take care of yourself first to be the best version of you. When you are healthy, happy, and confident in how you look and feel, you have more energy and patience to give. And something always has to give- maybe it’s the clean house, home cooked meals, or showing up to everything. But never your health and personal care because once that is compromised you no longer care or resentment consumes you. 

What do you love about raising a family in Des Moines? 

It’s not too big. Not too small. And I’m grateful we don’t live in the same fear as we would in other big cities, especially during these last few ugly years. Living our best life is challenging enough. We don’t need the added stress of big city traffic, high crime, and violence beyond our control.

Quick Takes

Favorite local restaurant:Depends on my mood. What I’m hungry for. And who all is joining me for dinner. And whether or not I’m thirsty for some perfectly made cocktails. I do have my go-to items at various restaurants all across the metro. If I’m really hungry or had too much fun the night before, then typically only Vietnamese cuisine such as pho will satisfy my cravings.  

Best place to take kids:Amusement parks. Other than that, it would depend on their ages and favorite pastime activities. I have two teens and one adult. The only activities where all three, including mom and dad, would enjoy together besides amusement parks, would be movies, ice cream/boba tea run, parks, and arcades. Especially the all-inclusive places with video games, rock/tree climbing, laser, bowling, and more.

Favorite summer activity: Given the longer days and more flexible schedules, some of my favorite things to do include: Jet-setting. Road trips. Late night movies. And concerts.  

What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read? We love the Palms Theater & IMAX in Waukee. In particular their discount Tuesday specials. I grew up loving Elvis. We made the kids go see the movie with us- for them to learn and appreciate a music legend. When I asked Knolin to go, he responded, “Elvis movie got me like dead zzz zzz”. Not only did he stay up for the entire show, he thoroughly enjoyed it and was asking more questions about his life and hometown afterwards.

How/where do you relax? I am a very social person. I need to be around people, especially spending time with my favs just catching up over great food and cocktails. Other than that, a fresh clean house is literally the best therapy. And oh, I’m also a shopaholic. Finding wow unbeatable deals is a natural high.

If your life had a hashtag, what would it be? #ItsWhatUMkPriority

Connect with Nu


Iowa Asian Alliance

des moines mom movers and shakers

Know a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.


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