The Faces of Women of Vietnam

LanVy Nguyen

Social Entrepreneur specialising in emerging modern fashion with Vietnamese heritage craft.

Short info about you / Đôi điều về bạn
My husband and I were supposed to be at the World Trade Center for work the day it collapsed. We missed it by 2 minutes because our ferry left the dock early. After 10 years of corporate finance in the NY area, I left for Vietnam to explore investment opportunities. Today, I invest in Vietnamese artisans and craft villages to help revitalize the beautiful talent still unknown by the world.  

Who or what inspires you? Ai hoặc điều gì đã truyền cảm hứng cho bạn?

When I was a child, new to America and living in poverty in America, I was always hungry. It was HUNGER that drove me towards success. As an adult, I am constantly on a diet but I still see HUNGER in society. I am angered by the injustices in the world. Because of my business and finance background, I know that economics and trade are powerful tools for stopping hunger and injustice. I am inspired by the knowledge that my business skills can be used to help others. 

Why do you do what you do? Vì sao bạn lựa chọn công việc hiện tại? 
Vietnam cannot be remembered and known for ONLY the wars we went through. I want the world to know of our rich and long history in design and heritage methods. In order for artisan villages to continue sustaining our heritage craft, we need a strong market. I am looking at cultural preservation by tapping into markets and trade rather than just charity.

What advice would you give to your 21 year old self? Bạn mong muốn đưa ra lời khuyên nào cho bản thân mình ở tuổi 21?
1) Don't be afraid to fail, be afraid that you might miss the opportunity to learn
2) Everyone - no matter how rich or poor, has a lesson to teach you. Your job is to find the courage to listen and learn

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? Nếu bạn có thể làm điều gì một lần nữa, bạn có làm nó khác đi hay không?
Too many people assume that foreign education is better than education in Vietnam and that foreigners and Viet-Kieu are more educated. If I had to do it all over again, I would put more young Vietnamese in leadership roles and allow them the freedom to make mistakes and learn

What skill sets do you believe is absolutely essential for young women nowadays? Những kỹ năng gì mà bạn tin chắc rằng nó cần thiết cho phụ nữ trẻ ngày nay?
1) Finance Skills so to manage your business, your projects, and your family spending
2) Listening Skills so that we are able to take criticism and learn how to be a better version of ourselves
3) Compassion in Communication so that we can lead and teach without prejudice

What was your biggest failure? Thất bại lớn nhất mà bạn từng gặp phải?
My biggest failure when I worked in corporate finance was to assume that facts and numbers mattered more than relationships. American men in finance loved my work but they feared my dominant personality. I failed to build relationships that would have moved my projects along faster.  

My biggest failure in entrepreneurship in Vietnam was that I trust too much on relationships. For many Vietnamese, a good business relationship means that it is acceptable to be late with deadlines which in turn hurt my own business relationship with my American and European clients.  

How do you spend your time? How do you decide how to allocate your time? Bạn dành thời gian của mình cho những việc gì? Bạn phân bổ thời gian của mình ra sao?
I am my work and my work is me; however, when I have leisure time, I try to do the things that scare me: surfing, bike racing, and mountain biking. I believe that pushing oneself to physically fall and feel pain allows us the courage to push our minds one more hour beyond sleepiness and exhaustion in order to achieve the goals to success.  

What's one thing you still struggle with? Một trở ngại mà bạn đang mắc phải?
It's hard for me to walk away from anyone who ask for my help. There are 2 types of help people want: (1) the type of help that empowers them, or (2) the type of help that makes them incapable. It takes time to discover which type of help people want. Such involvement takes my time away from my own team, but I feel I need to help. When I was 16, I saw a woman getting beaten by her husband and I was too afraid to help even though she cried out. I have always felt guilty so I made a promise to always help when I can. Unfortunately, this sometimes de-focuses my attention which annoys my team and family.