Eric Clapton once sang, “That I can change the world, I would be the sunlight in your universe.”
Born in Quy Nhon, Vietnam, Dr. Dane Hoang and her family immigrated to the United States in 1979 and settled in Dallas, Texas. Almost 30 years later, she returned to Vietnam for the first time as a volunteered pediatric dentist with Operation Smile in 2008. The mission was a life-changing experience for her and not only was it a chance to return to the country of her birth place for the first time, but more importantly it was an opportunity to learn what it truly means to help those in need. It was during these trips to her native country of Vietnam that Dr. Dane became aware of the urgent need by children for assistance in all aspects of their lives. As a result, Dr. Dane was the driving force behind the creation of the Le Hoang Foundation. Founded in 2008, the Le Hoang Foundation has already made a tremendous impact by attracting numerous benefactors, all whom have graciously donated time and financial resources to help orphanages throughout Southeast Asia.
Sometimes we forget how blessed we are to live in the United States, but there is a world of children beyond our borders that desperately needs our help. Through the work with Operation Smile and the Le Hoang Foundation, Dr. Dane learned that a pediatric dentist from Dallas, Texas can change the world and be the sunlight in the universe of children thousands of miles away.
Dane-Thuy Le Hoang
Quy Nhon, Vietnam
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
It means never having to compromise your core values and beliefs. I have a specific set of values and beliefs that I try to uphold everyday, and even if it means that what I do and what I say might “go against the grain” of mainstream America, I refuse to compromise when it comes to those core values and beliefs.
What made you decide to pursue your career?
Growing up, my family was always business oriented. I can remember playing and working with my hands in my parents’ jewelry store at a young age. My parents’ work ethic and independence inspired me to find an occupation that would incorporate both autonomy and manual dexterity. The field of dentistry provided me with the best of both worlds.
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
It’s not so much as being Asian American but more so being a female pediatric dentist/business owner who had to work in a predominately male dominated field. From dealing with bankers, general contractors, architects and equipment dealers, I have worked with an all male team over the past 14 years with the construction of three dental offices. It was quite a challenge at the beginning to convey my vision to these individuals in the design of my dental offices with all its bells and whistles, while trying to cater to my patients. Once they understood and saw my passion for pediatric dentistry, my team worked tirelessly to help me achieve my vision.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
My biggest accomplishment is surrounding myself with a great network of friends and family over the years. These are the people who have been with me from the beginning of my career and have been supportive in everything that I have accomplished. These individuals are my true friends who love and support me, who can be brutally honest with me and lastly, who bring out the best in me.
What’s up next?
I am working with Operation Smile and my sister Thanh in organizing a trunk show for Le Dragon d’Or in November 2012 at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. Also, I am planning a fundraising event for Le Hoang Foundation for next spring in Dallas. We hope to raise money for a dental mission in the Dominican Republic which will be led by Dr. Mike Gioffre, a general dentist and Operation Smile volunteer residing in Delaware.
Quote to live by:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac) Pig/Aries
Passionate about: My first passion has always been children. Becoming a pediatric dentist and then working with Operation Smile and the Le Hoang Foundation have just been a natural extension of my love for children.
Favorite food: Bún Bò Huế– this is pretty obvious, since I am from central Vietnam, Hue province.
Can’t live without Besides air, it’s love and laughter with friends and family.