DALLAS, TX – After the success of last year’s event, non-profit Against The Grain Productions has partnered with the Crow Collection of Art once again to host the 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Movers and Shakers, a diverse panel of remarkable Asian American industry leaders brought together to share their inspiring personal stories and paths to success. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the family-friendly event takes place from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Saturday, May 11th at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of Asian art, champagne, coffee and dessert at a reception preceding the event at 1:00 pm, then listen as the speakers share their insightful stories, engage in heavy hitting issues affecting the Asian American community and even chat with the panelists in one-on-one round table conversation. Tickets range from $10-$25 and go on sale starting April 15th at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/Events.
Introducing the 2013 Groundbreakers Speak Panelists:
Dat Nguyen – Often told he was simply too small to play football, Dat Nguyen went on to be one of the most decorated college football players and the first Vietnamese American to play in the NFL as a Dallas Cowboy. The Cowboys drafted him in the third round (85th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. Dat made an impact with the Cowboys from the very beginning, leading the team in special-teams stops as a rookie and becoming The Cowboys’ starting middle linebacker in his second season. Dat is currently with Sports Talk Radio at ESPN San Antonio.
“I would like [for you] to walk away from the event knowing don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but you have to put time and effort in order to gain an edge. It’s all about attitude!!”
Karin Oen – From modern works of art to the classics, Karin has studied many types and in places all around the globe. As the new Director of Education at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Karin is an art historian, curator and museum director who has a strong commitment to building community through art institutions.
“Learn to rethink your own biases and judgments about success and accomplishment. We have all inherited traditions and legacies of family and culture, but the real value of those legacies is to feel bolstered to the point where you are confident enough to make decisions that are truly your own. The arts are fundamental to the health of any community or individual’s body, mind and heart.”
Kent Takano – More than 10 years have passed since Kent Takano was Executive Producer of a Dallas-area morning show, and since then, he’s had a hand in producing television shows for some of the largest major cable networks. He is now the Executive Producer/Vice President of Branded Entertainment for HGTV and the DIY Network.
“Talk to your peers. Encourage them. Break the stereotype that Asians are the ‘quiet minority.’ But make sure WHAT you say means something. My dad once told me that there will always be people smarter than me, but you can always out-work them. He was right! So lead by example and take chances. My favorite passage is ‘Go to the end of the limb. It’s where the fruit is.’ – unknown author”
Ha Mai – Most of his fans know him as Fur Face Boy, and with such a unique moniker, there’s no doubt he likes to pave his own path. Fur Face Boy walked away from working for design studios, agencies and in-house design groups to focus on his independent apparel line, blogging and living life on his own terms.
“I’d like [you] to walk away inspired, motivated and realizing that anything is possible as long as you are passionate, hardworking and ready to roll with the punches. [You become a groundbreaker] by not following trends, trusting your own thoughts and simply being yourself.”
Lily Jang – An Emmy nominated journalist, TV host and news anchor who broken some major barriers, including being the first Asian American in television news in Amarillo, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama. Now, Lily is back in her hometown of Houston as a morning news anchor for KHOU and was honored twice by the Huffington Post as a Twitter Powerhouse.
“It starts from within. If you THINK YOU CAN or you THINK YOU CAN’T, you’re right. I want [you] to never take no for an answer. Persevere. Believe. Achieve.”
Richard Jung – Representing his Asian American community is just one of Richard’s top priorities. After holding different positions in different parts of the country, Richard is now an advocate, politician and the managing partner of Jung Ko, PLLC, a boutique immigration firm focused primarily on business immigration matters.
“Being a groundbreaker has to do with pushing aside fears and embracing new challenges. As Asian Americans, we must overcome the cultural inhibitions about standing out and standing our ground. Our elders, our children, our communities need leaders who will stand out and stand up for their interests. Our cities, our counties and school districts need those same leadership skills to represent the interests of all residents. Just be willing to take that first step!”
Tanya Pinto – After working at one of the nation’s largest advertising agencies, Tanya’s heart took her elsewhere. She founded Baal Dan (which means “Donation to Children”), a charity that helps children around the world, and for more than six years, has run her own consulting firm, Shakti Consulting.
“Everyone can be a groundbreaker – they simply have to figure out what their unique talent is and then follow that passion to create something, help someone or just live a more fulfilling and happy life, which in turn has positive ripple effects on the lives of everyone around them. Being a groundbreaker starts with knowing yourself and then giving your time and energy to your passion. Then watch the magic unfold!”
Tammy Nguyen Lee – Tammy Nguyen Lee is a passionate producer, filmmaker and actor who founded ATG with her family as a result of her own experience as an American actor and filmmaker, fueled by the determination to give other Asian Americans a creative outlet, while raising awareness for Asian American issues and aid for worthy causes. Nguyen Lee graduated with a B.A. in Cinema from Southern Methodist University and earned a M.F.A. from the elite UCLA Producer’s Program. She produced/directed her first feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, an independent passion project that took nearly 5 years to produce and won the Audience Choice Award at the 2009 Vietnamese International Film Festival and Philadelphia Asian Film Festival. She has worked extensively in film/television production and has overseen the development and marketing of a heavy slate of non-fiction television series and documentary programs for major cable networks. In 2010, she was honored with SMU’s prestigious Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award. Now, as a new mom, Nguyen Lee’s focus is on her family, growing ATG and continuing to work as an actor, film/television producer and development consultant.
“Being a groundbreaker requires passion, courage, commitment, innovation, faith and knowledge. You have to take the time to learn and understand the rules of the game, and then break them…or make up an entirely new game. The ability to be a groundbreaker is in all of us, and I hope this event inspires more Asian Americans to believe in themselves and educates them with the tools they need to take action.”