“We All Have a Story…” Recapping the 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak

DALLAS, TX – In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, seven trailblazing Asian Americans told their personal stories about their paths to success at Against The Grain Productions’ 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak event on Saturday May 11, 2013. Surrounded by the beautiful pieces at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Downtown Dallas, more than 100 guests packed into the museum’s main gallery to enjoy champagne, hors d’oeuvres and art before settling in to listen to each speaker’s TED-inspired personal presentation.  After sharing their diverse perspectives, speakers joined together as a panel to answer questions and cover hard-hitting issues about identity, cultural barriers, motivation and solutions to nurture leadership in the community. Imparting their insight, there were moments both humorous and poignant. The event concluded with a unique half hour where guests got to interact with speakers one-on-one.

The goal of the afternoon was to give people of all ages a chance to hear and meet influential leaders. It was also about empowering individuals to realize their potential. President/Founder and event moderator Tammy Nguyen Lee said, “Groundbreakers Speak was created to fulfill a need and is unlike most any other event that ATG does. It’s meant to be more intimate and engage with people on a personal level, to create meaningful conversation, provoke deep thought and spark serious leadership. We’re trying to give people a glimpse into who they can be and what we are capable of becoming as a community.”

It was a rewarding and memorable day for our speakers as well. Here’s what they are saying, as they continue to motivate and inspire others to go Against The Grain:

Former Dallas Cowboy and the first Vietnamese player in the NFL, Dat Nguyen: “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.”

Director of Education at The Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dr. Karin Oen: “Maybe part of our goals in our generation is to contribute and build to create visibility across the new border whether you choose to be in the arts or entertainment.”

Vice President of Programming, Brand Integration at HGTV and DIY Network, Kent Takano: “Be prepared for the opportunity… find something you really want to do, because if you didn’t enjoy doing whatever, you’re not going to be good at it.”

Founder and CEO of Fur Face Boy, Hai Mai: “I hope my words, thoughts and passions could make the slightest difference in someone’s life. I know that the words that everyone spoke of their life definitely sparked emotions for me.”

Emmy-nominated journalist, host and KHOU news anchor, Lily Jang: “What a wonderful experience to share, learn and inspire all at the same time. We all have a story.. and ATG Productions allowed me to tell mine. I’m grateful for this experience to be among some amazing trailblazers. Can’t wait to come back!”

Lawyer, advocate and politician, Richard Jung: “Instead of being afraid to lose face, be courageous enough to make a face and make face in the direction that you want.. because you have qualities and characteristics that are going to help you succeed.”

Founder of Baal Dan Charities, Tanya Pinto: “It was an honor to be part of this event as a panelist. The sheer talent and tenacity of the speakers featured is a testament to the achievements of the Asian American citizens of Texas!”

Video clips of each speaker will be available on ATG’s YouTube Page.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards an annual scholarship to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at over a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.


Words of Praise

“In a few words; it was one of the best speaking engagements I’ve attended; ‘Great life stories on self motivation and powerful accomplishments.’ – David Rico of BB&T Bank

“Uber Dallas wants to thank ATG for allowing us to be apart of this wonderful event. The Groundbreakers Speak event was truly an enlightening experience. From the beautiful setting itself to the panel discussion, all were able to get a deeper understanding of the issues past and present facing the Asian American community and the path to future growth. We look forward to future partnerships with Tammy and the ATG team!” – Leandre of Uber Dallas


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