Meet the Against The Grain Tribe

Against The Grain Productions is led by a Board of experienced, dedicated and passionate young Asian American professionals and community leaders. Together with an equally spirited and talented team of Ambassadors and Advisors, the Tribe represents a diverse group of advocates from various cultural backgrounds, of different ages and with unique perspectives, none of whom are paid – except in hugs and smiles. Our Production team is a collaboration of members from our own Tribe along with respected industry creatives. Click on an image below to learn more about each member.

2017 Board Members

  • Tammy Nguyen Lee
    Tammy Nguyen LeeCo-Founder/President, Producer

    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 her determination to give other Asian Americans a creative outlet, she also strives to raise awareness for Asian American issues and aid for worthy causes.

    A first generation Vietnamese American, she grew up a bit unconventional by nature, dedicating her free time to honing her skills in the performing and fine arts. She attended gifted and talented schools, graduating near the top of her class with a full International Baccalaureate diploma from Garland High School. She received a scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she studied abroad in Paris and graduated with honors with a B.A. in Cinema and double minors in French and Business. She later was accepted into the University of California – Los Angeles’ (UCLA) elite Producers Program, where she received her M.F.A. and became a twice-over Finalist in the Producers Guild-sponsored UCLA Marketplace competition. For her work in the arts, she has received several national scholarships and honors, including the Women In Film.Dallas College Scholarship and the Mickey Dude Diversity Fellowship. Her short films have screened at film festivals nationwide.

    A passionate, creative and innovative leader, she has been an active advocate, volunteer and speaker as a former Miss Asian American Texas and for such SMU groups as East Asian Student Association (President), Program Council (Films Chair), Asian Council (Secretary) and non-profit community organizations like Wilkinson Center, AIDS Resource Center of Dallas, Deep Ellum Film Festival, Asian American Professionals of Dallas (PA2), Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) – Los Angeles, Monster Diversity Leadership Program, Asian American Leadership & Educational Conference (AALEC), The Vietnamese American Center of Greater Dallas and The Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce. She previously served on the Women In Film.Dallas Board as Membership and Programs Co-Chair. She is a recipient of numerous scholarships and leadership honors, including the prestigious 2010 SMU Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award, given to an alumae/alumnus who has graduated within the past 15 years and brought distinction to the University. She was honored in 2012 by the National Association of Asian American Professionals (Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter) with a Leaders of Excellence Award. In 2015, the National Association Asian American Professionals inducted her into the NAAAP 100, an award nominated and voted upon by NAAAP Board and offered annually to the most influential leaders who have made significant contributions to their profession and the Asian community.

    Tammy produced and directed her first feature documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, an independent passion project that was released in 2009 and took nearly five years to produce. The film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film (Vietnamese International Film Festival) and the Documentary Audience Choice Award (Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival) and has screened at more than a dozen films festivals internationally.

    A seasoned actor, she has appeared in films, television, national commercials and print campaigns. 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. Now, as a working mom to two adorable daughters, Tammy’s focus is on her family, growing ATG and continuing to work as an actor, film/television producer and development consultant.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Daring to go bravely in the direction that no one else has. Forging a unique path apart from where others have gone. Standing steadfast and passionately to one’s own voice and beliefs.”

    Quote to live by: “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.” – Richard Bach, Illusions
    Sign: Aries/Horse
    Passionate about: Family, film, food, traveling and leading a life of meaning and purpose
    Favorite food: Soup, comfort food and street/fair food
    Can’t live without: My loves (especially my two daughters) and really good food
    Color Personality: True Blue/Action Orange

    Co-Founder/President, Producer
  • Vy Tran
    Vy TranTreasurer
    Vy Tran was born in Vietnam, raised in Iowa, and moved to Dallas in 2012. She is a graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Currently, she is the accountant at TAS Property Management. Since childhood, Vy and her family would always came back to their roots in Vietnam to team up with various charities to help out struggling schools and those in poverty. Since then, Vy has been a volunteer for YESS (Youth Emergency Services and Shelter), Easter Seals and the Boys and Girls Group of America.
    In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, working out, traveling and making others laugh.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? Going against the odds and becoming a impactful individual not in just one’s life but by making a positive difference in society.”

    Quote to live by: “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”
    Sign: Taurus / Ox
    Passionate about: Helping others
    Favorite food: Asian food
    Can’t live without: Family and friends
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Treasurer
  • Julianne Nguyen
    Julianne NguyenDirector of Community Outreach/Scholarships

    Julianne Nguyen is a graduate of the Baylor Law School in Waco, TX. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While at SMU, she was active in Asian Council, EASA, VSA and AALEC. She also helped to establish ASCEND, a student business organization on campus. At Baylor, she is involved in Diversity in Law and Asian Law Student Association. She is currently a practicing attorney in Dallas. Julianne previously served as ATG’s Secretary but has made contributions to the organization through her leadership overseeing our scholarship application and review process.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “To go outside the box, to go against stereotypes and expectations, to be fearless.”

    Quote to live by: “I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.”
    Sign: Pisces/Dragon
    Passionate about: Family & friends
    Favorite food: All types of Asian food, from pho to sushi to bibimbap and Italian
    Can’t live without: My cellphone
    Color Personality: Solid Gold

    Director of Community Outreach/Scholarships
  • Sharon Chan
    Sharon ChanDirector of Programming/Events

    Sharon Chan was raised in Carrollton, TX, and is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting with minors in Economics and Chinese. Sharon was a BBA Scholar and was awarded the President’s Scholarship at SMU – the highest academic merit award given by the University. During her time at SMU, she was active on campus and served as the Chair of the Asian American Leadership and Educational Conference (AALEC) and the President of the East Asian Student Association (EASA). In addition, she was active in Asian Council, was part of the Emerging Leaders Program, and studied abroad in Beijing, China and Paris, France. After graduating from SMU, Sharon attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Masters in Professional Accounting. Sharon currently works at Ernst & Young, LLP in Dallas, TX as an Assurance Associate. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with her family, friends and Meatball (her Yorkie).

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “To be an innovative thinker and to never be afraid to stand up for your beliefs and reach for your goals; To have the courage to explore new avenues and to always keep an open mind to all the possibilities around you.”

    Quote to live by: “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor” – Charles Dickens
    Sign: Aries/Horse
    Passionate about: Food and Traveling
    Favorite food: Anything Sweet
    Can’t live without: My Family and Friends
    Color Personality: Curious Green/Solid Gold

    Director of Programming/Events
  • Andrea Palladino
    Andrea PalladinoCo-Director of Fundraising

    Andrea Palladino has lived many glamorous lives as a pageant contestant, jewelry designer, model, mom and philanthropist. From 2004-2008, she volunteered, traveled and taught as a Chinese cultural ambassador for the Republic of Taiwan teaching traditional Chinese dance in Brazil, Guatemala, Canada and throughout the United States. Most recently, she served the Dallas community through Feed The Need, a division of Hunger Busters that works in conjunction with Eatzi’s to feed underprivileged children a third meal by volunteering on their organizing community for their annual golf fundraiser. She has participated in events with Hope Supply Company and sponsors children with Ark of Rainbow. Married to Dallas restauranteur Joe Palladino (Nick & Sam’s, Coal Vines, Dos Jefes), they have three beautiful children – Antony, Aria and and Roman. Last year, as a response to the Dallas Police tragedy, she and her husband hosted a dining event for the Dallas Police Department (to donate to the Guns and Hoses Foundation), raising over $300K in one night with less than a week of planning.

    What does Going Against The Grain mean to you:

    Quote to live by: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
    Sign: Gemini/Dog
    Passionate about: Food, family
    Favorite food:
    Can’t live without:
    Color Personality:

    Co-Director of Fundraising
  • Theresa Nguyen
    Theresa NguyenCo-Director of Fundraising

    Theresa Nguyen was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the first generation and first child born in the U.S. after her parents escaped Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon. Her parent’s inspirational story of sacrifice and perseverance has influenced every aspect of her life, and her mission has always been to help and make a lasting impact other people’s lives.  She has passed this story on to her two sons, Sam and Xander so that their grandfather’s legacy will live on for generations to come.

    Theresa became a nurse and obtained a Master’s degree in Nursing Informatics at New York University.  During the day, she works as an RN in healthcare IT. By night, she leads and mentors women who are seeking to build a lucrative online virtual business. Her passion is showing people that they can succeed, and that their circumstances do not define who they are or what they can achieve.  It is about self-love, self-confidence and self-worth.  She is also involved at her church as a Faith Formation Lead teaching first and second graders learn about their faith and help them grow to be loving, kind individuals.

    In her spare time, she loves to travel with her family, hang out with her girlfriends, bake cream puffs and banana bread, admire her vegetable garden, binge watch Netflix shows and play board games and cards games with her family.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Being courageous enough to trust your heart and your intuition despite what other people think.”

    Quote to live by: “Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.” Albert Einstein
    Sign: Aries/Dragon
    Passionate about: Building leaders
    Favorite food: Cheese and crispy french fries
    Can’t live without: Wine and eye cream
    Color Personality: Blue

    Co-Director of Fundraising
  • Vy Hoang
    Vy HoangSocial Media Coordinator

    Vy Hoang is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, Texas. She is currently majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with 4-8 Mathematics Teaching Certification. Although she is focusing mainly on mathematics for her academic studies, she was able to get introduced into Social Media Marketing in her senior year of high school by previously volunteering with Kollaboration Dallas as their Social Media Manager. She eventually built her way up to becoming Marketing Director for them as well. On occasion, she volunteers for SIVA Group as a Marketing Captain and Volunteer Base Leader for their Dallas concerts.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “To go against the norm and make an impression/impact.”

    Quote to live by: “So ask yourself, ‘Are we there yet?’ No. We’re never there. We always have to keep moving forward.” –Dumbfoundead
    Sign: Taurus/Rat
    Passionate about: Educating/enriching the future
    Favorite food: Sushi
    Can’t live without: My MacBook Air
    Color personality: True Blue

    Social Media Coordinator

2017 Ambassadors

  • Aivy Nguyen
    Aivy NguyenFounding Board Member/Ambassador (Social Media)

    Aivy Nguyen graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Business Marketing and a passion for advertising. She has been an active member in many Asian American student organizations, serving as an officer on the Executive Board for UNT’s Asian Student Association, Public Relations Director for the annual Asian Pacific American Empowerment Conference and as Regional Representative for the 2007 Vietnamese American Student Conference. She had the honor of being recognized as one of VANG’s 2007 Top 40 Vietnamese American Student Leaders. She formerly served as ATG’s Director of Marketing/Public Relations. Since graduating, Aivy has traveled back to Vietnam to continue efforts to aid various orphanages abroad and serves as a counselor at Vietnamese Culture Camps. She has worked at The Richards Group, Leo Burnett Worldwide and is now a Senior Digital Manager at Golin in Chicago.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “‘Going against the grain’ means being extraordinary and striving to be unconventional. It means to be a catalyst for change, whether that is within yourself or society.”

    Quote to live by: “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” – James M. Barrie
    Sign: Libra/Ox
    Passionate about: Learning
    Favorite food: Anything in the Chicago restaurant scene
    Can’t live without: Happiness!
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Founding Board Member/Ambassador (Social Media)
  • Jennifer Devany
    Jennifer DevanyAmbassador (Aid - Philippines)

    Jennifer Devany was born and raised in the Philippines by her grandparents before she joined her mother and new family in Dallas, TX at the age of eight years old. She was adopted by her step-father who became a monumental inspiration and mentor to her life and well-being. Simultaneously she took on the role as a big sister to her younger half-sister and half-brother who she grew to love and adore.

    With Jennifer’s step-father’s influence, she developed and honed in on her God-given gift to compassionately give and help others; to love the arts; to be a leader; and to impact her community. She is doing just that to this day. She has volunteered her time to children’s charities such as The Dallas Margarita Society, Love for Kids, the Police Athletic League of Dallas, and Big Thought. She has volunteered her time as an Ambassador for the Dallas Arts District, and the Green Bandana Group as part of her passion for the arts, music, and dance; and she has also volunteered her time with reTreet America in an effort to replant communities and bring awareness to riding bicycles.

    After obtaining her AAS at Colorado Technical University and pursuing her major in HR Management, Jennifer found her calling in Human Resources. Working for FGR Food Corporation and Kenexa, supporting UnitedHealth Group in the Human Resources department, aided in her desire to work not just in any HR field, but to work for a non-profit where she is impacting lives of others. This desire brought her to work with Methodist Health System (a non-profit hospital) where she obtained a position as HR Specialist, and was quickly promoted as Benefits Specialist. She is currently a Human Resources Generalist at Diagnostic Assessment Services.

    From 2008 through 2010, Jennifer traveled throughout Europe and some parts of The Middle East where she quickly got to know herself, where she was able to grasp the meaning of truly living life to its fullest and how huge of an influence different cultures shape people. During her stay in Germany, she befriended a local German/Filipino local, where they joined forces to raise awareness for German/American cultures and co-founded the German-American Women’s Club of Bitburg. The club is still going strong and just recently celebrated its six year anniversary. In addition, Jennifer started a wandergruppe (hiking group) in Bitburg, DE in an effort to get to know local Germans and learn about their culture, and vise-versa for them. In all that does, she sees the importance in others’ culture and to respect it. Lastly, to complete her stay in Germany, she and a few military friends participated in a salsa dancing performance during two culture events in Germany and The Netherlands.

    Upon returning to the U.S., a life changing event occurred that tested her friendships, her family, her strength, and her faith. She was diagnosed with a Psuedopapillary tumor and had a Whipple surgery on October 2010 where she remained in the hospital for approximately a month while she recovered. After her surgery, her outlook on life changed and she continued living her life helping others, assisting in making a difference, and living a holistic lifestyle. She has volunteered any of her spare time to helping the community. She also became a Pescetarian (fish vegetarian) that year of her surgery, and still continues to live that lifestyle today.

    Jennifer has served as ATG’s Secretary, Co-Director of Community Outreach, Co-Director of Programming/Events and now Ambassador. When she’s not working, she thoroughly enjoys mountain and road biking, and educating herself on God and leadership. Jennifer is a mother to a three year-old beautiful daughter, Valery.  With her involvement with ATG and other non-profits, she would like to be an example and leave a legacy to her daughter, just as her step-father had done for her.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Being comfortably uncomfortable with being and thinking deeper than the norm, pushing the boundaries, taking life to the edge, and questioning normalcy.”

    Quote to live by: “You can’t make footprints in sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time.” – Bob Moaward
    Passionate about: Faith, family, serving others, traveling, thoughts and ideas by others, writing, and my constant desire to want something more out of life.
    Sign: Gemini/Boar
    Favorite food: Anything Filipino to bring me back to my roots, Korean food, crab legs, sauteed garlic and onions (weird)
    Can’t live without: My family (particularly my daughter), my faith and outdoor sports
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Ambassador (Aid - Philippines)
  • Uyen Tran Chew
    Uyen Tran ChewAmbassador (Treasurer)

    Uyen Tran Chew was born and raised in Danang, Vietnam and came to the U.S. as an international student when she was 18 years-old. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s degree in Taxation. During her college years, Uyen was a volunteer tutor for the America Reads/America Counts program and actively participated in community service projects for the Vietnamese Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Dallas. She has also volunteered for the Asian Film Foundation of Dallas and filmAsia by the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Uyen is currently working at STMicroelectronics as a Tax Specialist. She has previously served as ATG’s Treasurer.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Having the courage to pursue what you love doing even if that means having to take bigger risks.”

    Quote to live by: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato
    Sign: Aries/Boar
    Passionate about: Family, travels and FIFA World Cup
    Favorite food: Sushi
    Can’t live without: My iPhone
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Ambassador (Treasurer)
  • Ivone Vu
    Ivone VuAmbassador (Treasurer)

    Ivone Vu was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in DFW. She graduated cum laude from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2008 with an MS in Accounting and Information Systems. Drawing from ten years of experience in public accounting as both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant, Ivone worked at the local CPA firm BDO before joining TravisWolff in her current position as a tax manager.

    With a passion for making an impact on children’s lives by helping them learn, Ivone has volunteered for the past ten years as a Sunday School teacher at a Vietnamese parish in Carrollton, working with students from ages five to nine.

    In her free time, Ivone likes to spend time with her husband, family and friends.

    Quote to live by: “I believe that everything happens for a reason…” – Marilyn Monroe
    Sign: Taurus/Rat
    Passionate about: Family and friends
    Favorite food:Anything carbs
    Can’t live without: My husband, family, friends, and my contacts
    Color Personality: Solid Gold

    Ambassador (Treasurer)
  • Nikki Duong Koenig
    Nikki Duong KoenigAmbassador (Outreach)

    Nikki Duong Koenig spent her early childhood immersed in Vietnamese culture before her family immigrated to Dallas, TX. As a kid, Nikki was passionate about art/fashion and was nurtured by her family to pursue all her creative endeavors. She attended the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU and received a B.A. in Advertising and Art. While in school, she was on the SMU national winning advertising team, Praxis, and was active in Asian Council, EASA and VSA.

    Upon graduation, Nikki jetted off to New York City to launch her career as an art director, working at global advertising agencies for blue-chip clients such as American Express, Coca Cola, Motorola and Verizon. All the while, she was attending FIT’s CEO Program, growing her business, volunteering and maintaining a long distance relationship. After her successful start in NYC, Nikki returned to Dallas to take her personal and professional life to the next level.

    She is married to her college sweetheart and recently left her career in advertising/marketing in 2013 to be devoted full-time as Owner/President of Cykochik Custom Handbags, the business she founded as a student from her dorm room at SMU in 2003.

    When she is not busy building her business or designing handbags, Nikki enjoys supporting the arts and philanthropic causes, traveling, painting/drawing and spending time with family and friends. Nikki formerly served as the organization’s Vice President and Director of Marketing/Public Relations.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “It’s a state-of-mind, being able to trust/follow my instincts and not second-guessing myself despite external obstacles or influences.”

    Quote to live by: “Just Do It” – Nike
    Sign: Taurus/Boar
    Passionate about: The Arts
    Favorite food: Vegetables
    Can’t live without: The Internet
    Color Personality: Curious Green/Action Orange

    Ambassador (Outreach)
  • Gauthami Vemula
    Gauthami VemulaAmbassador (Outreach)

    Gauthami Vemula is the Founder and Managing Partner of Color Me Safe, LLC, a family crisis consulting firm committed to protecting children and families of North Texas by offering guidance and solutions for child welfare and protection issues. Gauthami’s previous experience as a child abuse investigator and department manager at the Department of Child Protective Services made her realize that working with children and families was not just part of a job but more of a calling. She was one of only three investigators hand-picked from Dallas County for a special pilot program, the Skilled Response Team, that investigated more than 40 child abuse cases a month. She was also selected as one of the few in Texas to train new CPS Investigators. In addition to her work in the field, Gauthami was integral in co-authoring Dallas County’s policy and procedure handbook used by all CPS Investigators. She also helped to create a systematic method called ‘Tips, Tools, and Tactics,’ specifically utilized by newly trained CPS Investigators. After a decade of working within the system and becoming aware of its shortcomings, Gauthami invested her knowledge and expertise in founding Color Me Safe with the intention of bridging a connection between the families of North Texas and the CPS System. Now days, as a Child Welfare Consultant and activist, she passionately works towards raising awareness about child abuse/neglect and advocating for families going through child protection issues.

    Gauthami is actively involved in the community, serving on the boards and advisory boards of Hope’s Door and Empowering Women As Leaders. Gauthami serves as a mentor for high school girls at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. She is also the sponsorship secretary for HEAL, an international organization working to provide education and health care to children in poverty. Since 2002, Gauthami has been an active volunteer/teacher at Chinmaya Mission of DFW where she educates children and reinforces spiritual and cultural values. Gauthami also recently joined the Dallas Women’s Foundation XIX Society Steering Committee. Gauthami has a passion for music and loves to play and teach piano in her spare time. She recently completed a children’s book and awaits publication and is in the process of writing a new book. Gauthami also studies voice under opera singer/performer, Ronana Gales.

    In her spare time, Gauthami enjoys participating in a wide array of activities from dancing to blogging. Gauthami is the author of Wheatish Complexion.com; a blog that puts a satirical spin on being a first generation, Indian American woman balancing two different cultures. As an individual guided by her compassion and optimism, she hopes and strives for a commitment where all children are safe, healthy and provided a fair opportunity for a bright future ahead. Gauthami is also the recipient of the Dallas Women’s Foundation 2014 Maura Helping Women Award, which recognizes exceptional leaders who have have/are pioneering the way to improve lives for women and girls.

    As a panelist for the 2015 Groundbreakers Speak panel, Gauthami shared her personal story as a survivor of domestic violence, becoming one of the inspirations for Co-Founder/President Tammy Nguyen Lee to produce ATG’s latest social issue media project, Light of Day, which uncovers untold stories of domestic violence in the Asian community. Gauthami serves as an Advisor and is one of the survivors featured in the documentary. In 2016, she along with friend and ATG member, Renae Viratam, co-founded UGauGrrl, a brand of wearable inspiration t-shirts.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Going Against The Grain” means to defy convention to make room for innovation and progress, to forge one’s own path, to scale new heights and expand the horizon of what it means to be human.”

    Quote to Live By: “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
    Sign: Aquarius and Dragon
    Passionate About: Family, friends, travel, learning about different cultures, and my DVD collection of “Charles In Charge”
    Favorite Food: Whatever Mommy cooks and does not ask me to learn.
    Can’t Live Without: My baby nephew, oxygen and water, in that order (wink wink).
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Ambassador (Outreach)
  • Liz Nguyen Ho
    Liz Nguyen HoAmbassador (Programming/Events)

    Liz was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Houston, Texas. Now living back in Dallas with her husband and daughter, Liz works at Hewlett Packard under the Technology and Operations organization as the Business Applications Program Manager for Global Real Estate. Prior to her move, she worked at PCS-CTS as the PMO Director, where she was in charge of the program management group in Houston and heading the business development ventures for the company in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Latin America regions.

    With an experienced background in account management and customer support, Liz has portrayed a strong record in leadership and service. This experience was built on top of a solid education as a marketing and psychology major at Southern Methodist University. During college, she was active in various organizations including Asian Council, East Asian Student Association, Vietnamese Students Association, Student Senate, Student Foundation, Mustang Marathon (fundraiser benefiting pediatric AIDS) and Student Rep of the Students Affairs Committee for the Board of Trustees. She was awarded SMU’s most coveted recognition the “M Award,” which is given to students, faculty, staff and administrators in recognition of exemplary service to the University.

    When not working, she enjoys cooking, yoga, singing, goofing off with family and friends and volunteering as a martial arts instructor for Unified Tae Kwon Do. She has previously served as ATG’s Co-Director of Marketing/Public Relations and Treasurer. Liz is married to her college sweetheart Binh, has one daughter Elise and another soon on the way.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “If someone asks me what does it mean to ‘to against the grain,’ my first thought involves breaking boards in martial arts – you never want to hit against the grain because it is harder. In the context of the question, “to go against the grain” means to go outside the box, beyond conventional thinking, possibly outside your comfort zone in order to achieve above and beyond expectations. Standard practices set the current boundary of possibilities. To extend the boundaries and to remove the ‘im’ in impossible, you have to go ‘against the grain.’”

    Quote to live by: “Live everyday of your life to the fullest. Hope for the best to come and…Love every single moment of it.”
    Sign: Taurus/Dog Passionate about: My family + loved ones (Elite 10)
    Favorite food: Anything that tastes good… oohhh! Scallop Hand Roll at Sushi Sake
    Can’t live without: My iPhone & lip balm
    Color Personality: True Blue/Action Orange

    Ambassador (Programming/Events)
  • Vivien Rosal
    Vivien RosalAmbassador (Programming/Events)

    Vivien Rosal grew up in California and relocated to Texas 20+ years ago. She has a very diverse background from owning her own franchise business to coordinating fund raising events and promoting franchise’s brand name throughout the Dallas Metroplex.

    Vivien has a degree in Fashion Design and worked as a Pattern Maker for several years at the downtown historic fashion center in Los Angeles in the early ’90s. She also holds a degree in Business Administration with a background in MIS with a minor in Accounting.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “It’s to step out of my comfort zone to do the unthinkable and the impossible. We give to others what God has given to us. Everyone has a unique gift to make a difference in this world.”

    Quote to live by: “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be. Things turn out the best for people who make the best of the way things turn out. Do not let what you can do interfere with what you can do. It’s little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” (Peron Jones) Another favorite Quote: The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Anonymous.

    Sign: Capricorn/Boar
    Passionate about: Foodies and Travel
    Favorite food: Soups
    Can’t live without: Steam Rice
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Ambassador (Programming/Events)
  • Ann Chao Sheu
    Ann Chao SheuFounding Board Member/Ambassador (Legal)

    Ann Chao Sheu is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and a Master of Arts in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Most recently, she received her J.D. from Dedman School of Law, where she was a Sarah T. Hughes Scholar. During law school, Ann was inducted into the SMU Barristers Honorary Service Society, and she was also invited into the National Order of the Barristers. She was the Champion of the SMU 2L Moot Court Competition and the Regional Champion of the Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition.

    At SMU, Ann has served on the executive board of Asian Council, Student Senate, the Board of Advocates and the Association for Public Interest Law. She was also President of the National Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, President of the SMU Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and the Manager of Business Development of the SMUInternational Law Review.

    Ann has also been a volunteer for the Genesis Women’s Shelter and a counselor for a national suicide and crisis hotline. She has helped raise over $160k for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Bryan’s House in Dallas, Project Night Night and the March of Dimes. Additionally, Ann has served as ATG’s Director of Fundraising, Secretary and as an Ambassador.

    Before law school, Ann was an Enterprise Technology Consultant at Dell. Since then, she has worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Texas Attorney General, and both state and federal judges. Ann passed the bar in 2011 and is currently an Assistant District Attorney in Collin County where she heads up the Diversion Program.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, and she currently serves as a Director on the Board of the Dallas Asian American Bar Association and as the Chair of the Asian Pacific Interest Section of the State Bar of Texas.

    Ann enjoys traveling, yoga, scuba diving and traveling with her husband Sunny.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Following your heart, no matter what else is going on around you, and inspiring others to do the same. Forging a new path and persevering through so that others may have more opportunities.”

    Quote to live by: “Shoot for the moon, because if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars.”
    Sign: Sagittarius/Boar
    Passionate about: Family & friends, great food & wine, exploring the world, good music, relaxing on white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue water, the Dallas Cowboys and cooking
    Favorite food: Pastas, fries, ice cream
    Can’t live without: My iPhone and Gmail
    Color Personality: Solid Gold & Curious Green

    Founding Board Member/Ambassador (Legal)
  • Carol Nguyen
    Carol NguyenAmbassador (Graphic Design)

    Carol Nguyen is an alumnus of the University of North Texas where she earned a B.F.A. in Communication Design and B.B.A. in Business Marketing. Her work was showcased at the 2008 Dallas Society of Visual Communication National Student Show and she was awarded with a Fort Worth Addy in 2009. Carol has been in the professional design industry for 5 years, gathering experience from large agencies, smaller in-house companies, and local private businesses. She has gained much insight through working with diverse industries such as technology, education, oil & gas, medical, food, entertainment and beauty. Currently, she is a Creative Director at Mosaic Creative, located in the historic West End of Downtown Dallas.

    Carol’s interest in philanthropy have led to her involvement with several organizations. She is a member of the National Association of Asian American Professionals and volunteers with the Marketing team. She is also the Director of Marketing with Pros for Paws and serves breakfast regularly at the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. She helped to build and maintain the website for Blended Profit – an online resource promoting responsible business practices. Carol has previously served as ATG’s Graphic Designer and won the 2013 MVP Award for her dedication to the organization and outstanding team performance.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Going ‘against the grain’ means being proactive about change and carving out a path for yourself instead of following in the footsteps of others and waiting for change to occur.”

    Quote to live by: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22
    Sign: Gemini/Tiger
    Passionate about: Family, dancing, local music and great food
    Favorite food: Blue Bell Ice Cream and Nutella
    Can’t live without: MacBook
    Color Personality: Action Orange

    Ambassador (Graphic Design)
  • Annie Tran
    Annie TranAmbassador
    Annie Tran graduated from the University of North Texas in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, emphasizing in News Editorial/Print Media. Throughout her years in school, she realized her interests and passions submerged through writing. As a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Dallas NuPros, Annie is known as the person who would encourage her friends and family to support in the highest fashionable way. Annie was born and raised in Dallas and believes to uphold a high image of each company she has worked for, letting potential clients know what is offered.

    She hopes to travel the world and make a difference, since learning her family’s daily experiences while visiting Vietnam for the first time in 2011. Annie wants to focus on finding her very own career path and ATG has helped point her in the right direction. In her spare time, she enjoys R&R and exploring her hometown with friends and family. She has formerly served as ATG’s Director of Marketing/Public Relations.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Discovering your passion and being original in your chosen path.”

    Quote to live by: “Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”
    Passionate about: Writing – I believe any writer can impact any reader by expressing their true thoughts without any extreme boundaries.
    Sign: Capricorn/Rabbit
    Favorite food: Burgers and Fries – I’m an All Asian American girl!
    Can’t live without: Cable television

    Ambassador
  • Hue Pederson
    Hue PedersonAmbassador

    Hue Pedersen received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Texas. She served on the Board of Directors for ATG for several years in the roles of Director of Community Outreach, Director of Marketing/Public Relations and Secretary and Ambassador. Hue is a first generation Vietnamese American, uniquely raised in both an Asian American home and an Anglo American home. She spent the last year with her husband traveling the country in an RV and now keeps busy with her job as a Concierge at a luxury hotel in downtown Dallas.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Setting yourself apart. Doing what you feel is best. Being in control of your own thoughts and beliefs.”

    Quote to live by: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
    Sign: Aries/Rabbit
    Passionate about: Faith, family, health and fitness
    Favorite food: Breakfast and fruit smoothies
    Can’t live without: Love, beauty and sleep
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Ambassador
  • Yui Yud
    Yui YudAmbassador (Aid- Thailand)
    Ambassador (Aid- Thailand)

2017 Advisors

  • Aileen Nguyen
    Aileen NguyenFounding Board Member/Advisor (Aid - Vietnam)

    Aileen Nguyen has more than 20 years of progressive and wide-ranging domestic and international tax experience. She has previously worked at STMicroelectronics as Director of Tax, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. A Certified Public Accountant, she holds a Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of North Texas and is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas. She is currently a Senior Director of Tax at Borden.

    As a refugee and first generation Vietnamese American, she faced the struggles first hand that many new families face in a new country. She has been an avid supporter and contributor to the Vietnamese and Asian American community at large, helping with immigrant groups and planning events. She has volunteered for The Greater Dallas Vietnamese American Community, Wilkinson Center, Miss Asian American Texas Pageant, and Miss Ao Dai Dallas Pageant and has been an enthusiastic fundraiser and volunteer for orphanages and philanthropic causes.

    In addition to being a successful careerwoman, she is a dedicated mother of two. Aileen is a founding member of ATG and formerly served as the organization’s Treasurer. She now serves as their tax advisor and liaison/translator to orphanages in Vietnam.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “For me, ‘going against the grain’ is just pulling effort to do something that you know is the right thing to do, whether you like doing it or not.”

    Quote to live by: “Kindness is a language that the dumb can speak and the deaf can hear and understand.”- Christian Nevell Bovee
    Sign: Aries/Rooster
    Passionate about: Helping people, classical music Favorite food: Sushi and pho
    Can’t live without: My socks
    Color Personality: Solid Gold/Curious Green

    Founding Board Member/Advisor (Aid - Vietnam)
  • Lisa Tran
    Lisa TranAdvisor (Aid - Thailand)
    Lisa Tran currently serves as the Director of the SMU Cox School of Business Career Management Center.  In her role, she overseas a team of career coaches and support staff as well as teaches career management courses for undergraduate and MBA students. In addition, she builds and maintains relationships with corporations who are looking to hire SMU business students for full-time and internship opportunities. Prior to joining SMU 5 years ago, Lisa worked at Harvard Business School (HBS). Before her career in education, she worked as a buyer in retail, first at JCPenney and then at Neiman Marcus.
    Lisa received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and minor in Chinese Studies from SMU and Master of Education in Higher Education at the University of North Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cycling, yoga and traveling. She has completed several endurance races such as marathons and triathlons and has traveled to all seven continents. She is a devout Catholic with 13 years of Catholic education, which led to her passion and dedication for living a life of servant leadership.
    Lisa lives in Dallas, TX and is married to Jimmy Tran, her college sweetheart, and has 2 daughters, Lila (3.5), Livia (1.5) and a son on the way (due May 2016).
    What does “Going Against The Grain” mean to you? “Going ‘Against The Grain’ is to have the courage to try something new without the fear of failure.”
    Quote to Live By: “Love begins at home and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put into action” – Mother Teresa
    Favorite Food: Pho
    Passionate About: Faith, family, and health
    Can’t Live Without: Exercise
    Color Sign: Gold
    Advisor (Aid - Thailand)
  • Thear Suzuki
    Thear SuzukiAdvisor (Aid - Cambodia)

    Thear Suzuki is Managing Partner of Ernst & Young’s Advisory Services business for the Southwest Region. She provides advisory services to Fortune 500 companies across a wide range of industries, including Energy, Healthcare, Retail/Consumer Products, and Telecommunications/Media/High Tech. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Thear led Accenture’s US Advanced Systems Delivery Practice, an organization of over 500 technologists focused on technology delivery. Within EY, Thear serves on the Americas Advisory Women’s Leadership Steering Committee, a task force focused on the retention and advancement of women to the Executive Director and Partner level. She also serves on the Americas Inclusiveness Advisory Council, a collective think tank and action tank that drives action and progress within the business. Thear is an Executive Sponsor for the Dallas Pan-Asian Professional Network.

    In the community, Thear serves on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that believes that when you invest in a woman, there is a ripple effect that benefits her family, her community and her world. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Dallas Chapter of Back On My Feet, a national for-purpose 501(c)3 organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living. Thear is a Senior Advisor for the Dallas Chapter of the National Association of Asian-American Professionals, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders.

    A Biomedical Engineering graduate of SMU, Thear gives back to her alma mater through the SMU James E. Caswell Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program Steering Committee. Thear has been recognized in Forbeswomen.com, Working Mother’s Magazine, The Little PINK Book, Diversity Inc., and featured in a book by Anne Doyle called Powering Up! How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders. Thear is a NAAAP 100 award recipient, a prestigious award that recognizes leaders who exemplify NAAAP’s vision and mission. She is also a winner of Consulting Magazine’s “Women Leaders in Consulting Future Leader” award. Thear lives in Plano, Texas with her husband Eric and their four sons Zachary, Ryden, Mason and Alex.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Having the courage to go for it, even when you feel like you’re not quite ready.”

    Quote to live by: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa
    Sign: Aquarius
    Passionate about: Leading with purpose
    Favorite food: Anaconda roll at Edoko
    Can’t live without: My family

    Advisor (Aid - Cambodia)
  • Stephen Tan
    Stephen TanAdvisor (Aid - The Philippines)

    Stephen G. Tan is an ordained minister and currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Grace Christian Church in Manila, Philippines. He graduated summa cum laude from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Master of Theology and given the J. Dwight Pentecost Award in Bible Exposition. Under his spiritual leadership, Grace Christian Church has grown to be the largest Chinese church in the Philippines. Stephen has spoken at conferences and churches throughout North America and Asia and is a guest lecturer at several seminaries and Bible colleges. He has served as a Bible Teacher on tours of Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Stephen serves on several boards including NGOs like Wycliffe Philippines.

    Stephen previously worked as a management consultant for Deloitte and Touche USA. He graduated cum laude from SMU in Dallas, with Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. He received the “M Award”, the highest award and honor given by the university. Stephen is ethnically Chinese, born in the Philippines, but grew up in the United States. He is married to his beautiful wife, Cindy, and they have 3 children: Andrew, Nathan, and Janelle.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? Living out an authentic, transparent life and staying true to your convictions. This may require going against conventional wisdom and the acceptance majority view.

    Quote to live by: “Treat others as you would want them to treat you” – Jesus Christ
    Passionate about: Food & Traveling
    Favorite food: I pretty much love ALL foods!
    Can’t live without: My Family
    Color Personality: Solid Gold/Curious Green

    Advisor (Aid - The Philippines)
  • Jared Rehberg
    Jared RehbergFounding Board Member/Advisor (Adoptee Relations)

    Jared Rehberg is a Vietnamese Adoptee born in Saigon in 1974. After nine months at An Lac Orphanage, he came to America on Operation Babylift. Jared is an Associate Producer on the documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam. He currently lives in New York City.

    Jared is a member of the International Adoptee Congress and the Vietnamese Adoptee Network (VAN). A passionate singer/songwriter, he released a CD in 2002 titled “Waking Up American,” sharing the stage with Kevin So at Club Passim in Boston and Angela Ai at The Cutting Room in New York City. His music has touched the hearts of those who have attended Asian culture camps (Catalyst Foundation, Colorado Heritage, FCVN of Boston and Holt International) and benefit concerts (Adopt-A-Minefield). He speaks on adoptee panels at adoption conferences and adoption agencies (Spence-Chapin) and has performed for VAN (Luke Wing Asian Museum), Also-Known-As, Children Homes Society and Family Services, New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington Center of Adoption and Families with Children from China in New York. He is a Co-Founder of the international adoptee e-magazine In Third Space. Jared has been interviewed on NPR (Crossing East) and appeared on PBS (Asian American) and ImaginAsian TV (Finding My America). He was also interviewed in Adoptive Families, MAVIN, Tieng Magazine and BN Magazine.

    Jared is a founding ATG Board Member and has previously served as Director of Marketing/Public Relations and Direct of Community Outreach. He has served as Camp Director for Colorado Vietnamese Heritage Camp in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. He is currently a Sales Operations & Marketing Research Manager for SpinMedia, Inc. www.jaredrehberg.com

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Believing that I can make a difference in this world. Breaking the mold, knocking down walls, bringing my own imagination and possibility within me to life.”

    Quote to live by: “Seize the day.”
    Sign: Leo/Tiger
    Passionate about: International adoption and music
    Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
    Can’t live without: Family and friends
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Founding Board Member/Advisor (Adoptee Relations)
  • George Lee
    George LeeCo-Founder/Past Advisor

    George Lee is a graduate of The United States Military Academy at West Point. He served in the Army as a Ranger qualified Captain for several years. While in the Army, George held several leadership positions, including leading a platoon as part of OPERATION INTRINSIC ACTION in Kuwait in 1996, as well as working in Planning and Operations coordinating Missions for Battalion size units. Upon completion of his military service, he became a Manufacturing Engineer responsible for both current product lines and new product development for BancTec Technologies. While at BancTec, he participated in their “Reading to Kids” program, being a mentor to a local elementary school. George spent nearly ten years as an executive at OraPharma, (formerly a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and Valeant Pharmaceuticals) and is currently the Director of Client Operations at AmerisourceBergen.

    Having grown up in a small southern town in South Carolina, George participated in several community service projects to include working with the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind as a youth. He experienced the challenges of being from the only Korean American family in his community. From the parallels in his own life, he took an interest in the experiences of the Babylift adoptees and in promoting Asian American identities and became an executive producer and camera operator on Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam. He is a founding member of ATG and formerly served as the organization’s Vice President, combining his operations, logistics and even entertainment experience to execute events such as Fashion for a Passion and Cocktails for a Cause. He is married to ATG Co-Founder/President Tammy Nguyen Lee, and they have two daughters, Gabriella and Austen.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “It means fighting your way through the strong currents of a lifeless existence.” Quote to live by: “Hoo-ah!” – Army battle cry

    Sign: Pisces/Rat
    Passionate about: Gadgets, fashion
    Favorite food: Korean
    Can’t live without: My iPhone
    Color Personality: Curious Green

    Co-Founder/Past Advisor
  • Shirley Yu
    Shirley YuFounding Board Member/Past Advisor

    Shirley Yu graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Professional Accounting. In college, she was actively involved with several student organizations, including the Asian Culture Committee, a student union committee sponsored by the University to promote multi-culturalism and diversity on campus. As an officer of ACC, Shirley chaired various programs and served as a liaison to other campus organizations. In 1997, she co-founded PA2 – Asian American Professionals of Dallas, a non-profit group for young Asian Americans in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to network and develop leadership skills. In 2003, PA2 merged with another young professionals group to form Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) Dallas, where she served as Treasurer, Membership Chair, and as an advisor on the Steering Committee. Shirley is a licensed CPA in the state of Texas. In her career, she has worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young LLP and held various positions in audit and finance at both Verizon and Nortel. She is currently employed by McKesson as the Director of Finance – Billing and Contracts Services. She is also a founding ATG Board Member and formerly served as the organization’s Secretary & Vice President.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Doing something that is unexpected and out of the ordinary.”

    Quote to live by: “The most important things in life aren’t things.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo
    Sign: Capricorn
    Passionate about: Family and Texas Longhorns football
    Favorite food: Dumplings
    Can’t live without: Television…I’m a TV junkie!
    Color Personality: True Blue/Solid Gold

    Founding Board Member/Past Advisor
  • Justin Hung
    Justin HungFounding Board Member/Past Advisor

    Justin Hung has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt.

    Since college, Justin has been actively involved as a leader in many Asian American causes and organizations. He is the past president of the Asian Business Students Association (ABSA) at UT Austin, National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) of Houston Chapter and the Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) of Dallas. He previously served on the founding Board of Directors for ATG as Director of Community Outreach. He served as President/Founder of the JCPenney Asian American Group (JAAG), one of the first Employee Resource Groups in the company. In 2008, he graduated with the Epsilon Class of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce (GDAACC) Leadership Tomorrow program.

    For nearly 15 years, Justin Hung worked in Indirect Procurement at JCPenney, supporting areas of marketing, IT, store fixtures, building construction/equipment, logistics and services. Justin’s work experience includes project management, strategic sourcing, process improvement, system implementation, organization development, industry analysis and spend analytics.  He is currently a Manager Process Engineer at Transamerica Life Insurance Company.

    Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Justin is married to his beautiful wife, Anna and has two adorable young girls, Sienna and Audrey.

    Quote to live by:  “Eliminate distractions, create energy, fear nothing and attack everything.”
    Sign: Taurus/Rabbit
    Passionate about: Good movies
    Favorite food: Sushi
    Can’t live without: iTunes Music Library

    Founding Board Member/Past Advisor

Light of Day Production Team

  • Tammy Nguyen Lee
    Tammy Nguyen LeeCo-Founder/President, Producer

    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 her determination to give other Asian Americans a creative outlet, she also strives to raise awareness for Asian American issues and aid for worthy causes.

    A first generation Vietnamese American, she grew up a bit unconventional by nature, dedicating her free time to honing her skills in the performing and fine arts. She attended gifted and talented schools, graduating near the top of her class with a full International Baccalaureate diploma from Garland High School. She received a scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she studied abroad in Paris and graduated with honors with a B.A. in Cinema and double minors in French and Business. She later was accepted into the University of California – Los Angeles’ (UCLA) elite Producers Program, where she received her M.F.A. and became a twice-over Finalist in the Producers Guild-sponsored UCLA Marketplace competition. For her work in the arts, she has received several national scholarships and honors, including the Women In Film.Dallas College Scholarship and the Mickey Dude Diversity Fellowship. Her short films have screened at film festivals nationwide.

    A passionate, creative and innovative leader, she has been an active advocate, volunteer and speaker as a former Miss Asian American Texas and for such SMU groups as East Asian Student Association (President), Program Council (Films Chair), Asian Council (Secretary) and non-profit community organizations like Wilkinson Center, AIDS Resource Center of Dallas, Deep Ellum Film Festival, Asian American Professionals of Dallas (PA2), Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) – Los Angeles, Monster Diversity Leadership Program, Asian American Leadership & Educational Conference (AALEC), The Vietnamese American Center of Greater Dallas and The Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce. She previously served on the Women In Film.Dallas Board as Membership and Programs Co-Chair. She is a recipient of numerous scholarships and leadership honors, including the prestigious 2010 SMU Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award, given to an alumae/alumnus who has graduated within the past 15 years and brought distinction to the University. She was honored in 2012 by the National Association of Asian American Professionals (Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter) with a Leaders of Excellence Award. In 2015, the National Association Asian American Professionals inducted her into the NAAAP 100, an award nominated and voted upon by NAAAP Board and offered annually to the most influential leaders who have made significant contributions to their profession and the Asian community.

    Tammy produced and directed her first feature documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, an independent passion project that was released in 2009 and took nearly five years to produce. The film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film (Vietnamese International Film Festival) and the Documentary Audience Choice Award (Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival) and has screened at more than a dozen films festivals internationally.

    A seasoned actor, she has appeared in films, television, national commercials and print campaigns. 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. Now, as a working mom to two adorable daughters, Tammy’s focus is on her family, growing ATG and continuing to work as an actor, film/television producer and development consultant.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Daring to go bravely in the direction that no one else has. Forging a unique path apart from where others have gone. Standing steadfast and passionately to one’s own voice and beliefs.”

    Quote to live by: “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.” – Richard Bach, Illusions
    Sign: Aries/Horse
    Passionate about: Family, film, food, traveling and leading a life of meaning and purpose
    Favorite food: Soup, comfort food and street/fair food
    Can’t live without: My loves (especially my two daughters) and really good food
    Color Personality: True Blue/Action Orange

    Co-Founder/President, Producer
  • Trevor Hyslop
    Trevor HyslopProducer/Editor

    Trevor Hyslop is a multi-talented producer/editor currently employed with Roll With It as a Senior Editor with over 15 years of industry experience. His career path began in the San Francisco Bay Area and has since taken him to Los Angeles, Austin and now Dallas, where he currently lives with his wife and their two little children. Along the way, Trevor has amassed a mad editorial skill-set that has enabled him to thrive in the world of broadcast design, web & tv, corporate/industrial, fashion, art and music videos.

    He also makes killer martinis. And can beat-up a ninja… With his Wacom stylus pen.

    His clients have included Amazon.com, Banana Republic, CBS Radio/TV, The Disney Music Group, ESPN, Interscope Records, Mary Kay, McAfee, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, MTV, Microsoft and Target to name a few. Trevor has also worked with top agencies such as Publicis & Hal Riney, Ogilvy & Mather and Peterson Milla Hooks. He previously worked with ATG’s Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee while they were working on development pitch sizzles for cable networks and their similar styles created a natural partnership after. Trevor has been ATG’s Fashion for a Passion Highlight Video Producer/Editor since nearly the beginning and now joins the production team of Light of Day.

    Producer/Editor
  • Travis Petty
    Travis PettyDirector of Photography
    Travis Petty is the Founder and Director of Photography at Shine 49 Media House and specializes in brand and product promotion and marketing, branded entertainment and television development/production and . He has worked on projects for national brands including Frito Lay, Gold’s Gym, Shiner Bock, NAPA, Budlight, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, the Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber. As for TV, you’ve seen his work on A&E, Travel Channel, TLC, HGTV, Style Network, History Channel, MTV, BBC and more.
    Travis loves creating incredible media that empowers his clients to rise above their competition and truly shine in their marketplace. He has been creating exceptional motion-media and still photography projects for over 18 years. His personal drive and pure, God-given talent has been the heart of every project he has touched. Travis’ desire is to improve the status quo in production and commercial photography to drive Shine 49 Media House and the clients he works with to higher and higher levels of success each and every day.
    Longtime industry colleagues and friends with Tammy Nguyen Lee, Travis has helped shoot several past Fashion for a Passion events and now joins the production team of Light of Day as a Director of Photography.
    Director of Photography
  • Luisa Mendoza
    Luisa MendozaDirector of Photography

    Luisa Mendoza received her Bachelors of Communication from St. Louis University in 1993. She moved to Texas in May of 1996 to attend the Art Institute of Dallas and received her Associate’s Degree in Video Production in September of 1997.

    Upon graduation from the Art Institute, Luisa was hired at AMS Pictures (then AMS Productions), quickly working her way up to Senior Director of Photography as well Production Department Lead. Over her 17 years at the company, her projects went on to win Telly Awards, including a “Best Documentary” win at the USA Film Festival for The Power of Harmony: The Story of the Turtle Creek Chorale (2005).

    Luisa became a full-time freelance DP in May of 2013, building a successful career shooting documentaries, commercials, corporate videos and reality TV projects for NFL Films, HGTV, Animal Planet and Discovery.

    A respected colleague of President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee and one of the few female Directors of Photography in the industry, Luisa is honored to join the production team of Light of Day.

    Director of Photography
  • Trilina Mai
    Trilina MaiAnimator

    Trilina Mai is an artist and undergraduate student at Long Beach State University in Southern California, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Animation. She is a member of the Society of Student Illustrators and Animators (SOSIA) and has participated in their annual 24 Hour Animation Contest. Her numerous artistic achievements include earning the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Certificate, Silver Key Award for Scholastic Art and Writing, the First Place award at the Cypress Youth Juried Art, and visual Arts Award for the Friends of Cypress Cultural Arts (F.O.C.C.A.). Her student animation film was a finalist in the 2015 SoCal Student Film Festival, and “Best Animated Picture” at the 2015 Cypress College Film Festival. Alongside being a successful student, Trilina is a freelance artist and takes commissions on her free time on of her most prominent public commissions was the design of the logo and semi-trailer wrap for the cypress High School Marching Band preceding their appearance in the 2015 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Trilina was a past ATG Artistic Scholarship Finalist and joins the Light of Day team as an animator.

    Animator
  • Thoa Nguyen
    Thoa NguyenArtist/Production Assistant

    Thoa Nguyen is an Austin, Texas-based art director, designer, and painter for a variety of media and spaces. She has a background rooted in fine arts and communications (film production), and holds a Bachelor of Science in Radio/Television/Film from The University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication. The breadth of her work includes: production designing and dressing film sets, designing a high-end shop window display, painting theatrical scenery, digital art/graphic design, and traditional studio art painting. She is constantly in pursuit of growing as an artist and working on socially conscious projects whenever possible. She believes that as a species, we all have something to contribute for building a more compassionate world. Thoa is a former ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner and joins the Light of Day production team as an Artist and Production Assistant.

    Artist/Production Assistant
  • Renae Virata
    Renae VirataMarketing & Public Relations

    Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Renae Virata is the daughter of immigrant parents who left the Philippines in the mid-1970s to pursue a better life for their family. Sandwiched between an older sister and younger brother, she and her siblings were surrounded by old-world stories told in Tagalog as well as Filipino meals that connected them to their heritage. A Gemini to a “T,” she has always pursued some form of communication and creative outlet, playing the piano, writing short stories and entering numerous drawing and design contests.

    Renae attended Vanderbilt University from 1998 to 2002, where her Asian American heritage set her apart from a majority of the student body. It was during her time there that she became more active in learning about, helping to promote and participating directly in Asian American awareness and culture. She held numerous leadership roles across campus, including secretary then president of the Asian American Student Association, Vice President of the Alpha Delta Gamma National Fraternity chapter at Vanderbilt, a resident adviser and a freshman orientation leader.

    After graduating with a degree in the Communication of Science, Engineering and Technology, she worked in a variety of fields and industries, first as an assistant buyer at Foley’s Department Stores in the young designer area, then as an award-winning sales consultant at CareerBuilder.com and finally, today, as the founder and president of her own marketing firm revXmktg. No matter what role she filled, Renae continued to find opportunities both in her jobs as well as outside the office to hone her writing and creative skills.

    Renae previously served and made enormous contributions as ATG’s Director of Marketing/Public Relations and Vice President and is currently an Account Executive at Creative Circle and Co-Founder of UGauGrrl.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Doing things differently from what you are expected to do or how you have always done them. That can be as simple as choosing a different entrée from your favorite restaurant or as complex as leaving a strong career to go out on your own. I have done both and every measure of going against the grain in between. Life is just more exciting when you expand your horizons and take a leap of faith to follow your heart, despite what others around you may say.”

    Quote to live by: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Sign: Gemini/Monkey
    Passionate about: traveling, writing, fashion, staying active, learning new things, helping bring out the best in people, going against the grain 🙂
    Favorite food: Mangoes, ice cream, dark chocolate with almonds, mac ‘n’ cheese, my mom’s kare-kare and a Filipino dessert called turon (can you tell I have a sweet tooth?)
    Can’t live without: God, my family, my boyfriend, my friends, my dogs, my journal, manicures and massages
    Color Personality: Action Orange

    Marketing & Public Relations
  • Gauthami Vemula
    Gauthami VemulaAmbassador (Outreach)

    Gauthami Vemula is the Founder and Managing Partner of Color Me Safe, LLC, a family crisis consulting firm committed to protecting children and families of North Texas by offering guidance and solutions for child welfare and protection issues. Gauthami’s previous experience as a child abuse investigator and department manager at the Department of Child Protective Services made her realize that working with children and families was not just part of a job but more of a calling. She was one of only three investigators hand-picked from Dallas County for a special pilot program, the Skilled Response Team, that investigated more than 40 child abuse cases a month. She was also selected as one of the few in Texas to train new CPS Investigators. In addition to her work in the field, Gauthami was integral in co-authoring Dallas County’s policy and procedure handbook used by all CPS Investigators. She also helped to create a systematic method called ‘Tips, Tools, and Tactics,’ specifically utilized by newly trained CPS Investigators. After a decade of working within the system and becoming aware of its shortcomings, Gauthami invested her knowledge and expertise in founding Color Me Safe with the intention of bridging a connection between the families of North Texas and the CPS System. Now days, as a Child Welfare Consultant and activist, she passionately works towards raising awareness about child abuse/neglect and advocating for families going through child protection issues.

    Gauthami is actively involved in the community, serving on the boards and advisory boards of Hope’s Door and Empowering Women As Leaders. Gauthami serves as a mentor for high school girls at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. She is also the sponsorship secretary for HEAL, an international organization working to provide education and health care to children in poverty. Since 2002, Gauthami has been an active volunteer/teacher at Chinmaya Mission of DFW where she educates children and reinforces spiritual and cultural values. Gauthami also recently joined the Dallas Women’s Foundation XIX Society Steering Committee. Gauthami has a passion for music and loves to play and teach piano in her spare time. She recently completed a children’s book and awaits publication and is in the process of writing a new book. Gauthami also studies voice under opera singer/performer, Ronana Gales.

    In her spare time, Gauthami enjoys participating in a wide array of activities from dancing to blogging. Gauthami is the author of Wheatish Complexion.com; a blog that puts a satirical spin on being a first generation, Indian American woman balancing two different cultures. As an individual guided by her compassion and optimism, she hopes and strives for a commitment where all children are safe, healthy and provided a fair opportunity for a bright future ahead. Gauthami is also the recipient of the Dallas Women’s Foundation 2014 Maura Helping Women Award, which recognizes exceptional leaders who have have/are pioneering the way to improve lives for women and girls.

    As a panelist for the 2015 Groundbreakers Speak panel, Gauthami shared her personal story as a survivor of domestic violence, becoming one of the inspirations for Co-Founder/President Tammy Nguyen Lee to produce ATG’s latest social issue media project, Light of Day, which uncovers untold stories of domestic violence in the Asian community. Gauthami serves as an Advisor and is one of the survivors featured in the documentary. In 2016, she along with friend and ATG member, Renae Viratam, co-founded UGauGrrl, a brand of wearable inspiration t-shirts.

    What does going Against The Grain mean to you? “Going Against The Grain” means to defy convention to make room for innovation and progress, to forge one’s own path, to scale new heights and expand the horizon of what it means to be human.”

    Quote to Live By: “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
    Sign: Aquarius and Dragon
    Passionate About: Family, friends, travel, learning about different cultures, and my DVD collection of “Charles In Charge”
    Favorite Food: Whatever Mommy cooks and does not ask me to learn.
    Can’t Live Without: My baby nephew, oxygen and water, in that order (wink wink).
    Color Personality: True Blue

    Ambassador (Outreach)

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