From Events

Celebrating Asian American Talent for a Cause at ATG’s 9th Annual Fashion for a Passion

Photo | Kathy Tran

Nov. 29, 2017 (DALLAS) – Fashion for a Passion presented by Audi Dallas (title sponsor) gave guests from all over the Dallas community a fresh take on Asian American fashion, music and art at its 9th annual event on Nov. 11 at new venue sixty five hundred. Through sponsorships, ticket sales, live and silent auctions, a raffle and additional donations, more than 350 glamorous guests gathered together to raise more than $30,000 net, all of which benefit the mission of Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based non-profit, with its supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarship fund and community outreach programs for 2017.

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Announcing the 2015 Fashion for a Passion Designer Line-Up

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Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the presenting designer line-up for its 7th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event presented by Audi Dallas, taking place Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 for Parties in Dallas’ Design District. Handpicked by the ATG board, these designers represent an exciting mix of backgrounds, Asian American origins and design aesthetics.

“We are excited to host our 7th annual event at a fabulous new venue, 7 for Parties on Nov. 7th along with seven amazing designers. We really feel the energy of that lucky number and are preparing for an exciting show that will delight our audience,” said Against The Grain President and Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “We have a number of returning Asian American designers showing their new lines as well as a few new designers, plus a few surprises up our sleeve – all coming together to bene fit the causes we support.” Read more

#FFAP2014: Introducing Our Musical and Now Dance Performers!

Fashion For a Passion LogoDALLAS, TX – Dallas non-profit Against The Grain Productions proudly announces the performing artists for its much-anticipated Fashion for a Passion charity event. The celebration of Asian American talent, ranging from Filipino to Korean and Singaporean to Thai Americans, will kick off with musical performances by three Kollaboration Dallas artists and, for the first time, a dance performance by a 2014 Against The Grain Artistic Scholarship winner.

The 2014 Fashion for a Passion Featured Performers include:

  • Heart & Hero
  • Jonavi
  • Andrew Yun
    • Lizzy Tan

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Sixth Annual “Fashion for a Passion” Announces 2014 Designer Line-Up

 

Seven Designers to Feature Exclusive Creations

Saturday, November 1 

2014 FFAP Promo

DALLAS, TX – Against The Grain Productions has selected seven emerging and established Asian American designers to join their elite roster of Presenting Designers at their upcoming Fashion for a Passion charity event, one of Dallas’ hottest must-have fashion tickets and charity events of the fall season.  Now in its sixth year, the evening showcases the talent of Asian American artists and springboard for careers, while serving as a place to bring together the entire community to celebrate up and coming talent and raise money for a worthy cause. Designers have launched careers with the event, including Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, who started as a UNT graduate and within a few short years has since gone on to be featured in Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, went on to win the title of Texas’ Next Top Designer and is now carried in Belk. The event benefits ATG’s supported orphanages, scholarships for student artists and leaders and community outreach programs to inspire, educate and entertain the community. Read more

Female Game Changers Gather at 3rd Annual Groundbreakers Speak

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DALLAS, TX – Seven game-changing female Asian American leaders gathered to share personal stories about their paths to success at Against The Grain Productions’ 3rd Annual Groundbreakers Speak event on Saturday March 2, 2014, hosted at The Crow Collection of Asian Art. Despite the blustery weather conditions, guests packed into the museum’s main gallery to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine, coffee and art before settling in to listen to each speaker’s TED-inspired personal presentation around this year’s theme: “Game Changers: Playing to Win.” 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 providing mentorship and inspiration, 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”:

Manager of eSports at Blizzard, Kim Phan: “DO what makes you passionate instead of thinking about what makes you passionate. The rest will follow. And remember the words of George Eliot, ‘It is never too late to be what we might have been.’”

Manager of Entertainment Diversity Initiatives for NBC, Grace Borrero Moss: “I am so honored to be included in such an incredible group of strong and successful women.  Listening to everyone’s stories and engaging with other young Asian Americans who are, themselves, making waves in their respective fields is really empowering.  I now feel even more motivated and energized to make an even stronger impact in my field.  Events like these and organizations like ATG are at the forefront of making breakthroughs within the Asian American community.”

Senior Reporter at KERA, Doualy Xaykaothao: “We must remember to continue building bridges across diverse communities, whether via social media or right in your own neighborhoods. A morsel of new information can have great impact in our lives, in our universe. And don’t forget, service to the public is possibly one of the greatest gifts you can give.”

Managing Partner of Ernst & Young, Thear Sy Suzuki: “I left the event inspired and energized!  The connections made were priceless.  Thank you panelists, guests, ATG and The Crow Collection of Asian Art for your authenticity and willingness to share your stories.”

Award-winning Children’s Book Author/Illustrator, LeUyen Pham: “If this amazing panel of women were anything to judge by, I think I came away with one conclusion that I feel certain of:  To succeed as each of these women have, it takes not just brains and passion, but immense courage.  I was honored to be among them, and hope that my story of how I achieved my own dreams will affect someone else, no matter to what small degree.  All change starts with something small.”

Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation, Cynthia Yung: “It was great to hear from strong Asian women who are changing the stereotypes of model minorities.  Being quiet and obedient may make you invisible but not immune to unfair treatment.”

Lawyer, Advocate, Executive Director and General Counsel of The Asian Resource Group, Inc., Lesley Varghese: “No shortage of inspiration at Against the Grain Productions and the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Grateful to Tammy Nguyen for a unique opportunity to meet a few of the most dynamic Asian American women in the country, surrounded by mind-blowing art like “China Porsche!”

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

Read the Asia World Media Coverage.

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

“A surprise Dallas snowfall on the afternoon of Sunday, March 2nd, set the tone for an equally unpredictable and fascinating afternoon at the Crow Collection of Asian Art. I found myself hanging on every word from each expert speaker, and their surprising stories echoed through my mind long after I returned home. The obstacles they had overcome! The talents they possessed! The goals they had marked, achieved, and surpassed! Not only were the panelists’ experiences in life and careers remarkable from a groundbreaking Asian American perspective, but they sparked a drive within me to maximize my potential as a modern working woman. Kudos to ATG Productions, and I look forward to the next Groundbreakers event.” – Lisa Petty, Editor, DFW Style Daily

“My first experience at Groundbreakers Speak last year helped to forge a new relationship between ATG, NAAAP and Dallas Women’s Foundation. This year the experience confirmed exactly why it is imperative for all women to embrace their individual stories for the collective good of women everywhere. The dynamic women who shared their stories not only inspired me to embrace my personal journey but they reminded me why female ‘gamechangers’ are valuable and relevant. Women and girls should strive to take on careers and opportunities that challenge the status quo. ATG Against the Grain Productions’ Groundbreakers Speak definitely embodies that message.” – Akilah Wallace, Dallas Women’s Foundation

“ATG’s Groundbreakers Speak this year was so wonderful with strong inspiring women paving the way to success through leadership. We are so grateful to be a part of this annual event!” – Dii Kim, Founder/Owner, Pho is for Lovers

“Thanks to Tammy and the entire ATG team!  It was a tremendous honor and thrill to get to know each of you.” – Sylvia Komatsu, EVP | Chief Content Officer, KERA/KXT

“So BLESSED to be in this audience and experience this panel!  Each offered such insights and knowledge of what it takes to be a FEMALE game changer.” – LeeAnne Locken, TV Host/Actress/Author

“So honored that I had the opportunity of attending an Against the Grain event hosted by the remarkable Tammy Nguyen. The wealth of talent in the room was unmeasurable. Every single guest can contest to walking away from the flawless event being inspired, motivated, and driven to DREAM BIG.” – Yasmeen Tadia, CEO & Founder, Fluffpop

“So inspired to be surrounded by brilliant, powerful Asian American women leaders who are passionate about their careers and fostering the dreams of women around them.” – Karen Liu Pang, Director of Business Administration and Process Effectiveness, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

“Congratulat[ions on] a successful event. The panelists were impressive, informative and a lot of fun. I am glad that we could be a partner and host.” – Jill VanGordon, Director of Education, Crow Collection of Asian Art

 

Female Groundbreakers Unite at Crow Collection to Share Stories of Inspiration and Motivation

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DALLAS, TX – Building on the overwhelming response from the last two years,  non-profit Against The Grain Productions once again partners with The Crow Collection of Asian Art to host the 3rd 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. This year features an all-female panel for the first time speaking under the theme, “Female Groundbreakers: Playing to Win.” The family-friendly event takes place from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Sunday, March 2nd at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. At 1:00 pm, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of Asian art, a reception of wine, coffee and dessert preceding the event, then listen as the speakers share their insightful stories, engage in a panel of heavy hitting issues affecting the Asian American community and chat with the panelists in one-on-one round table conversation. Tickets range from $15-$25 and are now on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/Events.

Introducing the 2014 Groundbreakers Speak Panelists:

kim-phan-sqKim Phan – Kim is a passionate gamer, producer and community figure in the video game industry. She is currently Senior Manager of eSports at Blizzard Entertainment and is known for her love, passion and dedication in the competitive and professional gaming scene. She was born and raised in Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. Before joining Blizzard, she worked as a software engineer for six years at companies such as Alcatel USA and Garrett Electronics. What started out as a hobby later turned into a professional career for Kim when she accepted a job at Blizzard Entertainment in 2006.

All of the community work for video games opened a new door for Kim, when Blizzard Entertainment invited her to shoutcast their Warcraft III tournament at BlizzCon in 2005. The following year, she was offered a production job at Blizzard to work on their Online Technologies team, and she continued to moonlight as a Warcraft III shoutcaster at BlizzCon and Blizzard Worldwide Invitational events. She has also taken on roles as a host, interviewer and reporter for DIRECTV at BlizzCon events. Kim’s positions at Blizzard included production leader and manager of a security development team, and today, she leads the Blizzard eSports team. She followed her passion, devoted her time doing what she loved and landed the job of her dreams.

“I am very grateful and honored to be a guest panelist at the Groundbreakers Speak and even more geeked out that I get to represent the gaming community! I hope to inspire others with my story and have the audience walk away learning and knowing more about eSports.”


grace-moss-sqGrace Borrero Moss – Grace currently serves as the Manager of Entertainment Diversity Initiatives for NBC. In this role, she helps oversee multiple programs that focus on discovering, cultivating and showcasing talented writers, directors and actors of diverse backgrounds, with the objective of getting them staffed on NBC’s scripted programs. Before coming to NBC, Grace was the Manager of Development & New Series at the Style Network, where she oversaw new series in production, from initial pitch to delivery. She was instrumental in developing hit shows such as Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, Ruby, Giuliana & Bill and Jerseylicious.  Grace was also part of the internal Diversity Council and worked with other cable nets to promote initiatives and track diverse talent in front of and behind the camera.  Prior to her stint at the Style Network, Grace worked as a Producer and Director on a plethora of unscripted shows on a variety of networks, including MTV, VH1, TLC and NBC.

Grace has been actively involved with numerous organizations, including Asian Pacific Americans@NBCUniversal, where she served as a Chapter Leader and Professional Development Co-Chair, and Filipinos in Hollywood, where she acts as the Co-Chair. She participated in the Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) 2012 Rising Leaders Program and the National Association of Multiethnicities in Communications (NAMIC) 2011 Leadership Seminar. She also won Comcast’s Ingenuity Award in 2008 for her contributions to the Style Network.  Grace is also a member of the Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and Visual Communications, where she has contributed as a panelist in their annual C3 Conference.

Grace graduated from UCLA with a BA in English and Minor in Asian American Studies. She also was the founder of the Pilipino Organization of English majors (POEM) and recipient of the Royal Morales Prize in Pilipino Studies.  Grace currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband.

“By being invited to participate, it means that I’m making an impact and blazing a trail for other Asian American women in the entertainment industry.  I hope my story inspires people to pursue their dreams, even if the cards have historically been stacked against them.  TV is a very competitive business, so it’s vital that we support each other and push for programs that grant us equal access and fair opportunities.


doualy-xaykaothao-sqDoualy Xaykaothao – Doualy is Senior Reporter at NPR affiliate KERA in Dallas. She covers breaking news in North Texas and produces cultural features for the station. Before she joined KERA, she was a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio in Asia, based in Seoul, South Korea. There, she covered news out of both Pyongyang and Seoul, including the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and the suicide of former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun. She started out at NPR in Washington, D.C. back in 1999, working as producer, editor, director and reporter for NPR’s award-winning programs. Xaykaothao is Hmong American, born in communist Laos, but raised in France and the U.S. Her name, Doualy, means “Shadow of the Moon.”

“I think people need to remember that there are Groundbreakers all around us, people who are living and doing things different from what was imagined by our parents, grandparents or those in our community. I’m behind a mic because I like the challenge of writing a story, fast and producing a sound-rich piece with only two and half minutes. If that sounds crazy, wanting to live with that kind of pressure, and deadlines every day, then maybe that’s what makes me a ground-breaker!  Figure out what you want at this moment in your life. I’m not talking about life goals. I’m talking about the present, the now, what’s around the corner? If you stay focused on that, by the end of the year, you’ll have accomplished more this way, than trying to figure out what you want in five years. And make sure you’ve got cheerleaders, a circle of men and women who will stand by you, during your worst and best moments.”


thear-suzuki-sqThear Sy Suzuki – Thear 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, Health, Retail/Consumer Products and Telecommunications/Media/Technology. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Thear led Accenture’s US Advanced Systems Delivery Practice, an organization of over 500 technologists focused on delivery of technology solutions.

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/Principal 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 Back On My Feet Dallas Chapter, 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 2013 “Women Leaders in Consulting Future Leader” award.

Thear’s humble beginnings as one of five siblings of war refugee parents moving between refugee camps during the Cambodian genocide, until she and her family were sponsored by the Catholic church in Dallas and brought them to the US when she was eight.  These were formative experiences directly responsible for the self-reliance, resilience and persistence that have made her a successful business advisor today. Thear lives in Plano, Texas with her husband Eric and their four sons Zachary (11), Ryden (10), Mason (7), and Alex (3).

“I’m very excited to be in the company of other Asian American leaders and I hope that collectively we can ignite passion in the audience and spur them into action. ”


leuyen-pham-sqLeUyen Pham – LeUyen is an award-winning author/illustrator of nearly sixty children’s books.  Her books include “God’s Dream,” written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the New York TimesBestselling series “Freckleface Strawberry,” written by Julianne Moore, “Grace for President” by Kelly DiPucchio, the Alvin Ho Series by Lenore Look and “The Boy Who Loved Math” by Deborah Heiligman, to name a few.  She also co-illustrated (with her husband Alex Puvilland) the New York Times Bestseller “Templar,” a 450-page graphic novel written by “Prince of Persia” creator Jordan Mechner.  Her books have garnered numerous awards, including the Society of Illustrators Bronze Medal, the Junior Library Guild recipient, Parent’s Magazine, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio award, among others.  Prior to illustrating books, LeUyen began her career at Dreamworks Feature Animation as a layout artist.  LeUyen lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two adorable young boys, Leo and Adrien.

“It is an amazing time right now to be an Asian American woman, particularly in the artistic and literary landscape.  I think there’s a real hunger to hear all our stories, of our successes as well as our hardships.  I hope the audience will take away the sense that our stories have real value, and need to be shared with the world”


cynthia-yung-sqCynthia Yung –  Cynthia currently serves as Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation, a resource for social change. In this role, she is responsible for identifying and recommending grants for nonprofit organizations that focus on supporting programs which advance equity for women and girls, improve quality of life for children and promote environmental stewardship.

Cynthia also serves on advisory boards for The Real Estate Council Community Fund and Texas Women Ventures and steering committees for the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative and Commit! Early Childhood Council. More than a decade of volunteer work on international mission trips and serving on nonprofit boards have paved the way for Ms. Yung’s transition from the corporate world to the nonprofit world.

A Telecom industry veteran, her previous corporate career includes roles in sales, strategic marketing, manufacturing operations and finance for Nortel Networks. Ms. Yung earned a Chartered Professional Accountant designation at Ernst & Young and a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Canada.

“I am excited to be with female Asian leaders who continue to forge into new territory and own what it means to lead with heart and mind.  Each of our journeys are unpredictable, no matter how much we may want to plan, and that can be a source of delight.” 


lesley-varghese-sqLesley Varghese – Lesley is Executive Director and General Counsel of the Asian American Resource Center, Inc. (AARC Inc.), a community-­based 501(c)3 organization formed in 2006 to support the construction and operation of the Asian American Resource Center facility. She is also a Lecturer at the University of Texas in Asian American Studies and law.

Lesley is a proud UT Longhorn and a law graduate of American University, where she was a Dean’s Fellow in Law & Government, a member of the Moot Court Honor Board and president of the South Asian Law Student Association. She began her legal career at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore in Austin, Texas. During that time she participated on the Citizen’s Review Panel for the Office of the Police Monitor, provided pro bono representation to area non-­profits through Texas C-­BAR, and served as Chair Elect of the State Bar of Texas Asian Pacific Interest Section. Lesley subsequently practiced at the international law firm of Nixon Peabody, LLP, where she co-­‐founded the Firm’s South Asia practice and co-­chaired the Law & Policy Committee for the Boston Bar Association Bankruptcy Section. During her tenure as co-chair, the Law & Policy committee, in partnership with others, successfully lobbied the Massachusetts legislature to amend the state’s historic homestead and personal property exemptions, to better stabilize low-­income families in bankruptcy.

Lesley is the immediate past President of the North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA) Foundation, which funds and develops nationwide legal initiatives in the areas of domestic violence, civil rights/hate crime, immigrants’ rights and community access to justice. She has been recognized for her community legal work by the Pro Bono College of Texas and with a Peabody Award for outstanding pro bono legal service. Lesley currently serves as Chair of the UT Center for Asian American Studies Advisory Committee, on the Board of Directors of the Boston Higashi School, and the Board of Trustees for the Long Center for Performing Arts. In 2013, she was a YWCA Women of the Year Nominee, a recipient of the Capital Area Progressive Democrats “Kick Ass Award”, an AARC Asian Image Awardee, and the recipient of a teaching award from the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. She is a recent recipient of the IACT Trailblazer Award and the Capitol Area Asian American Democrats Advocate of the Year Award.

“Women make up more than half the talent and human capital available to any society. We need to be at the decision-making table, whether we’re talking about equal pay and opportunity, public education, technology or healthcare. Asian American women – in particular-  are an untapped legal, economic and political force. I am thrilled to join a terrific group of women to discuss our possibilities and to share my experiences advocating for the AAPI community nationally and in Texas. Many thanks to ATG Productions for making this year’s unique panel a reality.”


kim-phan-sqSylvia Komatsu (Welcome Remarks)- Sylvia is Executive Vice president and Chief Content Officer for North Texas Public Broadcasting, a not-for-profit public media organization that serves the people of North Texas through programming on KERA TV, KERA WORLD, KERA FM, KXT 91.7, Art&Seek and online and mobile resources.  She began her career as a reporter for a nightly news analysis program.  Over the next several years, she produced and executive produced documentaries and specials on a wide range of social, political and cultural issues.  She now oversees a content division that includes radio, television, digital media and educational services.

“I hope the audience leaves inspired and energized after hearing the stories of these remarkable women.”


tammy-nguyen-leeTammy 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, Tammy’s focus is on her family, growing ATG and continuing to work as an actor, film/television producer and development consultant. She is married and has two beautiful daughters, Gabriella and Austen.

“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.”  


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.

WHAT: ATG Against The Grain Productions hosts 3rd Annual “2014 Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation of Movers and Shakers” panel
WHO: Kim Phan – Senior Manager of eSports at Blizzard,  Grace Borrero Moss – Manager of Entertainment Diversity Initiatives at NBC, Doualy Xaykaothao – Senior Reporter for KERA, Thear Sy Suzuki – Managing Partner at Ernst  & Young, LeUyen Pham – Award-winning Children’s Book Author/Illustrator, Cynthia Yung – Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation, Lesley Varghese – Attorney/Activist, Executive Director  and General Counsel at Asian American Resource Center, Inc., Welcome remarks by Sylvia Komatsu – Executive VP/Chief Content Officer at KERA, Moderated by Tammy Nguyen Lee – ATG President/Founder, Film/TV Producer, Actor and Philanthropist
WHERE: Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St. Dallas, TX 75201
WHEN: Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 from 2:o0 PM – 4:30 PM
2014 Groundbreakers Speak Flyer

Fashion for a Passion No. 5 Marks New Milestone

DALLAS, TX – Non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions hosted its annual charity event Fashion for a Passion No. 5 on Saturday, Oct. 12th at The Dallas Contemporary Museum in the Dallas Design District. The show was attended by 365 guests who helped to raise $35k, which will go toward for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, scholarship fund and year-round outreach programs.

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Entering the Dallas Contemporary, guests got to enjoy the ambiance set by Lumiere Lighting & Drapery and music by DJs Super T, tasty bites by Royal Catering, sips by Ben E Keith and dessert by Sugarbee Sweets Bakery. Hung from the rafters with red rope hangers were the eight designers’ t-shirt design pieces. The work of eight Exhibiting Artists – Jody Pham, Trung Vuong, Kathy Tran, Cameron Lee Phan and ATG Artistic Scholarship winners DJ Wang, Grace Kwon, Xiaoye Jiang and Catherine ‘Kit’ Zauhar’s were displayed, flanked by tables of fabulous silent auction packages. Pre-show Musical Performers from ATG’s community partner Kollaboration Dallas included Kassy Levels, Mijee Park, J.O and Y.O!, as well as a special performance by ATG Artistic Scholarship winner Kendyl Ito. The show kicked off with a surprise ensemble performance. As guests took their seats, President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee, Community Outreach Directors Jared Rehberg and Hue Dao Miner and 2012 Artistic Scholarship winner Thoa Nguyen honored the two 2013 Artistic Scholarship winners who were present at the event, showing videos of gratitude from the ones who were unable to be present in person.

Copyright by Ivy Do
Copyright by Ivy Do

“It was a special, emotional and wonderful milestone night, and we could not have done it without the efforts of so many who were willing to devote the necessary money, time and talent to making this event happen,” said President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “It is no small feat that an organization like ours can continue to pull off an event of this caliber and magnitude consistently year after year. I’m tremendously proud of our team and sincerely grateful to all who have helped our cause.”

First time attendee and 2013 Kollaboration Dallas winner Kassy Levels gave it her all, staged a fantastic set and enjoyed every minute of FFAP. “It was definitely a classy event! The scene was an incredible display of art, talent and fashion,” said Levels. “I am proud to say I was part of FFAP No. 5 not just because of the event, but more importantly, the organization that directly benefits the event.”

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Musical entertainers and exhibiting artists shared their love and support to ATG President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee and the Board for all their hard work to get FFAP where it is today.

Kendyl Ito expressed her thanks to ATG for recognizing her as a scholarship winner and musical performer. “Thanks so much ATG! It truly is an honor to be an Artistic Scholarship winner, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the ATG community now. You all inspire me everyday and give me the extra push to continue in my artistic endeavors! Be bold and always live life ‘against the grain.’”

“As a musician and artist myself, I’ve done my fair share of performances. Still, FFAP was a more precious experience than most; in that it was an event supporting aspiring artists follow their dreams. I’ve never felt more blessed and honored to be part of an event,” performer Mijee Park said. “Seeing people come out to not only socialize but support so many different artists, communities and causes were amazing. It shows that ATG is being proactive which is something that we desperately need in this world, in order to better ourselves and do better onto others.”

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Exhibiting Artist Kathy Tran attended the event and realized how much effort and opportunities ATG has provided for audience and volunteers to mingle. “I was exhilarated to be a part of the event with other artists of all forms. I had the opportunity to connect with quality people of the Asian community in Dallas…I was home!”

The evening was emceed by actress/model LeeAnne Locken and CBS 11 Morning News Reporter Elizabeth Dinh, who engaged the audience from the start with lively banter and humor. In honor of the anniversary, even the catwalk was shaped in a “5.” Beautiful models from Page Parkes Management, Dragonfly Agency and Campbell-Wagner Runway strutted off the diverse collections of eight Presenting Designers, including Nikki Duong Koenig of Cykochik Custom Handbags paired with Vera Wang’s Viviona swimwear, Kim PhamBecky Hollands, Danh Ta, Cac Lam of Cac DeMode, Texas Next Top Designer winner Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang and Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses.

Copyright by David Loi
Copyright by David Loi

Returning designers expressed their appreciation to the show for helping getting them positive label exposure, as it has for FFAP success story Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh.

“Against The Grain’s FFAP was a successful event not only to help me launch my career as a designer, but also to spread support for education in Asian American communities and to provide funding for orphanages in Asia,” designer Danh Ta said. “This is why I chose to return and participate as a veteran designer. ATG has been a true inspiration pushing me to accomplish more as a designer while in turn helping to raise awareness for those who are less fortunate.”

Copyright by Ivy Do
Copyright by Ivy Do

Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses closed the show and said, “FFAP is always a highlight of the year for me. It’s so great to work with such passionate people while doing something we love and giving back to a great cause. The event itself was so fabulous, it seems like ATG somehow make every year a unique experience that is way different than their previous shows. I can’t wait for next year.”

Copyright by Chi Tran
Copyright by Chi Tran

First time presenting designers expressed humble gratitude for being selected to showcase their work for Fashion for a Passion and awe at the show’s production value.

Becky Hollands has been eager to participate in her first Fashion for a Passion and has made the goal to return again in the future. “This year marked my first year and I am so grateful and honored for the opportunity to chase my dream and in doing so, utilizing my time and talent to celebrate the Asian American community alongside artists and musicians to promote opportunities for scholarships, funds and raise money for orphanages in Asia. ATG has given me the opportunity, the voice and the extra push in taking the plunge to pursue my dream as a fashion designer and launching my own label.”

“ATG put together a great pack of designers,” said Vera Wang. “All the designs were strong and refreshing…Viviona Swimwear is proud to be part of it.”

Each presenting designer donated at least 2 pieces to be auctioned for charity live. Additional auction pieces were given by FFAP veteran Nha Khanh, Dora Yim, Ann Hoang by Ann Hoang, Le Dragon d’Or and Watters. The night’s top bids were for a black racer back wool peplum top with embellishments and black wool flared pant by Nha Khanh, a 18K White Gold with Diamonds “Handcuff Necklace” from The Bound Collection by Le Dragon d’Or and a “Vega” ivory textured organza wedding gown by Watters.

Copyright by Chi Tran
Copyright by Chi Tran

To see photos from the evening’s event, please visit the ATG Flickr site, with photos courtesy of David Loi, Chi Tran and Ivy Do.

The non-profit will launch a $10k social media holiday fundraising campaign starting November 1st, to help reach its annual goal and a record of $50k raised in one year, 100% of which will go towards the next year’s giving budget for orphanage aid, scholarship funds and outreach programs.

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 giving out an annual scholarship to exemplary Asian American students pursuing a degree in the arts, they also 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.

2013 Fashion for a Passion No. 5 Words of Praise

Photo courtesy of David Loi
Photo courtesy of David Loi

2013 was landmark year for Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions, who recently hosted its 5th annual Fashion for a Passion charity event. A unique evening, Fashion for a Passion brings the community together to celebrate emerging Asian American fashion designers, artists and musicians as a platform to promote up and coming talent. This year’s event was hosted at Dallas Contemporary, attended by 365 guests and raised nearly $35,000 for ATG’s supported orphanages in Asia, artistic and leadership scholarship funds and outreach programs.

Read some of this year’s reviews:

FFAP is always a highlight of the year for me. It’s so great to work with such passionate people while doing something we love and giving back to a great cause. The event itself was so fabulous, it seems like ATG somehow make every year a unique experience that is way different than their previous shows. I can’t wait for next year. – Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses, Presenting Designer

I cannot express my gratitude and admiration for ATG and Fashion for a Passion as an organization and group of people. My brand “Lucy Dang” was launched officially with ATG and it has been an amazing 3 years for us professional since our debut. I truly believe by being a part of this charity and helping contribute to this amazing cause, we were blessed tenfolds. – Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang, Presenting Designer

Against The Grain’s FFAP was a successful event not only to help me launch my career as a designer, but also to spread support for education in Asian American communities and to provide funding for orphanages in Asia. This is why I chose to return and participate as a veteran designer. ATG has been a true inspiration, pushing me to accomplish more as a designer while in turn helping to raise awareness for those who are less fortunate. – Danh Ta, Presenting Designer

This year marked my first year, and I am so grateful and honored for the opportunity to chase my dream and in doing so, utilize my time and talent to celebrate the Asian American community alongside artists and musicians to promote opportunities for scholarships funds and raise money for orphanages in Asia. ATG has given me the opportunity, the voice and the extra push in taking the plunge to purse my dream as a fashion designer and launching my own label. – Becky Hollands, Presenting Designer

Thanks to everyone for making it such a fabulous event. I would love to work with ATG in the future. – Vera Wang of Viviona, Presenting Designer

Thanks so much ATG! It truly is an honor to be an Artistic Scholarship winner and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of the ATG community now. You all inspire me everyday and give me the extra push to continue in my artistic endeavors! Be bold and always live life ‘against the grain.’ – Kendyl Ito, 2013 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner

It was definitely a classy event! The scene was an incredible display of art, talent and fashion. I am proud to say I was part of FFAP No. 5 not just because of the event, but more importantly the organization that directly benefits the event. – Kassy Levels, Musical Performer

It was so great experiencing the ATG event and performing for it. Everything was well organized and put together on a “next level scale.” Being involved and seeing the true passion of Tammy and her crew’s hard work was really what made the show so great. The models, designers, art and music artist were all on point. I’m just happy we got to perform for the fashion show. Definitely going to be there next year! Thank you, Tammy! – Josh Osgood & Anthony Young of J.O. & Y.O.!, Musical Performer

As a musician and artist myself, I’ve done my fair share of performances. Still, FFAP was a more precious experience than most; in that it was an event supporting aspiring artists follow their dreams. I’ve never felt more blessed and honored to be part of an event. Seeing people come out to not only socialize but support so many different artists, communities and causes were amazing. It shows that ATG is being proactive which is something that we desperately need in this world, in order to better ourselves and do better onto others. – Mijee Park, Musical Performer

I was exhilarated to be a part of the event with other artists of all forms. I had the opportunity to connect with quality people of the Asian community in Dallas…I was home! – Kathy Tran, Exhibiting Artist

It has been my honor to be a part of such a worthy cause again this past year. – Dr. Sam Lam of Lam Facial Plastics and Ova Skin Care, Year-Round Sponsor

It’s all about the kids. Keep up the good work. – Ace Kham of Copy HQ, Year-Round Sponsor

I am privileged to be involved with Against The Grain as it continues to organize wonderful events as a platform for rising Asian Americans and donate all its net profit to orphanages in Asia and creating scholarships for students seeking degrees in the arts. – John Ting, Esq. of Law Office of John Ting

Against The Grain’s Fashion for a Passion showed off some very talented young designers and singers whose donations along with the audiences support helped raise money for a great cause. Having never attended an event like this, I was impressed with the entire production which involves so many people donating their time to make this event a success. – Jeff Lanscek, Portfolio Administrator of Baldrige Asset Management, VIP Guest

The ATG Fashion Show was a fun and fashionable event with an array of talented artists. It was a great way to mingle with local designers and see their beautiful designs, all while benefiting a great cause. – Valerie Huggard of Senior Accountant at SEI, VIP Guest

FFAP No.5 was an incredible milestone event which I am incredibly proud and humbled to have been a part of as a board member and a presenting designer for Cykochik Custom Handbags. Everyone came together for ATG’s cause and produced another high-caliber event. I am inspired and moved by all the talents involved! – Nikki Duong Koenig, Presenting Designer

I have had the privilege of show casing my collection with ATG since the launch of the very first Annual Fashion for a Passion, and it is heart warming to watch how the show and the organization as a whole has evolved over the years. She show has become such a spectacle every year and provide platforms for emerging designers like me to further our careers. I admire ATG so much for their dedication to better the community, and truly appreciates the opportunity to use my talents to support such a great cause. – Kim Pham, Presenting Designer

Even though I did not physically attend the event, it was an honor to participate and have my work be a part of the show! The work ATG does is truly exceptional. – Xiaoye Jiang, 2013 ATG Scholarship Winner

Fashion for Passion no. 5 was my third year of supporting for this great cause. I am so honored to be a part of it and very happy that I could be able to contribute to the cause. I am so proud of how everyone came together, supported, and worked so hard to make the event became another successful year. I am looking forward for next year event with bigger progress, bigger success. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of an amazing cause – Cac Lam, Presenting Designer

Pictures from the event can be viewed on the ATG Facebook Page or ATG Flickr Page, courtesy of David Loi, Chi Tran and Ivy Do.

See highlights from D Magazine.

Read DFW Style Daily’s Coverage by Heather Lettieri.

Read Asia World Media’s Coverage by Anthony Tran.

For more press/media information on the event, please contact Elizabeth Dinh or Annie Tran at pr@againstthegrainproductions.com.

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 giving out annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student leaders and those pursuing a degree in the arts, they also 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.

Asia World Media: The Fusion of Fashions for a Honorable Cause

http://www.asiaworldmedia.com/main/archives/5360

When Fashion, Art and Music are merged together, what do you get?

FFAP5 from Asia World Media

Fashion for a Passion : a show entering it’s 5th year as a supportive venue for young Asian-American artists, musicians and fashion designers.  Hosted by Against the Grain Productions, the show features a diverse group of artists  of Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Japanese descent.  On October 12thin the Dallas Contemporary in the Dallas Design District,  a carefully selected group of fashion designers, artists, and musicians showed off their work, including local vocalist Kassy Levels and fashion designer Nikki Duong Koenig (Cykochik). Though musicians such as  Mijee Park, and Kendyl performed  for the audience, fashion design lead the show.

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The idea of creative fusion sparked younger Asian American who participated in the show. Designers featured were Vera Wang (Viviona), Kim Pham, Becky Hollands, Danh Ta, Jerry Matthews (Nine Muses), Cac Lam (Cac Demode) and Hanh Dang (Lucy Dang). Among the designs were a line of beautiful, sexy and edgy skirts  by Nine Muses, which focuses on sophistication for women’s clothing. Some Fashion for Passion attendees were lucky enough to take home designer dresses by the FFAP designers.  One woman took home a wild, leopard print dress by Ann Hoang.

But Fashion for a Passion is not just about promoting artists. The profits made from the show go toward Asian orphanages , non-profit organizations and scholarships

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Through past funds, Fashion for a Passion was able to award five artistic scholarships to students who pursued the fields of fashion, music, and Contemporary Art Saturday night. Among the recipients was Catherine ‘Kit’ Zauhar , a film and television production major from New York University.

”I’m really excited to be going to Fashion for a Passion, because I am obsessed with all things fashion, and this will be my first time getting to go to such an event,” Said Zauhar.

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Other recipients were Kendyl Ito (Sacramento, CA), Catherine “Kit” Zauhar (Philadelphia, PA), Grace Kwon (Tigard, OR), Dih Jiun “DJ” Wang (Virginia Beach, VA), and Xiaoye Jiang (Minneapolis, MN).

Overall, the 2013 Fashion For A Passion  show raised awareness and money for orphanages in Asia and provided a safe haven for the young and upcoming generations of Asian American artists to express themselves.

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“Each year, Fashion for a Passion is painstakingly planned down to the finest details in an effort to create a quality platform that promotes a new generation of young and exciting Asian American artists and to bring the community together.” said Tammy Nguyen Lee, the  President and Founder of ATG.

For more information about Against the Grain Productions, visit http://www.againstthegrainproductions.com

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Photo Courtesy of Luwan Hy (Cam Cam)