From Groundbreakers Speak

Asian American Leaders “Go All In” During Sin City Leadership Panel

Groundbreakers Speak Panelists
Photo | Thao Nguyen for NAAAP

DALLAS (Aug. 30, 2016) – Dallas-based nonprofit Against The Grain Productions once again joined the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) at their national conference, this time in Las Vegas, to present their 5th Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers and Shakers on Aug. 13. Taking place at Caesars Palace, the event featured Asian American leaders speaking on their motivating personal stories to success. Each panelist gave a TED-inspired presentation, answered a lightning round of questions by ATG President and Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee and joined audience members for one-on-one intimate group conversations. NAAAP President Fabian De Rozario opened, remarking, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…but not in this case. Take the inspiration and learning here outside of Vegas and share it with your family and friends.”

Against The Grain Announces 5th Annual Groundbreakers Speak Panel

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July 13, 2016 (DALLAS) – Dallas-based nonprofit Against The Grain Productions will host their 5th Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Movers and Shakers at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in the Emperors Ballrooms I & II in partnership with the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) at the NAAAP National Convention on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. This signature community event will bring together a diverse panel of remarkable Asian American industry leaders who will share their inspiring personal stories and paths to success.

To kick off the panel discussion, NAAAP National President Fabian De Rozario will provide introductory remarks. President/Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee will moderate the panel saying, “We are thrilled to partner with NAAAP again to bring this inspirational event to a national platform of leaders. This year’s convention theme of “Going All In: Lead with Courage!” speaks to the spirit of many trailblazers and appropriately to all the superb panelists that we have selected to share their stories.”

General seating tickets are $25 and student tickets with valid ID are $15 and will be on sale now through Aug. 12 at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/Groundbreakers.

Introducing the 2016 Groundbreakers Speak panelists:

joey guilaJoey Guila – If laughter is medicine, comedian Joey Guila has your prescription. This San Francisco native brings happiness to any event just as long as you don’t pay him in rolls of nickels. A complete entertainer who takes you through a journey of Old School and New School, his multi-cultural style of comedy hits home for all audiences.

Before comedy, he was a licensed cosmetologist working at the Jose Eber Salon in Beverly Hills and voted “Most Macho Eyebrows.” He still laughs at the fact that he was the only straight Filipino hairdresser on Rodeo Drive. In 2003, Joey won the regional “Kings of Comedy” competition run by Latham Entertainment, the founder of “The Original Kings of Comedy,” which includes Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Steve Harvey. Joey was invited to perform with Latham Entertainment at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Universal Amphitheater in Hollywood.

Joey has done voice overs for the “Nutshack Cartoon” and has been featured on VH1, G4 Tech TV, Showtime (Pacific Rim Comedy with Edwin San Juan) and on HBO with P. Diddy’s comedy special. He was recently coast-to-coast on the Verizon APAHM Tour and the Headliner on The Filipino Kingz Tour. He has hosted two television shows on Myx TV called “That’s My Jam” and “Myx Rated,” which recently won a Telly Award. His past guests have been Justin Bieber, PitBull, Boyz II Men, Naughty By Nature, Jason Derulo and Amerie. Joey has also opened for Al B. Sure, Black Eyed Peas,The Jabbawockeez and Bruno Mars.

When he is not on tour, he enjoys eating rice four times a day and watching “The Brady Bunch” in Tagalog. Joey says he is living his dream and now wants to be the first Islander on “Cribs” to have a chandelier in his mobile home.

What does it mean to you to be a Groundbreaker?
“I’m just excited to be a part of the artistic community, as far as ‘groundbreaking,’ that would just be my breakdancing name because I was chubby in the 80s.”

What do you hope to achieve by participating in this panel?
“I just hope to bring some joy, show off my new slippers and inspire anyone interested in living their dreams.”

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
“’Going Against The Grain’ to me means listening to the music of your soul and pumping up the volume.”

TiffanyTiffany Pham – Tiffany Pham is the Founder & CEO of Mogul, an award-winning worldwide platform connecting women to trending content, including stories, products and jobs that are personalized to their interests.

Tiffany was named one of “Forbes” “30 Under 30” in Media, “Business Insider” “30 Most Important Women Under 30” in Technology, “ELLE Magazine” “30 Women Under 30 Who Are Changing the World” and also the Recipient of the Cadillac “IVY Innovator” Award. She has spoken at the United Nations, Microsoft, Bloomberg, AOL, Harvard Business School, Wharton, Prudential, UCSD, Northeastern, Columbia and
in Dubai.

Among her many career accomplishments, Tiffany served as a Director of Business Development at CBS, for which she received the 2013 CBS Digital Media “All-Star” Award; worked with HBO, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs; co-produced the hit feature film “Girlfriend”, “Child 31”, and “Hermit”, among others; oversaw the theatrical release of the film “Arcadia”; and served as Head of Marketing for the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition, launched with the Beijing government.

Tiffany served on the Board of Directors for No Limits Media, Board of Trustees for Provincetown Film Society, the Interactive & Technology Committee for WNET New York Public Media and the Business Committee for the New York City Ballet for the past six years. Tiffany is also an Advisor to YCombinator startup BuzzStarter.

Tiffany is the co-author of the book “From Business Strategy to Information Technology Roadmap: A Practical Guide for Executives and Board Members” (published by CRC Press). She is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School.

What does it mean to you to be a Groundbreaker?
“At Mogul, being a Groundbreaker means carrying out our mission of enabling women to connect, share information and access knowledge from one another. Reaching 18 million women per week, across 196 countries and 30,470 cities, we are innovating to continue advancing gender equality and quality education.”

What do you hope to achieve by participating in this panel?
“I hope to share the story of Mogul and how others too can make a global impact on women through technology, talent and community.”

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
“‘Go Against The Grain’ means to believe in yourself and to hold on to your values, even as popular opinion around you differs.”

KhaiKhai Vu – Born in Vietnam in 1980, Chef Khai Vu came to the States at the young age of 11. His first love and passion has always been food. With his Grandmother’s cooking as his inspiration and his father growing him to be a successful businessman, his family’s shared love of food has paved the way for him to produce some of the most modern and high quality cuisine at his own kitchen District One Kitchen & Bar in Las Vegas today.

When Chef Vu is not enjoying a day of fishing or boating, chances are you can find him dining. Tasting foods from East to West around the world has given him the ability to grow his exquisite flavor palate, with which he shares his craft and love of food with everyone at District One.

Pho So 1, District One and Viet Noodle Le Pho are just a few of his ventures in his 18-year career as a chef and employ about 90 people. Excellence in food and customer service are the hallmarks of his business. Chef Vu’s view on life and food is to pursue what you love with a passion, and your hard work will definitely be worth it.

What does it mean to you to be a Groundbreaker?
“I think a Groundbreaker is someone very passionate and assertive. Someone who is ready to take risks, to break ‘rules’ and to engage in competition. It’s like creating a new trail, even when you are afraid of heights.”

What do you hope to achieve by participating in this panel?
“By participating in this panel, I hope to encourage our generation to break our own eggshells and go out there chasing your dreams. This would be a great time to share my valuable lessons that I have learned in the restaurant industry. It would also be a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet with other Groundbreakers.”

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
“Allow us to come out of tradition and also see the value of our roots. Without our roots – from family to culture – we would not have a beginning, which is the grain that we grow from.”

MikiGreystone2016Miki Yamashita – Actress, comedian and lyric soprano Miki Yamashita is a singer and teaching artist with the Los Angeles Opera. She made her main stage debut in the role of Marcellina in “Figaro 90210”. With the LA Opera’s community engagement division, Miki has fused her New England Conservatory-trained voice with her unique comedy chops to perform roles as diverse as a hungry coyote, a grandmother bird spirit, and Turandot.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Miki studied acting at Yale University and holds a B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College. Miki has performed the role of Connie Wong in the national tour of “A Chorus Line”, and the roles of Maria in “West Side Story” and Tuptim in “The King and I” in various respected regional theaters across the country.

At the Walt Disney World Resort, Miki performed full-time as an improvisational and sketch comedy performer and created the role of the Indian Maiden in the live production of “The Jungle Book” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Her one-woman show “The Geisha Next Door” has been presented at Upright Citizens’ Brigade in Los Angeles, and she continues to perform on many of LA’s comedy stages, such as Largo at the Coronet, IO West and ACME Comedy Theatre.

As a television actress, Miki has appeared in principal roles on “Law & Order”, “The Tonight Show”, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, “One Life To Live” and “As The World Turns”. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity Association and AGMA.

What does it mean to you to be a Groundbreaker?
“To me, being a Groundbreaker means that I’m not afraid to do the things that people don’t expect me to do. As a performer, people mostly expect me to follow the standard procedure that most actors follow, which is to wait for others to provide me with opportunities to work and to practice my craft. But because I happen to be a performer who is Asian American, those opportunities are far too few. Therefore, I’ve had to learn how to be groundbreaking because I had no other choice than to take bold, consistent, unconventional action in order to create my own opportunities and shape a career.”

What do you hope to achieve by participating in this panel?
“I hope I will get some free snacks. I also hope that I can get the message out to other Asian Americans that as much as you or your parents might want to plan out every step of your journey, I can almost guarantee that there are going to be many twists and turns that are completely unexpected and that you should welcome those unpredictable aspects of your career and life path. It’s what will make you unusual and distinct. And in a world where a lot of people still think all Asians look alike, being unusual will be a huge plus.”

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
“If this question is not about eating carbs, I am not on board. I think it takes a lot of courage to speak up consistently whenever you see yourself needlessly excluded or you are made to feel invisible. In the entertainment industry, unlike other professional worlds, there are all kinds of loopholes that enable the exclusion of women and minorities. ‘Going Against The Grain’ means calling out the most powerful people in my industry whenever I see this happening. It also it means maintaining a level of excellence in so many different skills that when the rare opportunity arises that requires someone of my ethnicity, chances are I will be able to execute with confidence whatever skill they need me to perform.”

QuentinLeeGHDheadshotQuentin Lee – A member of the Producers Guild of America, Quentin has a long list of accomplishments under his belt, including director of six feature films: “Shopping for Fangs” (1997), “Drift” (2000), “Ethan Mao” (2004), “The People I’ve Slept With” (2009), “White Frog” (2012) and, most recently, “The Unbidden” (2016) featuring prominent Asian American actors such as John Cho, Randall Park, Tamlyn Tomita, James Shigeta, Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum Jr., Archie Kao and Michelle Krusiec.

Quentin’s films are noticeable for containing male lead characters who are Asian and gay, two minority groups generally not seen as lead characters in mainstream Hollywood films. Following this theme, he has produced “#1 Serial Killer” (2013) and “Big Gay Love” (2013). He is currently shooting an Internet reality documentary series called “Gay Hollywood Dad”, developing two Chinese features as a director and producing an independent American feature titled “Bullies.”

Also an accomplished writer, Quentin has published a novel “Dress Like a Boy” in 2000, which has received positive reviews in publications such as AsianWeek and XY Magazine. In October 2009, his graphic novel “Campus Ghost Story”, created in collaboration with artist John Hahn, was published by “Fresh Fear”, an imprint of Margin Films.

Born in Hong Kong, Quentin immigrated to Montreal, Canada, when he was 16. He attended UC Berkeley, Yale University and UCLA for his B.A. in English, M.A. in English and M.F.A. in Film Directing, respectively.

What does it mean to you to be a Groundbreaker?
“Being an artist is a groundbreaker, and especially being a minority artist who constantly has to break grounds that no one has broken before.”

What do you hope to achieve by participating in this panel?
“I hope to bond with other Asian American artists and like minds and find strength and resources to continue doing what we do.”

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
“Going against traditional wisdom and markets and finding your own way… it’s necessary to be an artist.

diana tran-yuLT Diana Tran-Yu was a CEO of Comprehensive Cardiac Diagnostics & Wellness. She was a former director over five departments: Pharmacy, Private Branch Exchange Operators, Concierge/ Lobby, Pastoral Care, and Administrator of Investigational Research Board at HCA- West Houston Medical Center. She is an adjunct faculty, preceptor and board advisor to multiple schools and universities: ITT Technical Institute – Houston, HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences, San Jacinto College, University of Houston – School of Pharmacy, Texas Southern University – School of Pharmacy, The University of Texas – School of Pharmacy and multiple pharmacy schools all over the states. She has given multiple leadership presentations and motivational speaking engagements at graduate business schools: Jones Graduate School- Rice University, Texas A&M Health Science Center and at the Center of Vietnamese Culture “Trung Tam Van Hoa Viet Nam – Vinh Quy Bai To“, dedicated to honoring graduates.

She is an active member involved in many leadership committees of the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE-Southeast Texas Chapter) and  a former board member, Secretary & Treasurer of the Asian Healthcare Leaders Association (AHCLA). Over the years, she has mentored hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students. She is a proponent of the Drug Enforcement Agency in furthering their mission. She graduated from the DEA Citizens Academy, served as the DEA Houston Ambassador educating the public on OTC/prescription medications’ adverse outcomes and illegal drugs. She was a former TV medical segment show host for Vietnamese American Network (VAN-TV), former Radio Talk Show Host for Vietnamese American Broadcasting (VAB). She has received numerous awards and accolades for her work as an humanitarian activist and for her thousands of volunteer hours dedicated to serving the communities.

Dr. Tran- Yu also gives service to our country. She was commissioned as a Navy Reserve Lieutenant Medical Service Corps attached to the Expeditionary Medical Facility- Dallas One. She was then recalled to serve active duty in the Medical Officer Programs recruitment for the Navy Recruiting District Houston. She will now be transitioning to Navy Recruiting Command- Navy City Outreach Officer for the Southwest Region responsible for supporting mission of Navy awareness, diversity, and STEM SeaPerch programs of five Navy Recruiting Districts of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Phoenix which encompass serving a total of nine states.

She and her family fled Viet Nam at the age of six  years old. They had lived as refugees in Thailand and West Germany. She had immigrated to the States at the age of ten years old. Her Alma Mater are the University of Pacific- School of Pharmacy, Houston Baptist University for her Doctor of Pharmacy, Master of Science Healthcare Administration, MBA( Cert), and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She speaks four languages.
What does it mean to you to be a Groundbreaker?
“In my humble opinion, being a Groundbreaker is one who embrace diversity talents via breaking through the walls of the status quo glass ceilings.”What do you hope to achieve by participating in this panel?

“What I hope accomplish by being on this Panel is to encourage others to reflect President John F. Kennedy’s quote, ‘My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what YOU can do for YOUR COUNTRY!’ It is my hope that attendees of this Convention go back to their daily professional life, to remember to give back. Whether they are making a difference to one or of a mass in millions; what ever they choose to do, remember to GIVE Back to the community, society as a whole, and their Beloved Country – The United States of America!”

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”

“‘Going Against The Grain’, I believe, is the hallmark of a successful leader in taking the road less traveled. I value the impact that I am not just following the crowd, but forging the way to taking maverick high risks, create a vision that others may see as not the norm, and enroll others along the way to this unconventional journey of Courageous Leadership!”

About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.

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 and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than 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. #ATGProds #GroundbreakersSpeak2016 #beCAUSE

Two Exciting New Events at 2016 NAAAP National Convention

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The 2016 NAAAP National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, is just around the corner (Thursday, August 11, to Saturday, August 13), and we couldn’t be more excited at ATG. This year’s theme “Going All In: Leading with Courage” is the perfect backdrop for our 5th Annual Groundbreaker’s Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers and Shakers, which will join NAAAP’s lineup of scheduled events on at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, at Caesar’s Palace.

In addition to Groundbreakers Speak and other noteworthy events taking place, the NAAAP National Convention will include two exciting events that you won’t want to miss it!

Town Hall with the U.S. Presidential Candidates – Friday, August 12, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

From the NAAAP National Convention Website: “This will be a historic event for Asian Pacific Americans, the first ever Presidential Town Hall with APA’s.  APIAVote and AAJA are co-hosting the 2016 Presidential Town Hall, and NAAAP is delighted to join as a National Partner Organization. Hillary Clinton has accepted the invitation to this Town Hall.  We’re awaiting a response from the Donald Trump campaign office. Each registered NAAAP Convention attendee will receive a ticket to attend this historical Town Hall event.”

Friday Evening Social – “Shopping experience” hosted by Macy’s @ Fashion Mall on the Strip 5 – 7 p.m

Sponsored by Macy’s at Macy’s store at the Fashion Show Mall.  Beverages sponsored by Miller Coors.

4th Annual Groundbreakers Speak Added New Flavor to NAAAP National Conference

A Jarvis Jacobs Photo
A Jarvis Jacobs Photo
A Jarvis Jacobs Photo
A Jarvis Jacobs Photo

DALLAS (Aug. 10, 2015) – Asian American leaders gathered together Saturday to share their motivating personal stories to success at Against The Grain Productions’ 4th Annual Groundbreakers Speak Event during the National Association of Asian American Professionals National Convention at the Hilton Anatole. In TED-inspired presentations, question-and-answer lightning round and round robin-style intimate audience discussions, a record 200 attendees from the Convention and the Dallas community listened to each speaker’s individual takes on the Convention’s theme “Resilience: Power of the Asian Leader.” NAAAP President Fabian De Rozario opened with encouraging remarks along with 2014 Groundbreakers panelist, Partner at Ernst & Young, ATG Ambassador and previous NAAAP 100 winner Thear Sy Suzuki, whose comment on courage as a key trait of great leaders rang true throughout the afternoon.

ATG President and Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee Recognized as a NAAAP 100 Honoree

NAAAP 100 Tammy Nguyen Lee

The ATG family is excited that the NAAAP 100 committee has selected our very own President and Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee to be recognized at the upcoming National Convention in Dallas, at the evening Gala on Aug. 8! The NAAAP 100 Award, Presented by Buick recognizes the most exemplary leaders in the Asian community.  NAAAP, as the premier leadership organization for Asian professionals, offers these awards annually to the most influential leaders who have made significant contributions to their profession and the Asian community.   Previous award winners include the late Senator Daniel Inouye, Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi, Superbowl MVP Hines Ward, and playwright David Henry Hwang.

NAAAP members, chapters, and members of the public nominate candidates for NAAAP 100 consideration.  These nominees are reviewed by individuals and a committee in a highly-selective process with final approval by the NAAAP National Board of Directors.  Typically, only three to four individuals each year are recognized as honorees, who are celebrated at the NAAAP National Convention culminating in a Saturday evening awards gala. For more information on the NAAAP 100 program, please visit www.naaap.org/programs/naaap-100/.

Tammy was inducted alongside Ronald W. Chang (President of UPS Capital and advocate for Asian Americans) and Lieutenant Commander Albert Wong (a judge, diplomat and community leader).

2015 NAAAP 100 Award Honorees. Photo courtesy of Sam Hsu.
2015 NAAAP 100 Award Honorees. Photo courtesy of Sam Hsu.

Going Against The Grain: Angry Asian Man (Phil Yu) & Ben Smithee

Phil Yu | Photo Credit | An Rong Xu
Photo Credit | An Rong Xu

Phil Yu is the founder and editor of the popular Asian American news/culture blog Angry Asian Man. He is also co-host of the web talk show Angry Asian America on ISAtv, and host of Sound and Fury: The Angry Asian Podcast. Building a steady, loyal readership since 2001, Angry Asian Man has been called “a daily must-read for the media-savvy, socially conscious, pop-cultured Asian American.” – Jose Antonio Vargas. Mixing humor with criticism, Phil’s commentary has been featured and quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, Wall Street Journal and more. He also appears in the Sundance documentary Linsanity, about the rise of NBA superstar Jeremy Lin, and is executive producer of the action/comedy web series Awesome Asian Bad Guys.

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ATG Presents 4th Annual Groundbreakers Speak at NAAAP National Convention

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June 17, 2015 (DALLAS) – Back by popular demand, non-profit Against The Grain Productions will host their 4th 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. For the first time ever, this year’s event, which promotes leadership and mentorship, will be co-hosted with the National Association of Asian American professionals of DFW (NAAAP-DFW) at the NAAAP National Convention to be held in Dallas (another first) under the theme “Resilience: Power of the Asian Leader.”

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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

Going Against The Grain: Kim Phan

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Kim Phan 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. What started out as a hobby, later turned into a professional career for Kim when she accepted a job at Blizzard Entertainment in 2006.

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.

Kim began playing console games at the age of five and was first introduced to PC games in college. The first PC game to really grab her attention was StarCraft: Brood War. She later immersed herself in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, which is where her interest in professional gaming emerged. In 2003, she started commentating Warcraft III games, a practice known then as “shoutcasting.” Her insightful and light-hearted commentary captured the attention of many fans in the eSports community, who came to know Kim by the gamer tag “bunny.” She branched out further into the scene when she took ownership and ran one of the biggest and most popular Warcraft III community fan sites, WCReplays.com. She also joined United 5, a professional North American organization, to manage their Warcraft III team for competitive leagues. Kim managed all of this eSports activity during her free time while maintaining a full-time career as a software developer.

kim_shoutcastingAll that 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.

During her spare time, Kim enjoys rock climbing, cycling, snowboarding, camping, and playing video games. She currently resides in Orange County with her dog Gizmo and can be followed on Twitter @kimaphan.

Full Name:
Kim A. Phan

Hometown:
Dallas, Texas

Current City:
Tustin, CA

Ethnicity:
Vietnamese

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”:

Besides it being the proper way to cut your meat, you should always “Go Against The Grain” to make your life as tenderly awesome as possible, keeping it just the way YOU like it! Take it in bite-sized chunks if you have to, but don’t do what everyone else expects you to do. No one wants a chewy, boring life because that’s tough to swallow. Ultimately, do what you want or think is best for you. To me, it means to challenge myself, to keep an open mind and to never let anyone or anything limit me.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the video game industry?

When I realized how talented, passionate and awesome the people are in the video game industry. We all share the same interests and geek out about the same things. There was never a moment when I made a decision to get into this industry. Instead, I focused on the things that made me successful in my life – determination, knowledge, organization, communication and optimism. Once you level up in these areas, you can apply it to any career.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?

The only challenges I faced in my career as an Asian American was trying to meet the expectations of my family. I don’t think they would have been supportive of me pursuing a profession in video games from the start, which is why I chose a job in software engineering. The experience and success I gained from having a “normal” and “acceptable” occupation, made it easier for me to prove to my family that I can do just about anything.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

This might sound silly, but my biggest accomplishment is believing in myself, which has allowed me to do everything I’m most passionate about in life. I’m my biggest cheerleader.

What’s up next?

To help take eSports to the next level and have it one day be a mainstream sport, like football, basketball or tennis. I also want to continue traveling the world and exploring the many different cultures to help me become a better human being.

Quote to live by: “It is never too late to be what we might have been.” – George Eliot

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Snake/Virgo

Passionate about: Family, eSports, video games, food and rock climbing

Favorite food: I really can’t pick a favorite. I love food!

Can’t live without: My dog Gizmo and natural source of Vitamin D! I’m solar-powered.

What does it mean to you to be asked to participate at Groundbreakers Speak? What do you hope to accomplish or for the audience to take away?

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.

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