Tagged Groundbreakers Speak

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

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 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

Dallas Morning News: Asian pioneers’ stories worth sharing

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/deborah-fleck/20130515-asian-pioneers-stories-worth-sharing.ece?ssimg=1017081#ssStory1017082

l to r, Dat Nguyen, Karin Oen, Kent Takano, Ha Mai, Lily Jang, Richard Jung and Tanya Pintoat the Groundbreakers Speak event at the Crow Collection.
l to r, Dat Nguyen, Karin Oen, Kent Takano, Ha Mai, Lily Jang, Richard Jung and Tanya Pintoat the Groundbreakers Speak event at the Crow Collection.

 

deborahfleck

Deborah Fleck

dfleck@dallasnews.com

Published: 15 May 2013 11:12 PM

Updated: 16 May 2013 11:25 AM

 

Dat Nguyen was often told he was too small to play football. Yet he was the first Vietnamese-American in the NFL. He was drafted by the Cowboys and said he couldn’t believe he was playing with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

“There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big,” said the ESPN sportscaster. “But you have to put time and effort in order to gain an edge. It’s all about attitude.”

Nguyen was one of seven panelists who shared their journeys at Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation With Asian American Movers and Shakers. Saturday’s event was sponsored by Against The Grain Productions and held at the Crow Collection in Dallas. Tammy Nguyen Lee, founder of ATG, moderated the discussion.

Kent Takano, a vice president for HGTV and DIY Network, said he never expected to watch television for a living. In an acting class, he met someone in television who helped him land an internship. Takano’s been in television ever since.

Karin Oen, director of education at the Crow Collection, is passionate about building community through art institutions. UT Arlington graduate Ha Mai carved a path from design studio work to Fur Face Boy, his independent apparel line. Lily Jang said she loves what she does as a television journalist in Houston. Lawyer, advocate and politician Richard Jung joked that he wanted to be Nguyen, but admitted he found his calling in immigration law and helping others.

Tanya Pinto left a large advertising agency to start Baal Dan Charities, a nonprofit helping children around the world. She also runs her own firm, Shakti Consulting.

Nguyen Lee said each of the panelists “put fear aside to follow their passion.” This is her second Groundbreakers event, which she holds in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Visit againstthegrainproductions.com.

Asia World Media: Asian Celebrity Groundbreakers Speak 2013, Featuring Dat Nguyen, Kent Takano, Lily Jang And More

http://www.asiaworldmedia.com/main/archives/5211

Asian Celebrity Groundbreakers Speak 2013, Featuring Dat Nguyen, Kent Takano, Lily Jang And More

By Asia World Media

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Left to Right: Kent Takano, Tanya Pinto, Karin Oen, Dat Nguyen, Tammy Nguyen Lee, Lily Jang, Ha Mai, Richard Jung

In honor of Asian American Heritage Month, Tammy Nguyen Lee of Against The Grain Productions (ATG) and Amy Lewis Hofland of the Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum partnered up to host the 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Movers and Shakers in Dallas, TX. The family-friendly event brought together an amazing and diverse panel of Asian American professionals and celebrities, including Dat Nguyen (ESPN Radio Host & Former NFL/Dallas Cowboy Linebacker), Kent Takano (Executive Producer of Branded Entertainment for HGTV), Richard Jung (Attorney/Advocate/Politician), Tanya Pinto (Founder of Baal Dan Charity), Karin Oen (Director of Education at the Crow Collection of Asian Art), Ha Mai (Founder/CEO of Fur Face Boy) and Lily Jang (TV Host and News Anchor at KHOU). Each speaker has a unique experience to share his/her inspiring, personal and success story.

Over 100 guests crowded into the Crow’s Bronze Circle Room surrounded by exquisite works of art from China, Japan, and India. While enjoying champagne and dessert, guests have the special opportunity to engage with Asian American movers and shakers on important issues affecting the Asian American community.

“Being a groundbreaker has to do with pushing asides fears and embracing new challenges, ” said Richard Jung, managing partner of Jung Ko, PLLC. A passionate advocate for the Asian American community, Richard Jung believed, “As Asian Americans, we must overcome the cultural inhibitions about standing out and standing our ground. Our elders, our children, our communities need leaders who willing to stand out and stand up for their interests.”

Elsewhere Dat Nguyen’s speech at NFL and Dallas Cowboy’s Day was pretty legendary, giving the other amazing speech a run for its money. An inspiration to many Asian NFL enthusiast, Dat Nguyen is the first Vietnamese American to play in the NFL as a Dallas Cowboy linebacker during the late 1990s. After a successful career in the NFL, Dat Nguyen is currently with Sports talk Radio at ESPN San Antonio. Dat Nguyen articulate, “I would like [for you] to walk away from the event knowing don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but you have to put time and effort in order to gain an edge. It’s all about attitude!”

“Everyone can be a groundbreaker – they simply have to figure out what their unique talent is and then follow that passion to create something, … Then watch the magic unfold, ” said Tanya Pinto, Founder of Baal Dan Charity.

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Groundbreaking Asian American Leaders to Speak at Crow Collection of Asian Art

groundbreak-smallDALLAS, TX – After the success of last year’s event, non-profit Against The Grain Productions has partnered with the Crow Collection of Art once again to host the 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Movers and Shakers, a diverse panel of remarkable Asian American industry leaders brought together to share their inspiring personal stories and paths to success. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the family-friendly event takes place from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Saturday, May 11th at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of Asian art, champagne, coffee and dessert at a reception preceding the event at 1:00 pm, then listen as the speakers share their insightful stories, engage in heavy hitting issues affecting the Asian American community and even chat with the panelists in one-on-one round table conversation. Tickets range from $10-$25 and go on sale starting April 15th at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/Events.

Introducing the 2013 Groundbreakers Speak Panelists:

dat-nguyenDat Nguyen – Often told he was simply too small to play football, Dat Nguyen went on to be one of the most decorated college football players and the first Vietnamese American to play in the NFL as a Dallas Cowboy. The Cowboys drafted him in the third round (85th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. Dat made an impact with the Cowboys from the very beginning, leading the team in special-teams stops as a rookie and becoming The Cowboys’ starting middle linebacker in his second season. Dat is currently with Sports Talk Radio at ESPN San Antonio.

“I would like [for you] to walk away from the event knowing don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but you have to put time and effort in order to gain an edge. It’s all about attitude!!”


karin-oenKarin Oen – From modern works of art to the classics, Karin has studied many types and in places all around the globe. As the new Director of Education at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Karin is an art historian, curator and museum director who has a strong commitment to building community through art institutions.

“Learn to rethink your own biases and judgments about success and accomplishment.  We have all inherited traditions and legacies of family and culture, but the real value of those legacies is to feel bolstered to the point where you are confident enough to make decisions that are truly your own. The arts are fundamental to the health of any community or individual’s body, mind and heart.”


kent-takanoKent Takano – More than 10 years have passed since Kent Takano was Executive Producer of a Dallas-area morning show, and since then, he’s had a hand in producing television shows for some of the largest major cable networks. He is now the Executive Producer/Vice President of Branded Entertainment for HGTV and the DIY Network.

“Talk to your peers. Encourage them. Break the stereotype that Asians are the ‘quiet minority.’ But make sure WHAT you say means something. My dad once told me that there will always be people smarter than me, but you can always out-work them. He was right! So lead by example and take chances. My favorite passage is ‘Go to the end of the limb. It’s where the fruit is.’ – unknown author” 


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Ha Mai – Most of his fans know him as Fur Face Boy, and with such a unique moniker, there’s no doubt he likes to pave his own path. Fur Face Boy walked away from working for design studios, agencies and in-house design groups to focus on his independent apparel line, blogging and living life on his own terms. 

“I’d like [you] to walk away inspired, motivated and realizing that anything is possible as long as you are passionate, hardworking and ready to roll with the punches. [You become a groundbreaker] by not following trends, trusting your own thoughts and simply being yourself.”


lily-jangLily Jang – An Emmy nominated journalist, TV host and news anchor who broken some major barriers, including being the first Asian American in television news in Amarillo, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama. Now, Lily  is back in her hometown of Houston as a morning news anchor for KHOU and was honored twice by the Huffington Post as a Twitter Powerhouse.

“It starts from within. If you THINK YOU CAN or you THINK YOU CAN’T, you’re right. I want [you] to never take no for an answer. Persevere. Believe. Achieve.”


richard-jungRichard Jung – Representing his Asian American community is just one of Richard’s top priorities. After holding different positions in different parts of the country, Richard is now an advocate, politician and the managing partner of Jung Ko, PLLC, a boutique immigration firm focused primarily on business immigration matters.

“Being a groundbreaker has to do with pushing aside fears and embracing new challenges.  As Asian Americans, we must overcome the cultural inhibitions about standing out and standing our ground.  Our elders, our children, our communities need leaders who will stand out and stand up for their interests.  Our cities, our counties and school districts need those same leadership skills to represent the interests of all residents.  Just be willing to take that first step!” 


tanya-pintoTanya Pinto – After working at one of the nation’s largest advertising agencies, Tanya’s heart took her elsewhere. She founded Baal Dan (which means “Donation to Children”), a charity that helps children around the world, and for more than six years, has run her own consulting firm, Shakti Consulting.

“Everyone can be a groundbreaker – they simply have to figure out what their unique talent is and then follow that passion to create something, help someone or just live a more fulfilling and happy life, which in turn has positive ripple effects on the lives of everyone around them. Being a groundbreaker starts with knowing yourself and then giving your time and energy to your passion. Then watch the magic unfold!” 


tammy-nguyen-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, as a new mom, Nguyen Lee’s focus is on her family, growing ATG and continuing to work as an actor, film/television producer and development consultant.

“Being a groundbreaker requires passion, courage, commitment, innovation, faith and knowledge. You have to take the time to learn and understand the rules of the game, and then break them…or make up an entirely new game. The ability to be a groundbreaker is in all of us, and I hope this event inspires more Asian Americans to believe in themselves and educates them with the tools they need to take action.”  


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 Second Annual “2013 Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation of Movers and Shakers” panel
WHO: Dat Nguyen – 1st Vietnamese American NFL Player/ESPN Radio San Antonio Host, Karin Oen – Director of Education at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Kent Takano – VP Programming, Brand Integration at HGTV and DIY Network, Ha Mai – Founder/CEO of Fur Face Boy, Lily Jang – Emmy nominated Journalist, TV Host and News Anchor at KHOU, Richard Jung – Lawyer/Advocate/Politician, Tanya Pinto – Founder of Baal Dan Charities, Tammy Nguyen Lee – Film/TV Producer, Director, Actor & Philanthropist
WHERE: Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St. Dallas, TX 75201
WHEN: Saturday, May 11th from 2:o0 PM – 4:30 PM

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Asian American Groundbreakers Inspire Leadership in ATG Panel Discussion

Rebekah Kim (right) receives 2012 Sunna Lee Leadership Scholarship from Sunna Lee (left)

DALLAS, TX – Dallas-based nonprofit ATG Against The Grain Productions hosted their inaugural Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers & Shakers on Saturday, July 28th. Event guests received a docent guided tour of elegant The Crow Collection of Asian Art before packing the main gallery to enjoy champagne, coffee, dessert and experience a lively panel discussion comprised of a diverse cross section of Asian American industry leaders. Each panelist represented a different occupational field, from medicine to fashion, business to film, sports to politics and was carefully selected to share their unique perspective and journey that led to their ultimate success.  After awarding the 2012 Sunna Lee Leadership scholarship to recipient Rebekah Kim, the stimulating discussion topics ranged from witty and profound advice and anecdotes, insightful personal confessions, cultural observations on being raised by Asian immigrant parents, thought-provoking questions for self-actualization and identity, a strong call to action for more mentorship in the community and a round-robin of humorous answers to Inside the Actors Studio questions.

2012 Groundbreakers Panel (left to right): Patrick Wang, Sunna Lee, Dr. Sam Lam, Khanh Nguyen, Ramey Ko, Nur Ali, Rebekah Kim, Tammy Nguyen Lee

Leadership scholarship founder Sunna Lee said, “Many countries, many age groups and many professions were represented [at Groundbreakers], yet the challenges we face are so similar.  It was refreshing and encouraging to hear a point of view of empowerment rather than that of a victim.” The Groundbreakers Speak panel included NASCAR/Formula One Racer Nur Ali, U.S. Olympian Rebekah Kim, judge and activist Ramey Ko, plastic surgeon/entrepreneur Dr. Sam Lam, marketing executive Sunna Lee, fashion designer Khanh Nguyen, filmmaker Patrick Wang and film/tv producer and philanthropist Tammy Nguyen Lee moderating the discussion. Nguyen Lee, who is ATG’s President and Founder, conceived of the event to continue the organization’s unique method of community outreach in an engaging and entertaining format, while also dealing with an issue she views as lacking in the Asian American community. Said Nguyen Lee, “Up to this point, ATG has made great strides in promoting emerging Asian American artists and fundraising for our causes. However, this year, we wanted to add more education to our repertoire and bring leadership to our focus so that we can inspire others to step up. It’s a subject that we need to address, understand, nurture and educate ourselves on so that we can evolve into a stronger community and truly give back to the best of our potential.”

Dr. Sam Lam, a triple-board certified plastic surgeon and author of numerous books, acknowledged that one of the biggest ways to impact the lacking leadership in the Asian American community was through mentorship. Dr. Lam is well acquainted with the significance of ATG events, putting his money where his mouth is by supporting the organization as a year-round sponsor for the past several years.  “Tammy Nguyen Lee once again has proven how talented she is at putting together and leading a first-rate panel to inspire present and future generations of Asian American leaders.”  Nur Ali continued, “We as Groundbreakers need to be more available as mentors to youth and adults alike in our community and work to give them the strength to follow their hearts.  It can be a bit worrisome, but the payoff can also be huge.”

With years already under his young career belt, activist and attorney Ramey Ko shared one of the day’s most poignant thoughts that “if you ever find yourself saying ‘someone ought to do that,’ perhaps that someone ought to be you.” Ko acknowledged ATG as an example that proves “Asian Americans are not only breaking new ground, but we’re doing it in style” and adding that “the tremendous diversity of the panel demonstrates that there are no doors that are closed to Asian Americans, if we have the passion, the commitment and the faith to make our dreams happen.”

With the success of the first Groundbreakers Speak, ATG plans to take Ko’s thoughts to heart and continue hosting this panel as one of its staple community outreach events. Said Nguyen Lee, “This was a great beginning, but there is so much more we can do to help engage and nurture future Asian American leaders. We’ll bring more voices to the table. This was just the tip of the ice berg.”

Event photos are provided courtesy of Saru Photography and can be viewed at the ATG Flickr site. To read about ATG’s upcoming events, please visit http://www.againstthegrainproductions.com/events.

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.

ATG Brings Together Asian American Leaders for Inaugural Groundbreakers Speak Panel Discussion

 

DALLAS, TX – For the first time, Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions brings together influential and successful Asian American leaders to host an engaging and educational event called Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers & Shakers. The panel is comprised of dynamic and influential industry leaders who will speak on their inspiring path to success. The family-friendly event will take place from 2-4 pm at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, TX on Saturday, July 28th. In addition to the panel, event guests will get an opportunity to enjoy Asian art, champagne, coffee and dessert.

The 2012 Groundbreakers Speak panel includes leaders from areas of business, law, medicine, sports, fashion, the arts and philanthropy.  They include NASCAR/Formula One Racer Nur Ali, U.S. Olympian Rebekah Kim,  judge and activist Ramey Ko, plastic surgeon/entrepreneur Dr. Sam Lam, marketing executive Sunna Lee,  fashion designer Khanh Nguyen and filmmaker Patrick Wang. The panel will be moderated by ATG President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee.

Admission to Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers & Shakers ranges from $10-15 and can be purchased online at www.againstthegrainproductions.com/events.

The “Groundbreakers Speak” Panelists:


Nur Ali

“I am honored to be part of the first Groundbreakers event, highlighting Asian-American Movers and Shakers in the community. I look forward to the panel’s conversation and their insight.”

Nur Ali grew up in Germany surrounded by Formula One Racing. Ali developed his passion for racing at a very young age. Through his fourteen year career, Ali has amassed two Championships in the Southwest Formula Mazda Regional Series and a second place finish in the Legends Series. He has also raced in twelve countries for the A1 Grand Prix Series – The World Cup of Motorsport, with a top ten finish in Durban, South Africa. By 2011, he received his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series license and later on in 2012, Ali was sanctioned and licensed by the NASCAR Nationwide Series and hopes to make his debut in the current season.


Rebekah Kim

“I feel extremely honored and excited to be attending ATG’s very first “Groundbreakers Speak” event.  I’ve been impressed by reading about all of the things ATG has been doing for the Asian American community, and I am hoping that I can be a positive addition in supporting their vision and purpose.”

Rebekah “Becky” Kim is currently attending the University of Southern California pursuing a M.A. in Teaching. In 2004, she she led Ohio State’s Synchronized Swimming Team to win a National Collegiate Championship, winning gold in all three events (duet, trio, team).  The eight-time national team member helped the U.S. win gold at the 2006 World Trophy Cup in Moscow, Russia, which marked the first victory over the Russians who have been reigning champions for the past ten years. In the following year, Rebekah participated in the 2007 Pan Americans Games, where the U.S. finished gold, securing their spot in the 2008 Olympic games.  She is the first Korean American to have ever made the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swimming team. Kim made her Olympic debut in Beijing, 2008 where the U.S. placed fifth. Following the Olympic games, she returned back to OSU to complete her schooling where she led the team, as team captain, to win another National Championship in 2009.  That same year she was named Athlete of the Year.

Currently, Kim gives back to the sport by raising and coaching the next generation of synchronized swimmers.  She is involved in the governing body of USA Synchro. She was selected as the United States Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council Representative, where she was one of five officials who selected members of team USA for the 2012 London Olympic Games.  To help her community, she partners with the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG), is a speaker for Ready, Set, Gold! (RSG!) and serves on the leadership team at Sarang Community Church in Anaheim .  Kim is the winner of the 2012 Sunna Lee Leadership Scholarship.


Ramey Ko

“I am honored and humbled to be included in the very first leadership event organized by Against the Grain.  As the U.S. Census and numerous recent polls, studies, and news reports have indicated, Asian Americans are now the fastest growing racial group in America. We have also achieved unprecedented levels of success, whether it’s the groundbreaking appointment of three AAPIs to President Obama’s cabinet, the more than doubling of the number of AAPI federal judges since 2009, or the increasing visibility of Asian Americans in entertainment and arts from Hollywood to YouTube.  With new opportunities also come new responsibilities, so it is more critical than ever that Asian Americans rise to the challenge of becoming the leaders, the innovators, and the agents of change in a diverse and changing America.”

Ramey Ko is a partner with Jung Wakefield PLLC, an immigration and business law firm, and an Associate Municipal Judge – the first Asian American judge in Austin. Ko is also an adjunct lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Texas and serves on the Austin Public Safety Commission and the Advisory Board of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce.  In September 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which advises federal agencies on how to better serve the AAPI community.


Dr. Sam Lam

“I am honored to be part of this distinguished group of Asian community leaders and hope to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, movers, and shakers.”

Dr. Sam Lam graduated from Princeton. He is an entrepreneur, triple board-certified facial plastic surgeon and author of 6 major medical textbooks and over 150 scientific articles and book chapters. Dr. Lam lectures nationally and internationally throughout the year and has given over 150 lectures to date.  He is national course director for a Hair Transplant Workshop in St. Louis each year as well. He is the current owner and operator of the 27,000 square-foot Willow Bend Wellness Center in Plano that houses his other two businesses, The Spa at Willow Bend and the Jose Eber Salon. Dr. Lam’s newest venture is a skincare line named Ova that features plant-derived stem cells and has taken him two years to develop.


Sunna Lee

“I am thrilled and honored to be part of ATG’s first leadership forum as this speaks to which I am most passionate. The need for promoting, developing leadership among the Asian community is what drove me to create the Sunna Lee Leadership scholarship.  We need to understand what this means today and in the future for all generations to come. Leveraging the talent, intelligence and vision of Asians to drive strategic thinking, innovations, creativity that change the way we live is the ultimate step in assimilation to American society where the focus is not in rebuilding a life here but influencing other lives. Leadership comes in various ways.  I am very excited to hear others’ perspective and most importantly, to create a meaningful dialogue that will build a foundation for years to come.”

Sunna Lee is a first generation Korean American with 25 years as an executive in product development, which includes trends, design, marketing and sourcing for brands and retailers small to large, private and publicly traded companies with $7 million to $2.5 billion in revenues. She has served as Vice President of Marketing for Priss Prints and NoJo, Vice President of New Business Development for Crown Crafts Infant Products, Vice President of Merchandising for Riegel, Director of Fashion for Dorel Juvenile Group and currently the Director of Product Development for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. At Cracker Barrel, she leads the women’s group, Woman’s Connect, as a member of the steering committee to develop future women leaders of the organization.


Khanh Nguyen

“I am honored to be a part of Groundbreakers Speak for its first year. It is a great opportunity to voice what I have learned throughout my years in the industry and to learn what others have experienced as well. Everyday, we are thankful to be asked to be a part of such great events and to help make aware to the community all the organizations out there that make a difference.”

Khanh Nguyen has been surrounded by fashion and art throughout her life.  Nha Khanh’s designs focus on modern glamour, inspired by art, architecture and most importantly, nature. “Nha,” in Vietnamese, is a feminine word implying ‘light’, whereas “Khanh” is a masculine word, meaning celebration. The fusion of the words creates a balance of unison between what is feminine and what is masculine. Nguyen attended the University of North Texas and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Fashion Design. During her education, Khanh’s most notable recognition was the “Top Achievement Award at the Dallas Career Day Design Competition,” allowing her the opportunity to embark on an internship in Paris, France. Upon her return to Dallas, Nguyen started her own fashion firm, Nha Khanh. The company was officially established in January 2010. Design and production of the line are all based in Dallas, Texas, while the sales, marketing and public relations of the collection are based in New York City.


Patrick Wang

“I’m very much looking forward to the conversation that will come out of such a diverse panel. Our individual paths have been unusual and unpredictable, so who can guess where this dialogue will go.”

Patrick Wang is a graduate from MIT with a degree in Economics and a concentration in Music and Theatre Arts. Wang has become a well-known theatre and film director. He recently released his first feature film, In the Family, to critical praise. As an economist, he has studied energy policy, game theory, and income inequality at the Federal Reserve Bank, the Harvard School for Public Health and other organizations. As a theatre director, he has specialized in classical verse drama (world premiere of Diane Arnson Svarlien’s translation of Medea) and new works (Surviving the Nian, Jonathan Larson Award).


Tammy Nguyen Lee

“This is the first time ATG has hosted a speakers panel for the sole purpose of community outreach and education. Bringing together Asian American leaders of this caliber and diversity from all over the country to come to Dallas to share their experiences, perspective and insights is a rare opportunity. They are all groundbreakers in their own right and have amazing stories to share. We can learn so much from them and walk away inspired by what we can achieve as a community. ATG is also so excited to partner with the wonderful team at the Crow Collection of Art to give a beautiful backdrop to our event.”

Tammy Nguyen Lee is a passionate producer, filmmaker and actor who founded ATG with her family as a result of her own experience as an American actor and filmmaker, fueled by the determination to give other Asian Americans a creative outlet, while raising awareness for Asian American issues and aid for worthy causes. Nguyen Lee graduated with a B.A. in Cinema from Southern Methodist University and earned a M.F.A. from the elite UCLA Producer’s Program. She produced/directed her first feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, an independent passion project that took nearly 5 years to produce and won the Audience Choice Award at the 2009 Vietnamese International Film Festival and Philadelphia Asian Film Festival. She has worked extensively in film/television production and has overseen the development and marketing of a heavy slate of non-fiction television series and documentary programs for major cable networks. In 2010, she was honored with SMU’s prestigious Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award. Now, as a new mom, Nguyen Lee’s focus is on her family, growing ATG and continuing to work as an actor, film/television producer and development consultant.


ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to producing films, media, programs and events that promote awareness and unity of Asian American culture, artistry and identity. Signature events are Cocktails for a Cause and Fashion for a Passion, as well as the Artistic Scholarship fund. Their premiere documentary feature, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, has 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.

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