By Tnguyen

Congratulations to 2014 ATG Scholarship Finalists

After weeks of reviewing and deliberation, The ATG Scholarship Committee is proud to announce the 2014 Scholarship Finalists. We scored them based on GPA, leadership/community involvement, portfolio/video submission, essay and letters of recommendation. This group in particular is one of the strongest groups we’ve ever had. They are brilliant, shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain means. Drumroll, please… Read more

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

 

Seven Designers to Feature Exclusive Creations

Saturday, November 1 

2014 FFAP Promo

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

Female Game Changers Gather at 3rd Annual Groundbreakers Speak

GS_post_event

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

groundbreak-small

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

Wanted: 2014 ATG Board Members

ATG Team at Fashion for a Passion. Courtesy of  Chi Tran Photography.
ATG Team at Fashion for a Passion. Courtesy of Chi Tran Photography.

Professional. Committed. Passionate. Great Time Management. Excellent follow through. Mature. Resourceful. Creative. ATG Attitude.

The ingredients of an ATG Leader.

Are you looking to make a difference? Want to get more involved with the community? Want to make amazing friends and have life changing experiences?

ATG is currently recruiting skilled, enthusiastic, dedicated and experienced leaders who have the necessary time to join our 2014 Board of Directors and Committee Chairs!

Here are the current open positions: 

Vice President

1. Is a member of the Board

 2. Performs President responsibilities when the President cannot be available. 

 3. Reports to the Board’s President

 4. Works closely with the President and other Board members 

5. Participates closely with the President to develop and implement officer transition plans.

 6. Performs other responsibilities as assigned by the Board. Skills needed: Non-profit leadership, project management, strong communication/organization skills, experience in social media and fundraising, relationship builder, strategic thinker.

                                                                                                               

Secretary

1. Is a member of the Board 

2. Maintains records of the board and ensures effective management of organization’s records 

3. Manages minutes of board meetings

 4. Ensures minutes are distributed to members shortly after each meeting 

5. Is sufficiently familiar with legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to note applicability during meetings. 6. Participates in fundraising for the organizationSkills needed: Human resources/organizational behavior, strong communication/organization skills, MS Word/Excel.

Treasurer

1. Is a member of the Board

 2. Manages finances of the organization and creates monthly income/expense reports.

 3. Administrates fiscal matters of the organization, including audit and tax filing. 

4. Provides annual budget to the board for members’ approval.

 5. Ensures development and board review of financial policies and procedures. 6. Participates in fundraising for the organizationSkills needed: CPA/Finance background, budgeting & forecasting, strong communication/organization skills, MS Excel. detail oriented, thorough & accurate.

 

Director of Community Outreach

1. Is a member of the Board. 2. Plans programs and presentations that will translate the organization’s mission to the community. 3. Provide organization linkage and partnerships to other organizations and individuals (including volunteers), working with Directors of Marketing/PR in raising awareness of the organization to the community. 4. Oversee scholarship application and review process. 5. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts. 

6. Participates in fundraising for the organizationSkills needed: Non-profit leadership, project management, strong communication/organization skills, relationship builder.

 

Director of Marketing/Public Relations

1. Is a member of the Board. 2. Spearhead campaigns to increase community awareness of organization by means of traditional methods (create branding, printed marketing and promotional materials including postcards, pamphlets, brochures, brag book, display board) and Social Media outlets (update and maintain blogs/website,  e-campaign, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube).  3.  Write news stories and press releases, acting as key liaison to print and news/media organizations and individuals.  5. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.

 6. Participates in fundraising for the organizationSkills needed:  English/PR/Advertising background, strong press/newsletter writing skills, strong communication/organization skills, time management, ability to work accurately and efficiently under tight turn-around/deadlines, experience in social media and graphic design a plus.

Director of Fundraising

1. Is a member of the Board. 2. Strategize and lead year-round fundraising campaigns to search for funds, donations and sponsorships through grants, public solicitation, business partnerships and annual events (including Fashion for a Passion).  3. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.

 4. Participates in fundraising for the organizationSkills needed: Fundraising/project management, strong communication/organization skills, outgoing, relationship builder, strategic thinker, detail-oriented, thorough & accurate, results-oriented, focused.

Director of Programming/Events

1. Work with President and Director of Fundraising and Director of Community Outreach to spearhead organization of  Fashion for a Passion, Groundbreakers Speak, Cocktails for a Cause and any other programming/charity events throughout the year. 2. Research and recruit for designers, artists, musicians, speakers (event participants) 3. Research and secure venue, vendors and volunteer team. 4. In charge of day of logistics. Skills needed: Proven event planning experience, project management skills, detail oriented, ability to work and perform well under high-stress while multi-tasking.

Social Media Chair (non Board)

1. Work with Marketing/Public Relations and Community Outreach Directors to  maintain active and regular presence via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube/Vimeo, website/blog, etc) to increase public awareness and promotion of organization. 2. Increase search engine optimization. 3. Comprehension of all forms of social media a must. 4. Reports to Director or Marketing/Public Relations. Skills needed:  English/PR/Advertising background, strong  writing skills, strong communication/organization skills, time management, ability to work accurately and efficiently under tight turn-around/deadlines, experience in social media and graphic design a plus.

Graphic Designer (non Board)

1. Design printed and online marketing collateral, including brochures, display signage, press packets, email campaigns. 2. Knowledge of Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator a must. 3. Reports to Director(s) of Marketing/Public Relations.

 

Historian (non Board)

1. Photographer/videographer to document ATG’s on-going activities. 2. Create scrapbook and year-end photo/video montage. 3. Attendance at all events is mandatory. 4. Reports to Director(s) of Marketing/Public Relations

Street Team (non Board)

1. Assist with Marketing/PR team to help with promotion of organization and fundraising efforts through social media, community outreach and annual charity events. 2. Attend and assist at annual community festivals.

 Advisor (appointed by President)

1. Advise President with areas including a) Orphanage Aid 2) Logistics 3) Non-profit leadership management 4) Organizational strategic planning

 

Please fill out and return the ATG Board Application along with your cover letter and resume to Tammy@thebabylift.com by Friday, December 6th. Board elections will be held end of December and announced before the New Year.

Mark your calendar also for the 2014 ATG Board Retreat, a mandatory half day introduction/training that will take place either Saturday, January 4th or Sunday, January 5th.

2012: A Year in Review

2012 has been a year to celebrate. With the start of the Year of the Dragon, we welcomed a new Board and Creative Team. We hosted several events to educate and inspire, including the return of Cocktails for a Cause, a new panel event called Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers and Shakers hosted at the Crow Collection of Asian Art and the ever popular 2012 Fashion for a Passion hosted at the Dallas Contemporary that broke new attendance and fundraising records of nearly 400 guests and nearly $30,000 net!

Throughout the year, we partnered with California Pizza Kitchen, Cindi’s NY Deli, Yogurtland and Pho is for Lovers for “dine for a cause” fundraisers, which allowed us to have fun, eat, and raise money for our organization and others in need. Many thanks to our generous Year-Round Sponsors Lam Facial Plastics | Ova Skin Care, Saigon Block, Cindi’s NY Deli, Pho is for Lovers, W Dental, and Tiny Prints. Because of them and to folks like you, we were able to accomplish and give so much in 2012, including more than $13,000 in aid to our supported orphanages in Vietnam and Thailand. We reviewed more than 150 scholarships applications and awarded the $5,000 Sunna Lee Leadership Scholarship to Becky Kim, two $1,000 Artistic Scholarships to Britt Espinosa and Thoa Nguyen and nine $100 camp scholarships to young adoptees! With your support, we have done so much for our community. Thank you for your support of our mission and being a part of this worthy effort.

We created new partnerships with Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Kollaboration Dallas and NAAAP-DFW to expand our outreach and strengthen our community relations. Our documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, continues to receive accolades and screen at events across the world. And as always, we participated in local and national community festivals, including the GDAACC May Festival and DFW Dragon Boat, Kite and Lantern Festival.  We are so blessed to have a hard working Board and team of volunteers who devote their time unpaid to our organization.  Even though we are a small group, we hope we can and are making a big difference.

Thank you for your support to help us achieve these goals. Please continue to be an active participant in our mission to achieve “One Voice. Many Stories.” We welcome your suggestions and feedback. On behalf of the entire team, ATG wishes you and yours the happiest of holidays and all the best in 2013!

Cheers!

Tammy Nguyen Lee

President/Founder

Join our 2013 Board

 Professional. Committed. Passionate. Great Time Management. Excellent follow through. Mature. Resourceful. Creative. ATG Attitude.

The ingredients of an ATG Leader.

ATG Team at FFAP

Are you looking to make a difference? Want to get more involved with the community? Want to make amazing friends and have life changing experiences?

ATG is currently recruiting skilled, enthusiastic, dedicated and experienced leaders to join our 2013 Board of Directors and Committee Chairs!

Here are the current open positions:


Vice President

1. Is a member of the Board

 2. Performs President responsibilities when the President cannot be available. 

 3. Reports to the Board’s President

 4. Works closely with the President and other Board members 

5. Participates closely with the President to develop and implement officer transition plans.

 6. Performs other responsibilities as assigned by the Board.

                                                                                                               

Secretary

1. Is a member of the Board 

2. Maintains records of the board and ensures effective management of organization’s records 

3. Manages minutes of board meetings

 4. Ensures minutes are distributed to members shortly after each meeting 

5. Is sufficiently familiar with legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to note applicability during meetings. 6. Participates in fundraising for the organization.

 

Treasurer

1. Is a member of the Board

 2. Manages finances of the organization and creates monthly income/expense reports.

 3. Administrates fiscal matters of the organization, including audit and tax filing. 

4. Provides annual budget to the board for members’ approval.

 5. Ensures development and board review of financial policies and procedures. 6. Participates in fundraising for the organization.

 

Director of Community Outreach

1. Is a member of the Board. 2. Plans programs and presentations that will translate the organization’s mission to the community. 3. Provide organization linkage and partnerships to other organizations and individuals (including volunteers), working with Directors of Marketing/PR in raising awareness of the organization to the community. 4. Oversee scholarship application and review process. 5. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts. 

6. Participates in fundraising for the organization.

Director of Marketing/Public Relations

1. Is a member of the Board. 2. Spearhead campaigns to increase community awareness of organization by means of traditional methods (create branding, printed marketing and promotional materials including postcards, pamphlets, brochures, brag book, display board) and Social Media outlets (update and maintain blogs/website,  e-campaign, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube).  3.  Write news stories and press releases, acting as key liaison to print and news/media organizations and individuals.  5. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.

 6. Participates in fundraising for the organization.

 

Director of Fundraising

1. Is a member of the Board. 2. Strategize and lead year-round fundraising campaigns to search for funds, donations and sponsorships through grants, public solicitation, business partnerships and annual events (including Fashion for a Passion).  3. Is an active participant in the committee’s annual evaluation and planning efforts.

 4. Participates in fundraising for the organization.

 

Director of Programming/Events

1. Work with President and Director of Fundraising and Director of Community Outreach to spearhead organization of  Fashion for a Passion, Groundbreakers Speak, Cocktails for a Cause and any other programming/charity events throughout the year. 2. Research and recruit for designers, artists, musicians, speakers (event participants) 3. Research and secure venue, vendors and volunteer team. 4. In charge of day of logistics. 5. Proven event planning experience a must.

 

Social Media Chair (non Board)

1. Work with Marketing/Public Relations and Community Outreach Directors to  maintain active and regular presence via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube/Vimeo, website/blog, etc) to increase public awareness and promotion of organization. 2. Increase search engine optimization. 3. Comprehension of all forms of social media a must. 4. Reports to Director or Marketing/Public Relations

Graphic Designer (non Board)

1. Design printed and online marketing collateral, including brochures, display signage, press packets, email campaigns. 2. Knowledge of Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator a must. 3. Reports to Director(s) of Marketing/Public Relations.

 

Historian (non Board)

1. Photographer/videographer to document ATG’s on-going activities. 2. Create scrapbook and year-end photo/video montage. 3. Attendance at all events is mandatory. 4. Reports to Director(s) of Marketing/Public Relations

 

Street Team (non Board)

1. Assist with Marketing/PR team to help with promotion of organization and fundraising efforts through social media, community outreach and annual charity events. 2. Attend and assist at annual community festivals.

 

Please fill out and return the 2013 ATG Board Application along with your cover letter and resume to Tammy@thebabylift.com by Friday, December 7th. Board elections will be held end of December and announced before the New Year.

Mark your calendar also for the 2013 ATG Board Retreat, a mandatory half day introduction/training that will take place either Saturday, January 5th or Sunday, January 6th.

A Time to Lead: A Message from ATG President Tammy Nguyen Lee

President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee

I was honored to be asked to be the keynote speaker at the SMU Crain All-University Leadership Conference, which took place on Saturday, February 4th just a few hours north of Dallas at the Tanglewood Resort in Pottsboro, Texas. This was a wonderful opportunity to get a chance to speak to young leaders from all over the campus who had come together for a weekend of inspiration. Although I was given several months notice to prepare for this event, actually coming up with a speech that would address this incredibly broad topic in a way that would be relevant and impactful to this young audience of student leaders was a bit of a challenge. It wasn’t until I watched an episode of American Idol that inspiration came (just goes to show you, you never know how or when inspiration will hit). I wanted to share this message of leadership with all of you:

This year’s leadership conference theme is “Leadership: Is it in you?” Well, for me, leadership has been the fabric of who I am. 

Let me give you some background on some pivotal events that shaped my life – I came to this country as a boat person, less than 18 months old, a refugee from the bitter aftermath of the Vietnam War. My mother, in her early 20s, was from a well-to do educated, upper middle class family. Bravely, she had decided to escape her home country with a 3 month-old child for the opportunity for a better life. Under the communist regime, she would not be given the opportunity for a higher education and was forced to work in labor camps.  Risking the unknown on the South China seas with an infant, she bravely set out to find a better path for us.  We spent over a year in a refugee camp before being sponsored over to the U.S. by a church in Maryland. 

Although I was less than two years-old when we arrived, the significance of getting the chance to start over with very little was never lost on me and has always defined our family’s lives and perspective. If you understand this, you appreciate all that this country can offer, as well as the enormity of the responsibility we have to our community and family overseas in Vietnam and here. As the first-born child of an immigrant family, we had to sacrifice so much, so working hard to achieve was a given. And it was in that way that leadership in me began.

From a young age, my mom taught me that ‘right and responsibility go hand in hand.’ So, even as a child growing up, I did what was needed to be done – in my family, in school, in the community…to help, to affect change, to make a difference.  It was our responsibility, because we were given this right to freedom.

As a young adult, my values and my sense of identity evolved. Up until that point, I always wanted to fit into the mainstream…and as an Asian American, like many of us that are bi-cultural, that really is a challenge. How do you fit in when you look so different? There was the racism and the identity issues. I learned to express myself and find my voice through writing and through Theatre. I became curious about how I was different and embraced my uniqueness.  Instead of becoming something my parents expected and wanted of me (like to be a lawyer, as they still do this day), I chose a different path for myself. That need to express myself became my career path – to become a filmmaker, to tell stories that would educate and inspire others. Being a leader is often about taking the road less traveled, being a pioneer, and as a Vietnamese female, I began the path down the road so few had traveled before, lighting the way for others to follow.

By the time I entered SMU, I already had a dream of how I could make my mark, how I wanted to change the world – through film and philanthropy.  Coming to SMU and being involved in student activities gave me an even deeper understanding of people and how to be a better leader. On campus, I was the President of the East Asian Student Association and Chair of Program Council Films. I served on the Board of Asian Council and was an active member of many other organizations like VSA, Student Filmmakers Association, even wrote for the Daily Campus.   I got a chance to flex my vision, learn about what I stood for, tested my beliefs. I learned how to plan and program events, how to deal with people and how not to, how to listen. I had a great time and made wonderful memories. I made lasting relationships with those I still work with today. Having these experiences and skills were critical to my work today as a producer and in my charity work.  The more I was involved, the more I found out just what my unique skills were, what my voice was, and how I could continue to help others.  My experience as a leader on campus became a springboard for what I would do later in life.

After graduation, I became actively involved with the Vietnamese Community of Greater Dallas. It was there, while directing a play, that I heard about Operation Babylift, a topic that would later come back to redefine my life. I was accepted to study at the prestigious UCLA Producers Program, and it was upon graduation that I was given a grant to start developing my documentary. Nearly five years later, it was done, but it wasn’t without a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I’ll tell you this, I used every skill I learned as a student leader.  Out of Operation Babylift was born another dream – the creation of our non-profit, Against The Grain Productions. 

With our non-profit, I have found a way to combine all the things I love and dreamed about – creating media that will enlighten, engage, inspire and educate others.  In addition, we raise money to help needy orphanages in Vietnam – those who have no one looking out for them, so that they can have a future, like I was given.  On top of that, we have committed three scholarships this year –we are giving two $1,000 Artistic Scholarships for exemplary Asian American students pursuing a degree in the arts, to help those who dreamed like me. One of the last year’s winners is a SMU student! The other is the Sunna Lee Leadership Scholarship, a $5,000 scholarship for an Asian American student who has exhibited outstanding leadership ability. I’m so proud of this organization, because not only does it allow me to give back, it is a place where we are growing more leaders, many of whom I am honored to say, I have served with while at SMU. 

My husband, who is a West Point graduate, former Army captan and Ranger, says that ‘great leadership comes from hardship.’ I tend to agree. What are some of the qualities of a great leader? Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • #1 Persistence of Vision and Innovation – You have to have a vision and follow it fearlessly. Being bold, thinking not just out of the box, but strategically to know where is your goal and how you will get there. What are your priorities? What’s your game plan? Seeing how things have been done and where things need to change for the better. I think this has probably always been my #1 strength, next to…
  • #2 Passion – Having a fire in your belly that drives you forward in the face of adversity. It will power your drive, dedication, perseverance and commitment.
  • #3 Be a good and compassionate listener – For me, being of strong mind and strong vision, one of the hardest things was learning to be open to the opinions of others when they differ from my own (just ask my husband!) You may just learn something that can make you a better leader. Being a dictator is one way to get results, but it won’t make you a great leader. It’s a surefire way to alienate yourself and get you on the road to zero productivity and a coup!
  • #4 Have confidence in your vision – But prepare yourself to have a thick skin for any criticism that may come. Have no fear of what people will say, of being involved in controversy, of hearing negativity and the discomfort that comes with it. Leadership isn’t always about popularity.
  • #5 Resourcefulness – Who is your team?  Who do you know that can help you? Who is in your network? Who shares your vision? What partners are going to help you achieve your goals? Not taking no for an answer. If you hear no, what’s the back-up plan? How can you turn it into a ‘yes?’
  • #6 Have great communication – whether written or verbal, use your voice in a way that others will hear you and be influenced by your message.
  • #7 Building a strong team – you can’t do it alone. What’s a leader without those who follow? Nurture and strengthen these relationships. Grow their skills. Learn how to let others lead and shine, too.
  • #8 Being effective and getting results – Your track record is your credibility that allows people to trust you.
  • #9 Honesty and integrity Again – no one wants a leader they can’t trust.
  • #10 Doing the dirty work ­– Being a leader isn’t always a glamorous job. You have to take the initiative to do the job, get it done, get it done right, even when no one else wants to. You can’t just delegate – you have to set the example.

As a producer, as the founder of a charity now, and as a leader, these are values that I hold dear. Thinking about some of these fundamental questions and what the answers are will help you, no matter what field you plan to enter.

Being a leader is not about a title – it’s about a commitment to serve. It’s not just something you stick on your resume, it’s for your life and the lives of others. And remember, you don’t need a title to be a leader.

What you are doing now is getting to learn about yourself and what’s important to your life —  whether that’s your values, your career or your sense of identity. You’re learning also about other people’s cultures, to develop your own career interests and to help other people. Because how you can you truly serve your community if you do not understand yourself and them? 

As leaders, you are given an extra responsibility. Dare to believe…but be prepared to work your butt off.  There will be physical challenges. There will be mental and emotional challenges. Serve honestly, fairly, with innovation and integrity. It’s a hard journey not for the faint of heart, and you have to love it.

I’m a female and a minority in an industry that has had very little fair representation of either. My dream was to be able to make an impact on the world with the stories I had to tell, stories that I felt would better help people understand the human condition. Whether I consciously set out to at the time or not, I became a leader.

Now, I’m a mother…with another child soon on the way. I think about all the things I have done as a community leader, and what are the values and lessons that I will teach my children. I don’t think they are that different than what I’m telling you now. In every way, in every day, I think of how can I pay it forward to my best ability. That is the way I can lead. I tell you this story about my life because this was my path to leadership. Each of you will have a different path.

As leaders, you are coming to figure out who you are, your style, your goals and in the next few years, you will be put to the test. People will ask you, “what are you all about, what do you want to do?”  What are you going to tell them?

The question is not “is leadership in you?” It’s “how is leadership in you?” …Don’t be afraid of the obstacles that will come your way. Like many leaders who have gone before you, face them bravely, because in the end, that’s the only way you will achieve your dreams. I hope you continue to work towards your dreams, and I look forward to seeing what you will do!

 

 

Year-End Greetings & Thank You

2011 is coming to a close, and as we look back at the many blessings this year has brought, we are grateful for all the support we have received. With your generous contributions, we achieved many ambitious goals.

2011 Fashion for a Passion

Throughout the year, we partnered with California Pizza Kitchen, Pinkberry and Panda Express for “dine for a cause” fundraisers, which allowed us to have fun, eat, and raise money for our organization. We hosted our 3rd annual Fashion for a Passion, showcasing the talents of seven amazing designers, five musical performers and nine exhibiting artists. Our spectacular event was attended by over 300 guests and raised over $20,000 for orphanage aid, outreach programs and the ATG Artistic Scholarship Fund for Asian American students pursuing a degree in the arts. We not only exceeded our goal, we made a record, doubling the amount raised from 2010!

Our documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, continues to receive accolades and screen at events across the world, from Florida to Australia.  We have plans to go even wider with distribution in the coming year to help the film find its audience and bring more awareness to this unique group of people.

Dragon Boat, Kite & Lantern Festival

And as always, we participated in local and national community festivals, including the GDAACC May Festival, World Festival and we even had our first team of rowers at the DFW Dragon Boat, Kite and Lantern Festival.  Our ATG Rowers did pretty well the first time round, and our hope is to practice and become even stronger and better next year!

Supported orphanages in Vietnam

In addition to promoting education, cultural awareness and Asian American artists, one of our organization’s most important missions is outreach. This year, we provided scholarship to 5 young adoptees to attend culture camps at Catalyst Culture Camp and Vietnamese Heritage Camp, two Artistic Scholarships to deserving and talented young Asian American students and continued aid to orphanages in Vietnam that serve hundreds of children, sending needed food, milk, toys and educational assistance.

We are so blessed to have a hard working and Board and team of volunteers who devote their time unpaid to our organization.  Even though we are a small group, we hope we can and are making a big difference. Thank you for your support to help us achieve these goals. Please continue to be an active participant in our mission to achieve “One Voice. Many Stories.” Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and all the best in 2012!

Cheers!

Tammy Nguyen Lee
President/Founder