From Updates

Orphanage Update: Letter from Uu Dam regarding our gift on International Children Day

Dear ATG family,

Two days ago, PT and the children of Uu Dam went shopping for food and supplies with your volunteer using the $10 million VND that ATG sent to support Uu Dam.  All members of Uu Dam truly appreciate ATG very much.

Three children of Uu Dam have finished the high school graduation exams.  They did very well on the exams and hope to earn high marks.  They are now focusing on studying for the University entrance exam.  All the ATG’s love given to these children for all these years will motivate them to study harder on the next University entrance exam.

On the International Children Day, which is also the eighth Anniversary of the day Uu Dam was formed, Uu Dam joined forces with the local college students to organize a celebration.  PT would like to send some pictures to the ATG family with all of our love and deep gratitude.  We pray that God, Buddha will grant blessing to all ATG members and your loved ones with much health and peace.

PT

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“We All Have a Story…” Recapping the 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak

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DALLAS, TX – In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, seven trailblazing Asian Americans told their personal stories about their paths to success at Against The Grain Productions’ 2nd Annual Groundbreakers Speak event on Saturday May 11, 2013. Surrounded by the beautiful pieces at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Downtown Dallas, more than 100 guests packed into the museum’s main gallery to enjoy champagne, hors d’oeuvres and art before settling in to listen to each speaker’s TED-inspired personal presentation.  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 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:

Former Dallas Cowboy and the first Vietnamese player in the NFL, Dat Nguyen: “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.”

Director of Education at The Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dr. Karin Oen: “Maybe part of our goals in our generation is to contribute and build to create visibility across the new border whether you choose to be in the arts or entertainment.”

Vice President of Programming, Brand Integration at HGTV and DIY Network, Kent Takano: “Be prepared for the opportunity… find something you really want to do, because if you didn’t enjoy doing whatever, you’re not going to be good at it.”

Founder and CEO of Fur Face Boy, Hai Mai: “I hope my words, thoughts and passions could make the slightest difference in someone’s life. I know that the words that everyone spoke of their life definitely sparked emotions for me.”

Emmy-nominated journalist, host and KHOU news anchor, Lily Jang: “What a wonderful experience to share, learn and inspire all at the same time. We all have a story.. and ATG Productions allowed me to tell mine. I’m grateful for this experience to be among some amazing trailblazers. Can’t wait to come back!”

Lawyer, advocate and politician, Richard Jung: “Instead of being afraid to lose face, be courageous enough to make a face and make face in the direction that you want.. because you have qualities and characteristics that are going to help you succeed.”

Founder of Baal Dan Charities, Tanya Pinto: “It was an honor to be part of this event as a panelist. The sheer talent and tenacity of the speakers featured is a testament to the achievements of the Asian American citizens of Texas!”

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

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

“In a few words; it was one of the best speaking engagements I’ve attended; ‘Great life stories on self motivation and powerful accomplishments.’ – David Rico of BB&T Bank

“Uber Dallas wants to thank ATG for allowing us to be apart of this wonderful event. The Groundbreakers Speak event was truly an enlightening experience. From the beautiful setting itself to the panel discussion, all were able to get a deeper understanding of the issues past and present facing the Asian American community and the path to future growth. We look forward to future partnerships with Tammy and the ATG team!” – Leandre of Uber Dallas

 

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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Going Against The Grain: Sylvia Komatsu

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Sylvia Komatsu is executive vice president and chief content officer for KERA/KXT.  She started her career as a reporter and documentary producer covering a wide range of social, political and cultural issues.  She now oversees a content division that includes radio, television, digital media and educational services.  Sylvia conceived and developed the national Emmy Award-winning series, The U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848).  As executive and series producer, she oversaw this multimedia project, including a companion book, classroom materials and a bilingual website, which received multiple honors.  Among her many national public television credits as program executive are Sweet Tornado: Margo Jones and the American Theater, JFK: Breaking the News, Matisse & Picasso, For A Deaf Son and After Goodbye: An AIDS Story.  A native of Fort Worth, Sylvia is a graduate of HarvardUniversity and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  She and her husband, George, live in Dallas.

Full name:

Sylvia Lynn Komatsu

Hometown:

Fort Worth

Current city:

Dallas

Ethnicity:

Japanese American

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

Standing up for what you believe in.  Doing the right thing and staying true to yourself, even if it goes against social conventions.

What made you decide to pursue a career in public television?

I believe passionately in public media’s mission to create content that educates, informs and inspires.

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

Diversity matters.  It’s essential that our newsrooms reflect the communities we cover.  And while diversity includes race, ethnicity and culture, it also includes gender, age, class, sexual orientation, life experiences, points of view and more.

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

Helping to build a workplace with an incredibly talented team dedicated to excellence and public service.

What’s up next?

Expanding our local journalism.

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Sheep/Sagittarius

Passionate about: History, the arts, travel and being outdoors

 Favorite food: I love so many different foods it’s hard to single out a favorite. Plus it depends on my mood!

Can’t live without: Family and friends

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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Going Against The Grain: Joey Guila

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“If laughter is medicine, comedian Joey Guila has your prescription. A complete entertainer on stage he takes you through a journey of Old School and New School with his act outs and accents.”
 

His multicultural style of comedy hits home for all audiences, whether you watched his show in Hawaii or Hong Kong you left crying and his mission was complete. In 2003 Joey won the regional “Kings Of Comedy” competition ran by Latham Entertainment who is the founder of “The Original Kings Of Comedy” which include, 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 Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Before Comedy he was a licensed cosmetologist working at the worlds famous Jose Eber Salon in Beverly Hills. He still laughs at the fact that he was the only straight Filipino Hairdresser on Rodeo Drive. Joey has been featured on VH1, G4 Tech TV, Showtime and on HBO with P Diddy’s comedy special.

Joey has hosted two TV shows on Myx TV called “Thats My Jam” and “Myx Rated,” which recently won a Telly Award. His past guests on his shows have been Justin Bieber, PitBull, Boyz II Men, Naughty By Nature, Jason Derulo and Amerie, to name a few. He is currently the headliner on “The Filipino Kingz” Comedy Tour and also will be on the Verizon’s APAHM tour, which will be at Club Nokia in LA, The Regency in S.F. , The Fillmore Silver Theatre in Washington D.C. and in New York at The Best Buy Theatre. Lookout for his latest project coming soon, www.gearaddix.com with cohost Keiko Alingas.

 To Laugh is to Live, so Live Long and Keep Laughing….

Full Name:

Joseph Guila, Jr. or “Captain Adobo”

Hometown:

San Francisco, CA

Current City:

San Leandro, CA

Ethnicity:

Filipino, Burmese, Spanish, English, Irish and Italian

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

It is like driving the wrong way on a one way street and giving the peace sign at everyone that calls me crazy.

What made you decide to pursue a career as a comedian?

For the chicks..Hahaha j/k! Since I was a kid, I always loved to entertain my family and friends. The thought of spreading healing laughter to strangers and possibly getting paid to do so brought me excitement.

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

I learned that my material must be universal and to being able to adapt to all audiences. The biggest challenge with standup is finding your own voice, it took years to finally find out to just be me.

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

Seeing my parents in the audience of a comedy show I headlined laughing hard and having their support. Catholic school definitely paid off.

What’s up next?

I’ll be on The Filipino Kingz Of Comedy Tour and Hosting a Tech Show called “Gear Addix.”

Quote to live by: Love Thy Neighbor but turn your alarm on

Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac):

My Eastern Animal Sign is the Pig…I’m on the cusp Libra/Scorpio

Passionate about: My Facebook status updates and trimming my goatee

Favorite food: Anything with “Chow” in the name

Can’t live without: Baby Wipes and Pho

Going Against The Grain: Lily Jang

Lily Jang grew up in northwest Houston and feels so blessed to finally be back at work in her hometown. She attended Lowery Elementary, LaBay Jr. High and Langham Creek High School. Lily’s first two jobs were teaching aerobics at Gold’s Gym in Bear Creek and working as a cashier at Randalls off Highway 6.

Lily is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She landed her first on-air television news job at KFDA-TV in Amarillo. After a year there, Lily joined WIAT-TV in Birmingham, AL as anchor/reporter. In 2000, she packed her things and moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest to join Northwest Cable News as a night-time anchor. Three years later, Lily moved across the street to anchor mornings at Q13 FOX.  Lily brings to her position significant television experience in reporting and anchoring. She provided continuing coverage of the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake, 9/11, the war in Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Lily is an Emmy-nominated journalist who leads the country when it comes to social media interaction with viewers. She is an avid social media user with a loyal following on both Facebook and Twitter. Lily has been honored twice by The Huffington Post as a Twitter Powerhouse. She is a fitness fanatic who enjoys mentoring, traveling the world, trying new cuisines and micro-blogging about her adventures on Facebook. Lily is happy to donate her time and energy to worthy charity causes in the community. On a typical weekend, you’ll find her emceeing a non-profit event in the area, throwing a tweet-up or speaking on a panel about social media. Lily is also fluent in Cantonese and Vietnamese. She began her duties as KHOU 11 News This Morning anchor in late February.

Full Name:
Lily Jang
 
Hometown:
Houston
 
Current City:
Houston
 
Ethnicity:
 Chinese/Vietnamese Texan!
 
 
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
It means being the voice for the minority. Asian Americans were few and far between in the first two TV markets where I worked. I was proud to put a voice to the silent minority and represent the Asian American community, even to this day in Houston where we have the biggest Asian American population in Texas and one of the biggest Asian American populations in the country.
 
What made you decide to pursue your career path?
I wanted to be a storyteller, and everyday after 16 years in the business, I still get to do that. I wanted to make sure that Asian Americans were heard and seen and that I would be a role model for younger Asian Americans that we can pursue any career path we want to.
 
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
I feel very fortunate because being Asian American early on in my career made me different. I was the first Asian American to work in Amarillo, TX and also Birmingham, AL.  I can’t say I’ve had many struggles because of my ethnicity. I’ve been pretty blessed.
 
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
My biggest professional accomplishment is coming full circle and working in my hometown where my parents can watch me everyday. But the most important thing about my life is the network of love and friendship I’ve made. I still have best friends from 2nd grade whom I talk to on a daily basis. That’s pretty special!
 
What’s up next?
I just moved back to Houston in 2012, so I hope to continue to emcee events throughout the community and be someone they can count on to represent them.
 
Quote to live by: My religion is simple. My religion is kindness. – Dalai Lama
 
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Ox and Sagittarius
 
Passionate about: paying it forward
 
Favorite food: Korean BBQ
 
Can’t live without: My iPhone!

Hurricane Sandy Relief

ATG sends our thoughts and prayers to all our friends in the Northeast who are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Director of Community Outreach Jared Rehberg shares his perspective while experiencing the highs and lows of Hurricane Sandy.

“Greetings from the Northeast! It’s been a crazy few weeks up here with days heading toward the Presidential election and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The city of New York stopped public transportation and braced itself for uncertainty and hope for the least amount of damage. Memories of last years’ hurricane kept many people in denial and at ease from the dangers of mother nature’s wrath. The storm came into town overnight, pummeling the area. NJ got hit the hardest, but many people would have to pause to remember such fury on Long Island, Rockaway Beach, flooding on the subway lines and street. They cancelled the NYC Marathon, when running by families in Staten Island without food or shelter felt so wrong. I know this was not 9/11, but as we walked home from work over the bridge, I was told of similar feelings as we left Manhattan. For many the power is still out and cable is going to take awhile to be restored. House and towns on the Jersey shore are gone or torn to shreds along with years of memories. My heart goes out to everyone who lost loved ones and the families who will have a long road to recovery to get their lives back to normal, if there is anything normal anymore.”

FFAP Designer Joanne Hong reached out and let us know that her power is up and running since last night and got her hot water running today.

“It’s been a crazy week since Hurricane Sandy came through NYC.  I lost electricity, hot water, and heat, but luckily there was no damage to my apt.  The city never seemed to lose its energy despite the storm.  Everyone was helping one another and the sense of comradely filled the air.  I have been so blessed with all my friends and family that contacted me to make sure I was doing well and friends that offered a place for me and my roommates to stay and shower.  I was very fortunate and my thoughts and prayers go out to those that lost everything in the storm.”

Show your ATG spirit. Join us at our final Dine for a Cause Fundraiser for the year at Cindi’s NY Delicatessen this weekend, drop your receipt in the box, and ATG will donate our 25% to help victims of Hurricane Sandy via the American Red Cross. If you can’t make it but would still like to donate to our cause, please visit: http://www.againstthegrainproductions.com/donate/ to help us raise the funds.