“Upon commemorating our scholarship fund’s 10th Anniversary milestone and seeing how much our scholarships have impacted our youth over the last decade, collaborating with an exceptional Asian American leader like Thear Suzuki who has been an advocate for positive change in our community makes so much sense,” said Against The Grain President and Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “Thear has served as ATG’s Aid Advisor to Cambodia for many years and been a longstanding supporter of our organization. Her special way of giving while lifting up others around her is what makes her so special. She exemplifies what it means to go Against The Grain with hope, courage, and humility. We are truly excited about this next step for our non-profit to help inspire a legacy of leaders like Thear.”
Thear’s personal purpose is to inspire courageous actions in others so they can lead more impactful lives. Thear is a Global Client Service Partner at EY with 25 years of professional services experience. She served clients at Accenture for 16 years and joined EY in 2012, where she has served as Regional Advisory Managing Partner and Americas Consulting Talent Leader. At EY, Thear serves on the Americas Inclusiveness Advisory Council, and she champions leadership development programs that build inclusive, innovative, and courageous leaders for the 21st century.
Thear is passionate about increasing leadership and philanthropic capacity in herself and others. She is active with organizations that develop leaders and lift up others. Thear currently serves on the Communities Foundation of Texas Board, SMU Lyle Engineering School Executive Board, the SMU Tate Lecture Series Board, the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Committee, the National Asian/Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship Board, and Co-Chair for the 50/50 Women on Boards – Dallas initiative. Thear is a member of the International Women’s Forum and United Way Women of Tocqueville. With the Texas Women’s Foundation, Thear served on the board for two terms, co-chair of the Economic Leadership Council and a proud founding member of the Orchid Giving Circle. Thear also served two board terms with the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum.
Thear is a Presidential Leadership Scholar and has received several awards, including the DCEO Corporate Excellence in Leadership, the SMU Women’s Symposium Profiles in Leadership, Women Leaders in Consulting Award, NOMI Abolitionist Award, Asian Chamber of Texas Humanitarian & Community Services Award, WING’s Mentors & Allies Award, and Thear was named one of the most powerful business leaders in North Texas 2021 and 2022 by DCEO. Thear is featured in President George W Bush’s new book, Out of Many, One – Portraits of America’s Immigrants and a contributing author to Passionately Striving in Why – An Anthology of Women Who Persevere Mightily to Live Their Purpose.
Thear earned her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with Biomedical Engineering Specialization from Southern Methodist University. She lives in Plano, Texas with her husband and their four sons.
Please share the inspiration behind the Thear Sy Suzuki R.I.S.E. Scholarship.
“At an early age I was displaced from my home in Cambodia and my family survived the Killing Fields after 4 brutal years of not knowing if we were going to live or die. Coming to a foreign land as a refugee and not speaking the language or knowing anyone, I struggled to find my identity. Though I was loved, I had negative beliefs about my value, my worth and my capabilities. I was stuck in a victim mindset and adopted a story that kept me small. It would take many years of development and with significant help from others before I unlocked my true voice and discovered how I can be an agent for positive change. I found my power. I’m speaking of the power to choose my path and live a life of commitment, meaning and purpose, focused on others. I envision a world in which all people feel free and safe to be themselves and use their gifts and talents to help others. My personal purpose is to inspire courageous actions in others so they can lead more impactful lives. The inspiration behind this scholarship is based on my own personal experience of taking actions to rise above my circumstances and negative beliefs in order to live my full potential and play a part in helping to change the world for the better.”
What do you hope to accomplish?
“I hope to encourage others towards a life of kindness, of giving back and paying it forward.”
Why is this scholarship important?
“What helped me on my journey was having people who believed in me more than I believed in myself. There are times in our lives when we need that from others. None of us makes it alone, we need each other. I owe my successes to people (many are strangers) who chose to invest in me without expecting anything in return for themselves. Rarely are we able to pay it back but we can always pay it forward.”
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill
For more information on the scholarship and to apply, visit our Thear Sy Suzuki R.I.S.E Scholarship Page.
If you would like to support our R.I.S.E. efforts, please donate and email firstname.lastname@example.org to designate your donation to this scholarship fund.
ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.