Category: Against the Grain Productions

Congratulations to the 2020 ATG Scholarship Winners

Through our Scholarship Program, ATG proudly awards Artistic, Groundbreaker Leadership, #LiveLikeLyly and the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarships to a select group of amazing Asian American high school seniors, college undergraduate and graduate school students who are shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. Since 2011, we have awarded more than $76,500 in scholarships. Our selection committee reviews a combination of criteria: GPA, extracurricular activities, portfolio, essay, and letters of recommendation. Finalists were given a phone interview. During this pandemic year, ATG awarded $6,500 in scholarships to 5 outstanding students.

The Scholarships Committee was led by Co-Directors of Community Outreach Hue Dao and Lisa Tran. Hue Dao has served on the Board since she was a college graduate. Said Hue, “We received over 300 applications this year. The quality of the applicants is the most competitive we have seen in the nine years since we started the program. These students are vibrant, hardworking and inspirational. This year, more than ever, students are seeking out scholarship opportunities. We are thrilled to help meet some of this demand with the help of our generous donors and supporters.”

Lisa Tran also serves as ATG’s Advisor to Thailand and professionally as Managing Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at SMU Cox School of Business. Said Lisa, “We had a record number of applicants this year, and the high caliber of talent continues to inspire me every year. As I reviewed the applications, I am confident that many of the students will be leaders one day. Knowing that ATG has played a part in the students’ educational and career successes is why I love serving as a board member. Thank you to our generous donors who allow us to offer scholarships to Asian American students. ”

Tammy Nguyen Lee, ATG Co-Founder/President, created these unique scholarships with the intention to support AAPI youth and give hope. Said Tammy, “Each year, getting to see what our AAPI youth have done and dream to achieve is truly inspiring. From my own experience, I know how much a scholarship can impact and provide meaning to a young student’s confidence and future. I have every faith that these exceptional students will make positive contributions to our community in ways that we can only imagine. Through our scholarship fund, we are making an invaluable investment in our future and changing our narrative. ATG is very grateful to our scholarship review committee of Hue Dao, Lisa Tran, Carol Nguyen, and Nikki Dương Koenig, as well as our generous scholarship donors like Bruce and Pat McRae and Ranier and Grace Pabilona for helping us keep alive the spirit of what it means to go Against The Grain.”

We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners…

  • Esther Cha – Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
  • Emma Ne – Artistic Scholarship
  • Jenny Lin – Bruce & Pat McRae Groundbreaker Scholarship
  • Socheat Tauch – #LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship
  • Elizabeth Duong Lê – Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship

Esther Cha | Carrollton, TX | 21 years old | GPA: 3.82 | University of Southern California |Business Administration | Korean

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ means to take action in the now and not wait for circumstances to become easier or better. It means to boldly and wisely use my resources and privileges to give a voice to those in my community. To me, that has meant to go beyond the traditional paths of business and explore innovative solutions for our world’s most pressing social issues.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“After learning of the rising college homelessness issue in Los Angeles, I began my ‘Against The Grain’ journey by asking one simple question: ‘What can I do to help?’ Since then, I co-founded Trojan Shelter, a homeless shelter specifically for college students by securing a location in LA’s Koreatown, recruiting over 50 volunteers and raising over $150,000. This experience has had an indelible impact on my life and showed me that I can create social impact in any position, field, or circumstance. As a student, I have done this by advocating for BIPOC talent and writers, while working at top entertainment companies, studying social entrepreneurship, and providing pro-bono consulting to nonprofit organizations. I want to continue to be a groundbreaker in my community by pursuing my dream of starting a social enterprise business that employs those experiencing homelessness, while providing them with resources such as food, housing assistance, job training, and mental health resources. Using my marketing and entertainment background, I hope to change people’s perspectives by leveraging my passion for storytelling to make stronger arguments for combatting homelessness.”

Emma Nebeker | Austin, TX | 18 years old | GPA: 3.92 | Art Center College of Design | Animation & Digital Arts | Taiwanese/Caucasian

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ means never leaving one grain of rice in the bowl, and it certainly never means rejecting the rice scooped into it. It means swimming against the tsunami of stereotypes, pridefully carrying alongside us the noodles, rice, dumplings, or curry that our parents made us, while we work hard to undo the coursing tidal waves of prejudice against us Asians and Asian Americans. It means introducing our newest works to the world, thanking our parents and our greatest challengers for the firmest iterations of where we come from, and why we are so driven to succeed.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I go ‘Against The Grain’ by breathing my life into my work. I am an animator: I bring motion to still figures and emotion from my greatest personal struggles into my characters. I do not stay complacent with the far and few animated features that include Asians and Asian Americans. I will not rely on others to include a culture often excluded from mainstream media. I continue to work hard to feature characters of Asian descent and their experiences: with culture shock, with a parent’s struggle to assimilate into the society they immigrated to, a child’s struggle to learn their mother tongue, of adolescents wrestling with what lunch to bring to school—’a bland and non smelly PB&J? Or the shui jiao that my mom worked so hard to cook for me last night?’—all of these experiences, I will include. I will not stop until the whole world understands why a bowl of fruit or the phrase, ‘Come eat!’ can double as an apology. I will go ‘Against The Grain’ of western entertainment to introduce the sharp realities and subtle beauties of Asian culture.”

Jenny Lin | Los Angeles, CA | 30 years old | GPA: 3.65 | School of Visual Arts | Design for Social Innovation | Chinese

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“To go ‘Against The Grain’ means to build your self confidence: that despite what others see, you might see something different, and that difference is worth pursuing. It is easy to doubt yourself when the world doesn’t reflect your vision. You begin the journey by understanding who you are and by standing up for your self worth. Grounding yourself is absolutely essential, because even if you fail, you never know who you will inspire along the way.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“For a long time, I did not trust my own voice.

My upbringing as a Chinese American taught me the traditional values of obedience and filial piety. While my parents are loving people, their world view was molded by a troubled society. When I left my upper-middle class family to attend college, I learned about the injustices happening to others less fortunate. I saw gentrification, criminalization, and dead ends for brilliant people. I started using my voice to speak up and act. I became active in my local Chinatown grassroots organization to fight against Wal-Mart and greedy developers. I used art to share stories and build new narratives. I learned UX to understand how we can use technology to build tools for change.

For me, choosing to go ‘Against The Grain’ means to actively challenge my parents’ and societal norms to pursue justice. Today, I trust my voice, because I see the change it can bring. I continue to build my voice by pushing my boundaries, building my leadership skills, and investigating the possibilities of better worlds.”

Socheat Tauch | Troutdale, OR | 28 years old | GPA: 3.61 | University of Oregon | Sports Product Management | Cambodian

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ means to individually and spiritually break free from the constraints of cultural, societal, and family norms. It’s about breaking your safety and comfort barrier, standing up for what you truly believe in, and striving toward your dreams. It’s challenging the status quo, empowering others, while giving back to the community, and acting as an agent of change. Moreover, it also means taking a risk to address the underlying issues with a systems-thinking approach, fused with creative, sustainable, and innovative steps in developing fair and equitable solutions.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I am the friction within the Cambodian community in Oregon. Everyday, I challenge the Khmer expectation and the model minority myth that Asian Americans are good at math, musically-inclined, and have life-long careers as doctors, pharmacists, attorneys, and business people. There isn’t much room for creativity, art, or design within my community spaces. However, through several graphic design projects over 5 years, I represented myself as a designer within my community, and through my professional role, I was able to serve as an example that creativity does hold value and merit in society.

I am also the very same designer that creates friction within the sports product industry, too. Entering the apparel industry confronts the stigmatization that Khmers are known as “cheap and expendable” garment labor. Because of the exploitative practices in Cambodia, we have always historically been at the bottom. This representation is very important to me because I strive to be the example that uplift Khmers as more than factory laborers, but show that we can hold creative decision-making roles as apparel designers, product developers, and mid-to-senior level managers and directors, too.”

Elizabeth Duong Lê | Capitol Heights, MD | 22 years old | GPA: 3.77 | George Washington University | Security Policy Studies | Vietnamese 

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“To me, going Against The Grain’ is taking the road less traveled and withstanding the pains of criticism as well as fears of unfamiliarity, while paving a path for the generations who come after. Going ‘Against The Grain’ means striving to be the difference, even if it means standing alone. Those who go ‘Against The Grain’ accept risk and are willing to sacrifice completely for the opportunity to pursue a more authentic life, achieve excellence, be truly free, and fulfill what is unique to their soul and purpose.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I went ‘Against The Grain’ when I understood that healing transgenerational trauma and understanding familial history were both prerequisites to breaking the cycle of poverty for my refugee family. I’m the youngest of five, born fifteen years after and the first to graduate college, completing undergraduate with a 4.0 GPA and earning a fellowship to pursue graduate studies. I broke ground by dedicating myself to a purpose larger than myself. Growing up, my household’s dysfunction made it difficult to believe in a world outside of one plagued by self-destruction and unhealthy survival tactics. However, with an innate compulsion to bring betterment where I notice a lack thereof, I challenged myself to rise above the emotional and intellectual naivety present in my milieu. Doing so allowed me to undertake a rigorous journey, in which I would break ground, examine the conditions my family has survived, and dedicate myself to conflict resolution efforts and the alleviation of human suffering. I didn’t make it to where I am today because of where I come from; I made it despite where I come from.”

2019 Heritage Camp Recap – “Sights and Sounds of SEAPI”

Opening Ceremony at Assembly Hall

ATG Co-Director of Community Outreach Hue Dao and Ambassador Carol Nguyen returned to participate as workshop presenters at the Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp (SEAPI) on August 1-4. This is their shared experience at camp and how the ATG team made an impact on this year’s events.

“We were given such a warm welcome on our return to SEAPI Heritage Camp this year. Many organizers and parents were excited to be assigned to help us teach NINE workshops throughout the weekend. We were told that being ATG assistants are a coveted role each year! This was the first time we were teaching in the Longhouse cabin, which was a challenging space due to it not being a true kitchen. However, our coordinator Kristi Kremer made sure we had everything we needed way in advance, and the space was set-up with butane burners, pans, and all the cooking utensils for class.

We taught a diverse range of ages, 1st graders to high schoolers, and a few cooking classes for adults. The theme for 2019 was “Sights & Sounds of SEAPI,” so we spoke about how along with our sense of taste, the senses of sight and hearing also play important roles in how we enjoy eating food. The goal was for everyone to make and decorate a stuffed rice balls that would then be judged on use of color, texture, and creativity. Some of the techniques we taught were how to flip food in a pan, seasoning the filling, stuffing the rice balls, and prepping veggies a variety of ways to enable fun decorations. We were even taught our adult campers how to make puffed rice noodles! The process for each workshop included: 1) make the stuffed rice balls, 2) decorate the base and anchor of the plate, 3) decorate the rice balls. We were so impressed by all the fun creations (many cute animals)! We were touched when several parents came to us afterwards to say that their kids were excited to try making them together at home. After our final workshop, we still had toasted almonds left, so we taught an impromptu class on how to make a smoky/salty almond brittle.

Songkran Time!

The schedule on Saturday allowed a few free hours for Hue to participate in the annual and epic Songkran (water balloon fight)! The ability to breathe in fresh air, view mountains in the background, and delightfully chuck a water balloon at your camp bestie as they are distracted while refilling their water canon — pure delight.

As the camp continues to grow and incorporate more culture from other countries in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands, we continually meet and connect with other organizations and families that help bring authenticity to the camp. On Friday night, we were invited to the Thai cabin, and were treated to a delicious homemade meal of larb and Thai beef jerky. After a lovely conversation that lasted well into the evening, their generosity extended to giving us their extra garlic for our workshop, and a full bag of homegrown mint. On Saturday, we were invited to the Filipino cabin for a traditional boodle fight. The preparation for this bounty had taken all day and included fresh fruits (pineapple, jack fruit, mangos), fried fish, panic, chicken adobo, beef and vegetable stir fry, lumpia, purple potato, stews, cassava cakes, and fried coconut mochi. It was a feast for our eyes and our souls. 

Packed room for the dragon dance!

The final night was as festive as ever. The gala showcased a huge team of dragon and lion dancers, a hip hop dance troupe from California, and a hilarious skit performed by the campers. The goodbyes were emotional as we see them all growing up each year, standing taller, and asking more poignant questions. As always, we were humbled to be asked to share our knowledge with Heritage Camp. But we will always lovingly play our part in teaching and encouraging pride in heritage and identity.”

Support our efforts at Camp by donating today!

Going Against The Grain: Uyen Vuong

Uyen was born in Nha Trang City, Vietnam. She grew up in a tailoring/design school, within walking distance to the beach. Her creativity seed was planted by her parents at a young age. With fabric remnants, her father meticulously crafted unique patchwork garments for her wardrobe. She sported them with pride knowing that every piece was one of a kind and made only for her. Uyen’s love for colors, contrast, and asymmetry stemmed from her extraordinary childhood. Her appreciation for one of a kind art was what drew her to marble painting. Her work is inspired by vivid memories of sandy beaches, deep blue ocean, golden rice fields, high cliffs, waterfalls and natural lakes hidden in tropical forests. Most important were memories of her hardworking parents and endless summers roaming in nature with her brothers. This was where Uyen’s Color Tales began. It was her way of expressing her deepest thoughts and bringing her fondest memories to life.

Instagram: @thecolortales

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Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid Update: The Philippines

ATG was able to provide $2,100 to support underprivileged children in the Philippines recently with the remaining $900 still in process of being disbursed. Thanks to the help of ATG Co-Director of Programming/Events Jennifer Devany’s family and family friends, 100 kids in the province of Buhi Camarines Sur were so humbled and grateful to have received an abundance of items to meet their basic needs. The following items were provided to the children:

         – School supplies such as bag packs, notebooks, pens/pencils, note pads
         – Toiletries such as toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner
         – Clothing such as slippers, t-shirts and shorts, raincoat, umbrellas
         – Food such as noodles, sardines and milk




“There is a family of 10 children raised only by a mother. The youngest of the children has developed sclerosis. The children do not know what happened to the father,” said Cherry Rose Nachos, Jennifer’s cousin, who has been a tremendous help to distributing these items to the underprivileged children. Cherry Rose interviewed a seven year-old child who has three siblings and who are all being taken care of by their grandparents. She, too, does not know what happened to their parents. She can barely speak as she holds back tears when asked where her parents. Many thanks to your donations to help underprivileged children in need for our second disbursement to the Philippines.


Against The Grain Announces 5th Annual Groundbreakers Speak Panel


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

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

General seating tickets are $25 and student tickets with valid ID are $15 and will be on sale now through Aug. 12 at

Introducing the 2016 Groundbreakers Speak panelists:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit or #ATGProds #GroundbreakersSpeak2016 #beCAUSE

Apply Today for the 2016 ATG Board – Deadline: Dec. 4

ATG Board

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

The Ingredients of an ATG Leader and the team that makes it happen! 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 2016 Board of Directors and Ambassadors Team!



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Announcing the 2015 Fashion for a Passion Designer Line-Up


Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the presenting designer line-up for its 7th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event presented by Audi Dallas, taking place Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 for Parties in Dallas’ Design District. Handpicked by the ATG board, these designers represent an exciting mix of backgrounds, Asian American origins and design aesthetics.

“We are excited to host our 7th annual event at a fabulous new venue, 7 for Parties on Nov. 7th along with seven amazing designers. We really feel the energy of that lucky number and are preparing for an exciting show that will delight our audience,” said Against The Grain President and Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “We have a number of returning Asian American designers showing their new lines as well as a few new designers, plus a few surprises up our sleeve – all coming together to bene fit the causes we support.” Read more

ATG Presents 4th Annual Groundbreakers Speak at NAAAP National Convention


June 17, 2015 (DALLAS) – Back by popular demand, non-profit Against The Grain Productions will host their 4th Annual Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Movers and Shakers – a diverse panel of remarkable Asian American industry leaders brought together to share their inspiring personal stories and paths to success. For the first time ever, this year’s event, which promotes leadership and mentorship, will be co-hosted with the National Association of Asian American professionals of DFW (NAAAP-DFW) at the NAAAP National Convention to be held in Dallas (another first) under the theme “Resilience: Power of the Asian Leader.”

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