I've had some of the best couple of weeks in a very long time! Coming back from a long flight to give a talk at the Vietnamese American Bar Association (VABA) and then last Wednesday attended my first board meeting of a non-profit – the Vietnamese Friendship Association (VFA). To further cap it off, a few days later I attended the Seattle Asian Bar Association banquet where VFA was honored with a Community Service Award. Needless to say it has been a fun couple of weeks!
After eating my “carat” cake last Wednesday for dinner, I met most of the board members. Everyone was really cool and genuinely passionate about the organization and all the various community programs sponsored and supported by VFA. Being the “new guy”, I just sat back and tried to soak it all in. I’ve done some 1-2 day volunteer work in the past but nothing like this.
No less than a few minutes in, I learned quickly how professional they all conducted themselves. The meeting was led by Mary Nguyen, an accomplished community organizer herself and VFA Board President, with a great personality and sense of humor. It was no surprise that all the board members had the same charm and disposition. Most importantly I observed how passionate each one was to the mission of VFA! That resonated with me and aligns with my aspirations of becoming the best community and corporate speaker I can be -- spreading stories of courage, hope and resiliency. I may speak of these stories, but VFA is actually carrying out amazing programs to help foster and inspire “courage, hope and resiliency” in everyone who needs it!
On Friday, 11/23, I attended with James Hong, VFA Executive Director, and Michelle Pham, Vice Chair and an accomplished attorney herself, the annual gala banquet for the Asian Bar Association of Washington and ABA Student Scholarship Foundation. Being the “new guy” I had no clue that the VFA was to receive a Community Service Award so was pleasantly surprised to see Michelle give a heartfelt speech and James receiving the award on behalf of VFA. This award comes on the heels of receiving, in August, the Community Innovation Award for VFA’s work in developing the Hoa Mai Bilingual preschool. Needless to say I joined the right non-profit.
What I have learned in the corporate “for profit” world is team work, team work, team work. It’s the people behind the vision, mission, products and services. Without smart and passionate people driving your projects and initiatives – you go nowhere fast! In the coming months, I hope to learn more about this organization not so much for its cause and mission (that’s the product and it’s a good product now). I want to add more value in the areas of team work so that we produce an even greater product for the community in the months and years ahead. I am proud to be a part of the Vietnamese Friendship Association and looking forward to working with the Seattle and surrounding communities. Talking and sharing stories is one thing… you also have to walk the part. I look forward to it all.
What is the one thing you are most passionate about in life? If you haven’t done so already, consider sharing your time, resources, expertise and skills to teach someone else who might have the same passion and/or need a helping hand to get started.
Miki is a renowned motivational speaker and author. He appeared in the 2015 Oscar nominated film "The Last Days in Vietnam" directed and produced by Rory Kennedy, the youngest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. He often speaks to others on the ways in which they can better their lives. His history is well documented in the documentary that shares the amazing story of his father Ba Van Nguyen and his bravery during the last few days in the Fall of Saigon. His message is one of enlightenment and courage. Miki has overcome many obstacles as he and his family worked hard to create a life in the United States while their homeland was being torn apart. Through his father’s example of courage and commitment to a better life for his family Miki is inspired to be the best he can be and be of service to others by sharing his and his family’s experiences in an effort to give hope to all refugees who take the enormous risks of leaving everything behind in hopes of a better life.
Miki is available for speaking engagements on a number of topics and also has a new book to be published soon that will offer instruction and inspiration through the recanting of his life and his experiences in this extraordinary world we all call home. For more information visit http://www.mikinguyen.com