Lynda Tran Featured on GlassCeiling.com
WASHINGTON, DC - Lynda Tran, a partner at 270 Strategies, is the latest professional woman to be featured as part of Glassceiling.com's running series on female leaders. Lynda shared her personal story, discussed balancing family and career, and talked about effective leadership. Glassceiling is a website devoted to expanding opportunities for women in business.
[Q&A] Lynda Tran: Maintain Your Humble Swagger
Q: You recently posted a tweet that read, "Dear world: More joy, less turmoil please. I'm trying to bring up two kids in this mess." Am I right in thinking that the twin poles of your life are your family and your desire to make this a better world?
A: I don't know how it is for other parents, but for me becoming a mom really put my life and priorities into sharp perspective. When you hold your child in your arms, you realize pretty quickly what's truly important. So I'm very clear that my family comes first.
That said, I've also spent my life trying really hard to make a difference. I always knew I wanted to be part of something larger than myself. I grew up inspired by stories of my mother's parents - who had served the last emperor of Vietnam and launched a successful firecracker company, respectively, in the first quarter of the last century - and by the journey my grandmother, mother, and father made to this country at the close of the Vietnam War. These stories taught me about dreaming, achieving, and starting over again no matter what the challenges or how bad the odds. And they taught me to believe in justice - and to always, always hope for the better.
My family stayed in Vietnam until the end of the war; they were among the last to leave in 1975 and they did so with nothing but the clothes on their backs. When they arrived in this country, they dove right in, trying to help their fellow refugees. My mother initially worked for the Red Cross as a translator helping process Vietnamese refugees through Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. They later made their way to Maryland to join my aunt and her family where they eventually had my brother and me. When times grew tough and jobs were scarce, we moved to Texas to be part of the refugee community there.
Both of my parents worked very hard. My mom worked multiple jobs throughout my childhood, and my dad did everything from selling real estate to working as a machine operator in a plastics factory in 120-degree heat. They did that because they wanted to put a roof over our heads, but also because they wanted my brother and me to have a chance for something better. My parents believed in the American Dream and my brother and I are the embodiment of that.
Through it all, my parents taught me that I could be whatever I wanted to be as long as I worked hard. But I also learned that it's important to make a contribution to the community in which you live. Years after they became American citizens themselves, they remained politically active, organizing meetings in their community and strategizing about ways they could democratize Vietnam one day.
I went along to those meetings, which were held after hours at local restaurants and community centers. My brother and I would sit under tables and chairs stacked up in the back of the room pretending it was a fort. All the while we'd be hearing these passionate and committed people making plans and organizing themselves to bring change to their community.
That was the model I had. These days I spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of model I am setting for my own children.
Read the full interview here