Thomas Nguyen Executive Director
My name is Thomas Nguyen and I am one of the Executive Directors for the 15th Annual Vietnamese Interacting as One Conference. I am a 2013 graduate at the University of Minnesota and majored in Sociology of Law, Criminal, and Deviance. I have been involved in the VSA community for many years, including Registration Director for VIA-1 in 2013, a workshop presenter in 2015, and a Family Programming Committee member in 2016. Now being an Executive Director for the 2017 VIA-1 , i’m proud to work alongside Jillian Tran and this dedicated UVSA family in making this conference one to remember.
To me, VIA-1 is a doorway of opportunity. A chance for individuals in the Vietnamese community to grow, network, and give back. Those who have experienced VIA-1 have gained lifelong friends, leadership skills, and got in touch with their Vietnamese roots. It has personally made me feel a sense of belonging to the community. If you wish to gain all these things or more, you have to take that first step and walk through that doorway yourself. As Executive Director, my goal is to have everyone experience and see VIA-1 as I have and develop the passion and inspiration in their lives to help better society.
Name/Year/ Position. Is this your first-time being a VIA-1 director and/or attending the conference?
My name is Thomas Nguyen and I’m a graduate at the University of Minnesota Class of 2013. My position for the 15th Annual VIA-1 Conference is Co-Executive Director. This would be my second time being a director for the VIA-1 conference. My first director position was Registration at the 11th Annual Conference in Iowa. Overall, I’ve been to six VIA-1’s.
Why did you choose to take part in the planning process? Why this committee versus the other committees?
The reason why I choose to be part of the planning process back in 2013 and still continue to be part of the team today is because I believe in what the UVSA-Midwest community aims to accomplish every year at VIA-1. I wanted to give my time and energy to this organization as Executive Director and give back what VSA has given me, which is the leadership capabilities to lead an event as immense as VIA-1. In addition, I enjoy working with the young leaders involved.
Who inspires you the most?
Honestly, the people who inspire me the most are the current alumni of the VSA community. They set the example and were my mentors throughout my college years. My goal was to be as encouraging and inspirational as they were someday. I still have much to learn myself and it’s something I always strive to aim for.
Most memorable experience or favorite memory of VIA-1 so far?
My personal most memorable experience was our summer staff retreat back in August. It’s where some of the staff members met one another for the first time and all the committee visions and ideas were shared. The retreat was a reflection of our team’s spirit and pathed the way through the months of planning for the conference.
ED Question: Who is the better half?
Between Jill and myself, obviously, the better half between us as Co-Executive Directors would be Jill (because nobody says themselves are the better half). Knowing her though, she would probably say herself as well but it’s all good. In the end, none of us are necessarily the better half. We make up for each other’s weaknesses and enhance one another’s strengths.