I was born and raised in Vietnam, and I came here when I was 12 years old. I was always open to new opportunities, so I applied for America Needs You. Once I entered ANY, my life changed.
The workshops really helped bring out the best of me. They helped me understand how to pitch myself, how to brand myself, and figure out my career. They also took me out of my comfort zone. During those two years, I was able to get four internships. Without ANY pushing me, I wouldn’t have been applying to five internships or more per week or had a network of people supporting me.
A lot of people apply for jobs, but not many get to the interviews. With the skills I learned from ANY, I always ace my interviews no matter what.
In the beginning, I barely talked to anyone. But then I met my Mentor Coach, and she motivated me to stand up for myself, have more confidence, and speak my mind. We were different, but even though she wasn’t on the same career path that I was, we clicked right away.
After we graduated the program, we became closer because we understood each other’s struggles. [In addition to working our full-time jobs], she started a business, and I created my own brand. So we helped each other out on that. We traveled to Europe together last year. We have a really strong relationship, and ANY really did that.
I graduated with a double major in Marketing and Hospitality Management. My first role was running a marketing department at a small firm. Now I am an e-commerce manager for a toy startup – it’s a role I had never expected for myself, but I fell in love with the company and what they represent. It’s really fulfilling my potential.
My biggest accomplishment is finding my personal branding and being able to talk about it with the skill set that ANY gave to me. Recently, I started my own brand from scratch. I do everything from finance and operations to shipping and designing. I started this brand to spread self-love, but also to help myself learn and gain more opportunities and network. I’m always going to keep learning, and I’m always going to get better.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without ANY. That’s why this year, I became an ANY Mentor Coach. I want to give back and help others get where I’m at today. I was in the same spot [the Fellows] are, I understand the struggle of being in college with no help. No one can be a perfect mentor, but I feel like I can resonate with a lot of people. I actually came back with a few other friends from my cohort. We decided ANY needed our help, too, so here we are.
ANY is really important. It was like my family to me, and I still have a connection. The people I met through ANY are very genuine, they are always open to help you get you to where you want to be and support you no matter where you are. I can always come back to ANY for help.