I always feel blessed that I have surrounded by many good people in my life. I have worked with leaders and managers who have taught me great lessons and brought many good things out of me. Today, I got the chance to chat with c Trang – my very first leader in Enouvo, who has supported me through and through over the years. Badass, Smart, and Caring are the words that instantly pop up in my mind whenever I think of c Trang. As the founder of Enouvo (along with her husband), her story has always an abundant source of motivation for me.
Yay! Let’s have the one-of-a-kind c Trang in our talk.
1. Hi chị Trang, could you introduce more about yourself to the readers? What is your superpower? And a fun fact about you.
Hi everyone, it’s me – Trang here. I was born and raised in Danang, a beautiful beach city in Central Vietnam. Later on, I was privileged enough to study in New Zealand for a year, then moved to Australia to pursue higher education with double degrees in Finance and Information Technology. Once I graduated, I continued living and working in Australia for another six years.
I was back in Vietnam in 2015, but I laid the initial foundation for my company – Enouvo, starting from 2011. It has been a journey with growing the company in the Information Technology sector to having a co-working space – Enouvo Space, to supporting clients to launch new products and services with Enosta. I am glad to see my company has continuously brought social impacts with business values, building good human resources and creating services and products that benefit our clients and end-users.
Well, my biggest superpower is having an endless source of positivity and energy. The positiveness has helped me go through tough times, creating more time to join different sports activities, developing myself by non-stop studying, obtaining new initiatives, and sharing. It is also the approach for me to regain the energy.
The fun fact about me is that I like to “give birth” to new projects. I enjoy many things in life, from technology to having a coffee shop to building community or services. Well, it is when you can connect the dots, prioritize your hobbies, and find the right sweet spots among your passion, capability, and building the business models to turn your interests into real business.
2. I am lucky to know that you have a very unique background and learning. You started learning Finance, and then changed to Computer Science. What led you to the decision of learning a very challenging major (especially for a girl) at that time?
Before 18 years old, my life was full of activities, studying, joining different clubs, or playing games. The truth was that I did not enjoy learning as much as people thought. As per my parents’ expectations, I applied and studied Finance and Banking. Information Technology was not on the desired list.
My life stepped into a new chapter since I got to study in New Zealand, then Australia. I got introduced to double degrees, which meant that you could earn two degrees within four years instead of having 1 degree after three years. I chose to study Computing (or now well-known as Computer Science nowadays) with a strong belief that I would spend extra time studying with joy and intrigue.
The learning process stimulated and helped me realize what I enjoyed the most and found relevant opportunities to leverage my capabilities. My interest in Computing was because of seeing the similarity of solving a problem by developing new products and finding the answer to a riddle in Math. I was the designer to build the solutions to solve the tough questions.
I was afraid to ask questions at first due to lacking sufficient language capability and being shy as my root from my Asian background. However, I could learn fast and be confident with my research and self-learning. I was proud of being a minority of women studying Tech among my male counterparts.
3. Despite having a promising job in Australia, you decided to move back to Danang and live here until now. I would love to know more about your story of being here in Danang as Enouvo’s founder and growing the company to today.
Two reasons led to my decision.
Firstly, despite my look, I am a sentimental person. I have always been prone to challenging things and gaining new experience, but I also like staying and working close to my loved ones and the place I grew up, and thus I enjoy being around family and friends.
Secondly, there have been abundant opportunities in Information Technology with its promising growth in Danang – my hometown. When I worked in Australia, my contribution was okay but not significant. I wanted to share my learnings and create a dynamic environment for less privileged people to gain international exposure by being a founder to a company which can bring values to society.
– Can you share further about the challenges that you have been facing in the early days?
Each year and stage comes new challenges, and as the company’s leader, I take into account and deal with each of them.
In the initial stage, it was about making sure the company operated properly. In 2011, I was pregnant while setting up the company. My husband and I were new, and thus it was tough to hire the first employee. We had to rely on our relationship to recruit people and have customers. Then in 2013, once we had a small team, we were facing how to collaborate efficiently. We managed the company with our innate skills, and thus it led to less organizing and sufficient relationship building and working with our clients.
– What were the huddles that you and your company have continued dealing with (till today)?
In 2015, it was a turning point for our family and we came back to Vietnam a bit earlier than we anticipated. It must have been fate, and we had more time to be close to my parents while focusing on building Enouvo’s team in Vietnam. Everyone in the company worked closely, and as we were small, it felt like a family. Once we had a clear growth plan, we had to deal with human resource changes as a few employees got better opportunities and left the company. The replacement was inevitable in any business, but as we created a strong bond, the change triggered my emotion. It took me some time at first to move on.
Then we grew the company to 20-25 employees. Everyone was happy in the first few years. But as one of the company’s leaders, I realized that we had to build the company in a growth direction and provide our employees with continuous challenging and learning opportunities. Since our business is like a startup with new services, human resource management is always the most challenging task for us as a leader. How to keep a team motivated, stay connected and perform better and better everyday in this Tech competitive environment is always a question since my team grew to 25 people, and now over 130 people – the same question applies.
4. What was your vision of building a tech hub and community in Danang?
When I was in Australia, I was living in Melbourne. During those years, the city was always in the top 10 best cities to live in, in the world (and even the best for a few years in a row). As I shared from the beginning, I was so proud of my home city – Danang was also voted as the best city to live in Vietnam. There was a resample of two dear and near places where I have lived. Deep in my heart, I want Danang to get more well-known and recognized by people around the globe for its beautiful nature, people, and lifted transformation in Technology.
The core of growing the city is talent and investment, and thus it is in need of having joint hands from various sources and investors. When I came back to Danang, I started to “Hooray” the cooperation of many people to develop together. Having a co-working space and building the community of developers and tech-savvy people has created the environment and place for meaningful connections in between.
5. What are the key turning points which you are proudest of in your life?
The first six months of spreading of Covid-19 in 2020 was the most challenging time. It forced my company to change by reviewing our client base, structure, and internal learning and development. It took us a lot of effort and hard work to pick up the performance and rebuild and grow our customer’s base. I am so happy and proud that our team has stayed strong with us through that challenging time. It is all about people who are capable enough to make a difference.
6. As my blog is also dedicated to young people who are looking for opportunities in their early career stage, what are your advice/ suggestions for them?
It’s about building your passion for learning and leveraging your strengths. You can start by surrounding yourself with like-minded people as the environment plays a crucial role pushing you onwards. If you are in a position where everyone is interested in studying and intriguing about obtaining new skills, you will follow and motivate yourself to keep learning. Also, join clubs and organizations to sharpen your soft skills. Hard skills ensure you work well on the job, but soft skills are the key to fastening your career progress.
7. Last but not least, can you share 3-5 podcasts/Youtube channels/books or websites that you have followed?
Yes, why not? Here are a few suggestions from my end.
– FB/Blog of co Nguyen Phi Van: www.nguyenphivan.com/ and her Books (Mo cua tuong lai, Toi Tuong Lai The Gioi)
– Web and podcast of anh Hieu: www.hieu.tv/ (before I knew of him because he was sharing about Product Management, but later he shared much more about other stuff in life and I found it’s pretty good). For example one of the podcasts I really like: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYQNUZrvnew
– Books: Lean In, Think & Grow Rich, Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman) and many more.
Being a founder is never an easy job, being a founder in Tech as a woman, a wife, a mother of two with a brave big heart seems like a summit that almost cannot go over. But c Trang hit these unbelievable goals all. As I am lucky enough to know here, I do think the key that make her one of a kind is wholeheartedly striving and loving what she is doing. I wish her and her companies all the best. Whatever she & the team are doing next, I know that it’s going to be great.
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