Whether in school or at work, Duyen was always among the top of her class. Hardworking, resourceful, eager to learn, and a quick learner, Duyen delivered all the results that were expected of her. She never said no to new challenges and was always the “favorite” of her teachers and bosses. She rarely failed.
Starting her work life with different roles in communication and international business, in 2009 Duyen worked as a brand manager at ICP, the company with the No.1 male grooming brand in Vietnam X-Men, where she got real experience in brand building and brand management. She was in love with marketing. After all, it was the major she took on in college. The 10 following years saw Duyen growing in her marketing career growing such local brands as X-Men, Saigonfood, Purité, and Thuận Phát. She even created and successfully led the launch of Oliv, a female personal care brand. Oliv became the No.2 natural personal care brand for women in Vietnam after 3 years. Those were commendable achievements for a marketer. She passed the test!
In 2019, Duyen took on a new project to launch an e-commerce engine as a tech product. Duyen was excited to step into the world of tech start-ups, a fad at that time. However, after 9 months, she and the team decided to call off the project. This was her first major failure, which brought her to face the ultimate question: Is she a competent marketer? What if she’s missing all the right knowledge and experience of marketing working in these local players instead of multi-national corporations?
For years, she had been avoiding these questions. For years, she took no action to find the answers, and she stayed working within the same group of companies founded by the same entrepreneur she trusts. Finally, she decided to take a leap of faith by leaving the group, and in 2020, she became the CMO of Pharmacity, the leading pharmacy chain in Vietnam.
She was eager and optimistic to be in a new industry – retail, ready to learn, ready to contribute, and ready to prove to herself that she was competent. The job was exciting and yet challenging; Duyen always found herself not knowing enough about retail to deliver results. 11 months after, she quit that position due to a mental and health breakdown.
The second failure made Duyen conclude that all big games had a price of personal fulfillment and well-being. She decided not to take place in any of such games. Little that she knows that the universe had a different plan for her. In 2022, she was invited by Mekong Capital to join their team of Vision Fulfillers. They are playing a high-performance game of fulfilling all the visions of their investees. As excited as she was about the opportunity and the team, Duyen was afraid of going through a similar experience in her previous job. She had no experience nor much knowledge about this role. And she also knew it was what she wanted to do. In a conversation with Chris Freund, the company’s Founder, Duyen said “I have no experience in this role. I may fail”. “We don’t need your experience; we only need your being. And it’s okay if you fail, you then have off-tracks”, Chris replied.
It was the answer she needed to change her relationship with failure and how she stepped out of operating in the space of knowledge instead of being. Duyen is now a coach at Mekong Capital in the domain of Generating Breakthroughs in performance. She’s partnering with the team at Mekong Capital’s investees to build the culture and competencies of powerfully dealing with breakdowns and generating breakthroughs in the team’s performance by shifting our context and being. Duyen’s role fulfills her personal purpose of being a partner for people to be whole and complete.