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A Little Sweet And Full Of Flavors

With Asian Hustlers: PQ Fung, Kim Tran, June Kaewsith, and Ai Nguyen


A pastry chef in a family of military men, a weaver of stories, an advocate for women’s equality in the workplace, and a former fashion designer turned holistic life coach. These are only four out of the millions of Asian women who went against the norm and created their own stories. In this episode, we have Phuong Quach, a professional pastry chef whose parents initially wanted her to be a cook for their large family. We have Jumakae June Ka, a storytelling coach who insists on creating stories that our ancestors will be proud of. We also have Kim Tran who traded law school for marketing, branding, and advertising. Last but not the least, Ai Nguyen whose health problems in the fashion industry led her to become a life coach for holistic health. Follow the stories of these women as they journey through disobeying their family’s plan for them to becoming successful in their own rights.

Asian Hustlers: A little Sweet And Full Of Flavors with PQ Fung, Kim Tran, June Kaewsith and Ai Nguyen

Kimchi: In a moment, you will meet our guest panel and get to know them better. You will find their stories fascinating and inspiring. If you haven’t done so, please subscribe to Asian Women of Power podcast and Asian Women of Power channel. We believe that our messages and stories are worth sharing so that you don’t feel that you are alone. This is my way of empowering you and the Asian community to speak up, stand up and show up powerfully and confidently. Let’s start with PQ. Her name is also Phuong Quach, but she prefers to be called PQ. Tell us who you are and what led you to do what you do.

PQ: My name is Phuong Quach, but I prefer to go by PQ, a little bit easier for everyone to remember and easier to pronounce as well. A little bit about myself is that I am a professional pastry chef and I’ve been doing this for years. I am located in Mountain View, California, where I work at Alexander’s Patisserie. I focus a lot on traditional and modern French-style pastries with a twist of Asian-style influences, as 90% of my clientele is Asian. We tend to lean towards the less sweet desserts. My team is 90% Asian as well.

June: I am a storytelling coach based here in Long Beach, California. As a result of my coaching, I support specifically women of color in finding clarity in their message and confidence in their speaking so that their message or what I like to call their medicine can reach the masses. I’m especially passionate about supporting people who are on this path of reclaiming their ancestral wisdom and using entrepreneurship as a means of taking back their power and doing the work to make their ancestors proud. I’m excited to share more about that.

Kim: My name is Kim Tran. I am on the East Coast in the suburbs of the DC Metro area. I have been working in marketing branding and advertising for across companies, across industries. I started off in First Amendment and media loss, different from what I do and I love it. Because I was a minority woman in tech, I had experienced a lot of feelings, situations and circumstances that made me start a negotiation coaching firm called Your Work Inspires. We focus on closing the confidence gap as well as the wage gap for women, especially minority women. We start by looking at the market data, the numbers, but we also look at the psychology and the emotional aspects of the negotiation process. Thank you, Kimchi, for gathering such a great panel of women.

Kimchi: Life is about negotiation. Everything is negotiated. Ai?

Ai: My name is Ai Nguyen. I’m located in San Jose, California. I help high achievers, entrepreneurs and executives up-level themselves ten times their value and thrive in health and life. I’m an online life coach and also a director of lifestyle medicine here in a medical and wellness center called ParikhHealth. People can reach me anywhere around the world to experience some big transformations in their life or they can also find us here in San Jose for improvements in their overall wellness and lifestyle changes. I look forward to getting to share more about the work that I do.

Kimchi: This is a follow-up question for PQ. You say that Asians, we like sweets, desserts, but we don’t like it too sweet. I can relate to that. What’s the difference between Asian sweet desserts versus American sweet desserts?

PQ: Asian style desserts, we like the true flavors of ingredients to shine through like coconut or mango and not too big on adding so many extra additives and sweets to it versus American where I feel like it used a lot more butter and artificial sugars. I try to steer away from doing anything artificial and try to use the best of the ingredients, anything that is within a season. I try not to use anything out of season as well to make sure that it is the best possible representation of what I’m creating and what the team is working so hard to create as well.

Kimchi: This may be biased. What type of dessert do you like?

PQ: It’s hard to pick honestly because all of my desserts are based on my travels. A couple of my favorite ones are when I visited Thailand or Vietnam or even Hawaii, bringing with what is known for that country and trying to create it in the desserts. I find that when I respect the ingredients and respect the countries and the flavors and not try to do anything too outlandish, it’s always been well received.

Kimchi: All of your brothers are serving in the Army, to serve the government. You, the only daughter, you picked to become a pastry chef, to go to that realm. When did you start that and why? Who in your family loves to cook? You must have watched and observed somebody cook and bake before, you assist that person. That’s why you love to pursue that career. Share with us more. 

PQ: My whole family are avid cooks and I’m the only one that happened to be a baker. Throughout my time, I do have five brothers and it takes all hands on deck to try to cook for a family that big, a family of eight. My mom and I, we’re always in the kitchen, every single day, three meals a day, multi-course meals. As I got older, I said, “I like the artistic side of the pastry.” I tried to make my parents proud by going to college and everything and I still decided, “I want to do pastry.” Despite my parents arguing with me about doing everything, I said, “If I paid for my way to go to culinary school, will you guys be okay with it?” They still weren’t and they’re still a little bit apprehensive about it. After dedicating myself for years, they realize how serious I am about it.

Kimchi: I love dessert too. That’s one of my weaknesses, to lose weight. June, your story is unique. You’re talking more about making the ancestor proud. Tell us more about that. Why don’t we create a story for ourselves, but we create it so that our ancestors will be proud of our own stories?

June: Because I do storytelling coaching, essentially the way that translates to the external world is through public speaking, but none of that matters. Building a business doesn’t matter if we are first and foremost not working with the stories that we are telling ourselves and the way that that manifests in our lived reality. I feel like for many of us, especially the people who are on this, even reading PQ’s story, much of the work that we are doing is healing our relations with our parents and possibly even our grandparents or our great grandparents. I know for myself and I know this is a common experience for many people who are children of immigrants.

Our parents sacrificed so much so that we could have a better life so that we could have this privilege of choice. The pressures that come with being children of immigrants is that even though we have many more opportunities to choose a life path for ourselves, the reality is, many of our parents are going to want us to go into stable professions like being a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or a teacher. My parents still have no idea what it is I do. Throughout the years, as I focus less on trying to convince them or convert them into my world of coaching and personal development, I’ve realized that a lot of my own work has been dealing with the ways that I react to situations that otherwise may have triggered me in the past.

If I can be an embodiment of resilience and change and recognize that compassion begins with myself, then that can ripple out to all those around me. I have the healthiest relationship with my mother. It was not always that way. I was a rebellious teenager. She’s slowly starting to understand. For all of us, especially those who are in the world of entrepreneurship, we are living out perhaps the dreams and the opportunities that our parents may have never been able to pursue because they have been on the grind, maybe have never had a chance to relax. One of the biggest things for me is how I can lean more into my joy and my pleasure as a way to make my ancestors proud. All that it’s been here in the United States is the hustle and the grind. I don’t want to pass that on to my future relations. We can create a new narrative.

Kimchi: I noticed that you used the word, relation, instead of relationships. Is there a difference between those two words?

June: There’s a phrase in the Lakota tradition, which is one of the first nation tribes here in the United States, where they say, “To all my relations.” Relations for me go beyond people. It also relates to plants, to people who are our ancestors that are not of our blood lineage, to friends and I believe that all things are connected. When I think about making my ancestors proud, this is not about healing my past relationships, but my future relations and also the planet. If we can restore that, then this would resolve so much conflict and violence in the world. That’s why I use the phrase relations.

Kimchi: The world is one. What about you, Kim?

Kim: First off, I resonated so much with PQ and June’s stories. For one, I am the oldest and eldest daughter of four I have three younger brothers and I get how it is being raised in an all-boys family. Especially with June, talking about your relationship with your mother and our parents or grandparents inheriting a lot of trauma or their stories. Healing ourselves through that and creating new patterns, that was powerful to me because I have been raised in poverty. I grew up in a family with a lot of trauma, a lot of domestic violence, as well as child abuse. I grew up being a rebellious person. It wasn’t until I was much older that I started healing myself and started advocating for myself.

I wanted to chime in with that because when I first graduated, it was right into the middle of the financial recession back in 2008. I had graduated with a degree in Psychology and my parents were like, “What are you going to do with a degree in Psychology?” I went through a whole full year of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. One of my professors at the time, he was an English professor and he said, “You could be a writer but if you mind being poor, then you should go to law school.” Being that impressionable person, young, bright-eyed and also some pressure from my parents and my grandparents, I decided to work at a law firm. I hated it. I was miserable. It was not for me. It took me a long time to give up. In my mind at the time, I thought I was giving up.

Looking back, it was more of trying to please my parents, trying to make them proud, trying to make their journey of trauma and of coming over here after the Vietnam War worth it, because that’s the immigrant story. They came here for a better life for us. For me, to quit law school, to quit becoming a lawyer, I felt like I was putting them down. I also came from a background where I didn’t have the right degree. I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, all of that. There was a point where I had to rediscover myself. My path has been long, but the journey of healing and looking back is powerful.

Kimchi: Give us some examples of why you see that your niche is unique, negotiation between the wage gap as well as the confidence gap. Share with us the relationship between those two and what led you to recognize that? 

Kim: When I first graduated, it was the financial recession. It was hard to find a job, especially if you had graduated not at the top of your class or you didn’t have the right background or even the right connections. The wage gap is the sense that women, especially minority women, make $0.80 to $0.82 on a dollar compared to white, Caucasian men. For me, knowing that and being raised as the only girl in my family, there was a sense that definitely, especially in the Asian culture, my parents treated my brothers and talked to my brothers differently than to me. I was raised in terms of always being grateful to receive things, never to ask for more. I was rewarded for not asking like, “You’re being such a good girl for not asking.” In Vietnamese, the word is đợi. I wasn’t allowed to want more, to ask for more and I was rewarded for that. Because I majored in Psychology, I recognized all of those patterns.

When looking at the wage gap, I noticed that there was more than wanting to negotiate for more or wanting to ask for more. The word ‘asking’ already right off the bat implies an imbalance of power, especially in the professional corporate setting. You’re asking, that means that you’re implying you’re asking for permission, you’re asking for something. Already the power is imbalanced and you’re already putting yourself in the situation of a lesser degree. All of that played into my own experiences too, as a minority woman in marketing. It’s still a Caucasian driven world. Even though at my level, mid-level to the senior leadership level, there are a lot of women in marketing. As you go higher, such as the C-suite level, it is still Caucasian-driven, male-driven as well.

When I started talking to women, a lot of words that came out of why they weren’t negotiating, why they weren’t advocating for themselves, we’re not financially driven. We’re not numbers-driven. They used words like, “I want to be bolder. I want to be more confident. I want to be able to create the life that I want by making more money, by saving more for my kids, by making sure that I have enough money for retirement.” All of this is rooted in a psychological, emotional place. I strive to celebrate women, especially minority women, where we are taking all of our strengths, all of our experience. Celebrating who we are first, then taking those fears, taking those anxieties and leveraging them to propel us forward instead of holding us back. For a long time in my life, I let my fears hold me back and it was through a lot of coaching, therapy, healing work that I’ve learned to leverage that fear and those emotions to drive me and motivate me. It was a huge shift for me and I want to share that and teach others to do that as well.

Kimchi: The work that you do is needed. Thank you, Kim. Ai, what about you? What led you to do what you do? Tell us a little bit more about the company that you are working with. It’s unique. It’s eye-opening for me.

Ai: Kimchi, I want to say I love everybody’s story here. I can relate to how we all feel. I bet, even your previous panels before when you talk about women and what they’ve gone through, there’s a lot of similarities growing up and trying to meet certain expectations. For me, growing up, I have a traditional, conservative family. They always view women as like, “You can only do certain things.” My mom had me in her mid-40s. There was a huge gap between me and my siblings. They all felt like they had to raise me. I was always almost like an only child.

Growing up, I always felt like I had to please everybody. I wasn’t good enough and smart enough. No matter what I did, all my straight A’s, it was still not as good as all my other friends. That was always the story. They would make doubtful comments about me and it affected my self-esteem, my confidence level and created a lot of inner traumas within me, which I didn’t recognize until years ago when I got to dive deep and work on myself. That created me and I’m sure a lot of people have been through all that. I would say the biggest learning about going through all this is recognizing that you can make that your excuse for living the life where you are or use that as the power to fuel yourself and become better because that’s the story that pushed you to be where you are. That’s the second option, I chose to use my learnings, struggles and sufferings to empower people.

Creating Your Own Story: No matter how small or big, your purpose is to live a life filled with happiness.

I used to be in the fashion industry, apparel, working with clothing. I was a product developer, technical designer. I was in charge of the fit, clothing and make sure it fits well on people. I went on that route because I’ve always had this creative mind. Back in high school, we had a sewing class and we did a fashion show. I was quiet at that time, but I love being on stage and strutting down the stage and I did it and I designed two outfits and people loved that. They were like, “Who is this girl?” It was a different me. It’s a part of me that I never show unless I had the opportunity to shine like that. I chose that route.

Throughout that previous life being in fashion, I realized that I fully didn’t connect with it in a way that I thought I would. I felt very much like a worker bee and I worked hard and was not being recognized. I had so much anxiety and stress being in this fast-paced environment and it’s similar to tech. At one point, my body failed me. I got sicker and weaker, with lots of body pains and digestive pains. I said, “I have to end this.” I had to start a new life and let go of this or else three things would happen. I would either die early, have diabetes or cancer. I saw this future ahead of me and I didn’t want that. That was when I started my whole life again and went back to school to study health coaching, life coaching, nutrition and also fitness and incorporate that into my lifestyle.

I apply that work and all that learning to empower men and women in understanding themselves more and going through that self-discovery process and listening to themselves. Taking the time to hear out what your body is saying to you because our body is extremely intelligent. It will give us signs of whether it’s manifested through physical or emotional or mental pain. People get depression and anxiety or digestive issues, and that to me is because you’re not in alignment with who you truly are and where you should be. Through this change, I have this vision and for many years and I said, “I want to be a part of a wellness center and create that and allow myself to be surrounded with amazing people.” Find myself a doctor who understands integrative medicine, who understands what it’s like to heal people from the inside out and not just give them pills to heal. Somebody who is progressive and open-minded to helping patients at a deeper level of care.

I was fortunate to have found my own primary physician, Dr. Neesheet Parikh. He was expressing to me his vision and what he wanted. I was like, “This is exactly what I was envisioning for many years and this is what I want.” It’s wonderful to visualize what you want. This is my biggest learning is that believe that it can come true and be as creative as you can with what you want because once you start speaking it, those people will show up. He showed up in my life. Lifestyle Medicine is what I’m in charge of at ParikhHealth. Lifestyle Medicine is what we call it here. It is membership-based. What that means is that we don’t accept insurance for this style of medicine because it allows us to focus on you and not what insurance wants us to do for you.

When you take a look with our medical insurance and healthcare situation, insurance gets in the way of physicians practicing genuinely good care for the patients because doctors are stuck with a small amount of time to take care of their patients and then they might feel like, “I can’t recommend them this because insurance is not going to pay for the patients.” They have to be cautious about what their recommendations are. We put that aside and say, “We want to change and transform your overall lifestyle. That involves personalized care and coaching.” He’s able to spend the time working with each patient, one-on-one as much time as they need.

Kim, you could be traveling in Asia somewhere and still call-in and talk to the doctor, “I’m feeling something. I’ve been feeling this for the past month and now it’s worse.” He’s able to work with you from another country or diagnose you or coach you through whether you’re stressed or whatever it is. We’re able to make this possible and we’re trailblazers in this. I’m incorporating my life and health coaching work into this method so that people can get holistic care. Care isn’t about going to the doctor, “Let me get my annual physical.” That’s not enough to help people prevent strokes, diabetes and depression. We have to take things at the forefront and plan ahead.

Kimchi: This whole panel is passionate about that. What was the biggest challenge that you have faced and have overcome in your life?

PQ: There are two. One was the cultural expectations of my family and not going after the American dream that they still wanted for me such as becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Those are my only three options that I had to do. Despite me getting all those grades in school and everything, I did not want to do it. I truly believe, since a young age, I didn’t want to do it, but because my mom and dad immigrated here from Vietnam and I was the first one born in America and all my brothers were working hard to get those higher education degrees, I didn’t want to do it.

All of you have said that there’s a sense of disappointing them. They didn’t come all the way to America for me to do something that they didn’t want me to do. I wanted so hard to follow the path that they had laid for me, but I wanted to go on my own path. It was difficult and hard. I didn’t have the support that I needed and I wanted, but my family eventually saw that I was going to do it no matter what. My mom said I was always such a fighter. I said, “I can’t because if I am docile, I’m not your daughter.”

My mom is a fighter. She fought hard to come to America to have a better life. I want to make the most of it. I’ve discussed with you my personal quote which is, “I want to live a life of purpose.” No matter how small or big, my purpose was to live a life filled with happiness. It wasn’t for me to sit behind a desk. It wasn’t for me to sit in a lab. It wasn’t any of that. It was creating what I created. That was my biggest challenge. My second challenge was dealing with prevalent especially with my racism.

In my industry, it is European male-dominated. I’m one of only the youngest female chefs for the company. Out of our seven locations, there’s only one other female chef that’s part of it. We work hard to do what we do and we work hard to make sure that we embrace our Asian culture. We don’t push it to the side to fit the societal norms of like, “It has to be French. It has to be this way. It’s American, it has to be this way.” I’ve been told that I’m a woman, I’m already seen as weak. I’m Asian, “Aren’t Asian women supposed to be more quiet, more docile, more obedient?” I said, “Not me. I’m not one of those. I’m American, I’m Asian and I’m proud to be both. I want to be outspoken and I will continue to do so.”

Kimchi: I’m glad that you see that. We are not Asian, and we’re not purely American either. We are Asian-American. I’m happy that you recognize that.

PQ: I fully embrace it.

Kimchi: That’s what I do in my career. I coach Asian-American women to fully integrate the Western and Eastern culture so that they can learn how to speak up, show up and stand up powerfully and confidently. June, what were your biggest challenges that you have faced and overcame?

Creating Your Own Story: We live in a world of abundance where we could all succeed.

June: In my twenties, I was a hardcore activist and I was a community organizer. It was challenging for me to miss a single protest because I feel like if I wasn’t showing up for the movement, then I wasn’t down enough. That ranged from protesting against police brutality to being at the front lines at my university campus at Cal State Long Beach to fight against the Minutemen who are the ones who guard the borders. My last job was at a domestic violence agency where I served as a rape crisis hotline counselor, specifically for Asian women. It felt like such a blessing to be able to finally get paid for what it is I was already passionate about.

Prior to that, I was freelancing as an artist. I did spoken word, theater and painting. All of that, for me, fed into my activism using my anger as a way to feel my creativity. When I was working at this agency because I already came with so much of my own identity politics. I already had some deep relationships in the community I was working with, specifically the Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai community, I did a lot more outside of my job expectations. Long story short, there was a misalignment between myself and the organization.

Right before I turned 29 years old, which was at the peak of my Saturn Return, if anybody’s familiar with Saturn Return, it happens every 29.5 years. I felt this was what was happening in my life where I thought I had it good and then the universe decided, “I’m going to take away what you thought it is you wanted.” I was fired on the spot, told that I was a free spirit and that I can go and be free. Those were the last words from my boss, and I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or a slap in the face, but I’m sure it was the latter. It made me question, “What is it I’m going to do now? If I go and apply for another job, what would happen if that security ends up getting pulled for me again?” Because I made a promise to my community, I still needed to show up.

Within two weeks after I was fired or what I like to say is I was freed, I experienced the worst pain in my reproductive system in my whole life. It was to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed. When I went to the bathroom, I would scream in excruciating pain. What sucked is that I didn’t have insurance anymore, but I knew I needed help. At the time, I started dabbling into ancestral healing work. For example, I was an apprentice for a yoni steaming program. If anybody is familiar with yoni steaming, it’s using herbs in order to help heal our vaginal health. Also, I was getting certified to be a trauma-informed yoga teacher with the intention that I was going to bring that back to the clients at my agency.

The universe and my ancestors were telling me it was time to embody my medicine. Instead of me accumulating these tools with the intention of using it to help other people, it was time for me to use it on myself. I went to the doctor and they told me there was nothing wrong with me, that whatever I was experiencing was going to naturally go away, which it did. After applying the yoga teachings to what was happening to me, I realized it was my root and my sacral chakra that was disrupted. Our root chakra is our chakra of security and foundation of belonging. Our sacral chakra is of sensuality and creativity. I realized that for myself. Even as a survivor of child sexual trauma and as somebody who was a first responder to other women who were experiencing sexual violence, I never gave my body a chance to truly heal.

I could talk about what was happening statistically. I went to college and I knew all these big words. I realized that academia was my way of not only understanding the world more but also a means of dissociating from my own trauma. When I talk about ancestral healing, and I also talk a lot about decolonization, it’s how is it that we can then come back to our bodies and use our bodies as a compass to lead us to where it is we need to go next. With all of that being said, it propelled me into this world of, “What else is it that my ancestors knew of before we relied on these institutions for our healing?” Long story short, it led me back on a pilgrimage back to Thailand to study with a traditional Thai midwife.

I forgot to mention that my unemployment checks were used for pole dancing classes. I got an internship at a pole dancing studio, which for me was the first time I felt at home in my body. I realized how much we as women have been shamed from being able to feel these sensual parts of ourselves. The stories that I was telling myself were not just my own. They had to do with what society was telling me that I should or shouldn’t be because I’m a woman, because I’m brown, because I was of a different socioeconomic status. I realized that didn’t have to be my story. Also, how beautiful it is that our ancestors knew how it is to heal for thousands of generations and only now are we re-awakening to that wisdom. That is the short version of one of my biggest struggles and how it is that I come out. I support other women in also rephrasing their narratives and building amazing businesses that can support them and make their ancestors proud.

Kimchi: Would you say that you recommend all women to take pole dancing classes?

I will say that the way trauma manifests for many of us is in our gut. I was saying with indigestion and also through reproductive challenges, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis. A lot of times, those are physical manifestations of repressed emotions, trauma or stories that have been passed down intergenerationally. If you were like me and you worked in the role of a service provider, how oftentimes we are taking on the stories of other people and yet we don’t have the tools to release them. I tell everybody, if you can find a somatic practice where you can move your hips, you are allowing for those stories to no longer remain stagnant in your body. If you can work on that, then you’ll be able to tell your story more confidently in the world.

Kimchi: Move your hip, that could be like Zumba dancing, ballroom dancing or belly dancing. It doesn’t have to be physical like a pole dancing. I still imagine J.Lo on a pole say, “I like that body, but I’m not quite sure I can put up with that work.” 

June: Yet many people were shaming that act. I didn’t even watch it. I was at a pole dancing class while that was happening, but I also think that we’ve associated the way women move their bodies with sensuality or that they’re being too much or that they’re taking up too much space. For example, even looking at the way that our ancestors would sit in a circle with each other, the way we would eat, the way we would go to the bathroom, everything was about our hips and we have lost that connection. If there are more opportunities for you to get in touch with these lower parts of yourselves and find security and belonging in your body first and foremost, then you won’t need other people’s approval as much. Instead, you being a stand for what it looks like to be rooted and grounded will ripple out to everyone else around you.

Kimchi: This is a great message for all women out there. Kim, what was the biggest challenge that you have faced and overcame?

Kim: It’s similar to PQ. One of the biggest challenges that I had faced was my parents’ expectations. Not only that but my expectations for myself. It took a long time for me to learn and realize and be honest with myself, that my expectations for myself or my parents. All of these behaviors, all of these beliefs that I had grown up with, that I had been exposed to, I had subconsciously taken on as my own. When June was saying the stories that we tell ourselves, I was given that story, I grew up with that story and living in that story.

For a long time, especially in college, you’re young, you’re still discovering yourself, I was still discovering myself and healing. One of the biggest challenges was being honest with myself and figuring out what is my story. Who am I as me and not my parent’s daughter or my brother’s sister? What did I want out of life? I went through a period where I fell into a deep depression and anxiety. Growing up in a family where depression or mental illness was rampant, but it was swept under the rug. Being a Psychology major, I should have known. I should have known that I had depression, anxiety. I should have sought out help.

Creating Your Own Story: It’s our responsibility as leaders to figure out not only how we can help uplift ourselves, but also others on the way.

 One of my professors at the time noticed that my grades had plummeted. I was in a toxic relationship because that’s how I thought relationships were supposed to be, full of drama, feelings and emotions and violence. I didn’t know because I had grown up with the same thing. The biggest challenge for myself was to start that path of realization, rebuilding myself as me, Kim Tran and just me, not in relation to someone or something else. Rebuilding my sense of self, my sense of confidence and my sense of security too.

Growing up in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, I was probably four or five at the time. My father was the breadwinner. I had grown up with my father bringing home the money. Overnight, his mortgage and real estate development business went bankrupt and the banks repossessed everything and overnight we were homeless and we grew up poor for so long. My mother, who was a stay-at-home mom at the time, had to go back to work. She was an American citizen. She didn’t have the right to work in Canada at the time. She went back to school. She started up a daycare provider service within our home. A lot of entrepreneurial, free spirit, and rebuilt our family, yet she still handed over the money to my father.

Growing up, that sense of security, I always thought that it had to be in relation to a man. For me, seeing that my mother was still obedient or diligent and being a martyr, she had no boundaries, she gave herself so much to our family. For me, growing up and especially even now, I have a hard time setting boundaries. I have a hard time saying, “This is my time just for me. I want to sit in the dark. Let me rest.” All of these learned behaviors, patterns, mindsets took years and over a decade or so for me to heal. Through my healing, I had started to share my stories. For a long time, I was private about it. I was ashamed to have grown up homeless and have grown up poor.

It wasn’t until I was probably in my late twenties or even mid-twenties, going through therapy and working through everything, and realizing that my parents’ stories, my parents’ trauma, I can recognize it, acknowledge it, respect it, but it doesn’t have to be my story. It doesn’t have to be my trauma. I can overcome it. I can build a new story, path, and journey for myself. Unfortunately, being surrounded by my work, my new socioeconomic status, there weren’t a lot of people who have these stories. I was never sharing that out. For me, the more I share, the more I’ve been healing and that has been my way of overcoming that challenge.

Kimchi: You have a lot of courage to share in public and share it with us. I do believe that the more you share, the more you heal. Ai?

Ai: Kim’s story is amazing and powerful. I resonate with that. My story is similar, which is dealing with the expectations of family and also being a woman. I’ll fast forward to one of the biggest struggles that I experienced years ago that took me on to another level, which is amazing, but not amazing at that moment. When I restarted my career, I joined fitness clubs as a personal trainer. Every time I would go to a new gym, I would do well. I was successful at it because I took a lot of my experience being a coach by many different coaches beforehand and also in the corporate world where you know how to interact with people. I was thriving.

I joined this wonderful fitness club. The director, after the interview, was like, “You’re good. We can give you this elite status level, but I’ve got to tell you that if you take on this status, we charge the members that hire for personal training with you. They don’t know you. It might be hard for you to take that on and you might not have members or clients as soon as you would like. I would suggest that you take the basic one first to get going and then we can immediately bring you up to the next level.” I took his recommendation and took the basic status. I was determined.

Within the next few months, I was like, “I’m ready. I already showed you my numbers.” I was the only person who was with the corporate background understood that to make a change or convince somebody, you got to show the numbers. That is part of your persuasion power. He was like, “You’re ready. I’ll give you this.” Little did I know that the other trainers around me did not like that. I had an incident where a guy who did not do well, but they kept him because it’s hard also to let go of employees sometimes. He was upset and jealous. He confronted me and said all the inappropriate sexist things and belittled me. He said, “The only reason why you got this is because you’re this cute little Asian girl and you can attract these men.” Giving me no credit for the work that I did and for the skills that I brought in.

At that moment when it was happening, my body froze. I felt paralyzed. I felt helpless. I walked away. A friend of mine saw me and he was like, “What’s going on?” I explained the situation. It was profound and it was crazy. For a whole week, I thought about it and I cried. I didn’t understand why I cried. It’s not my fault but I couldn’t help it. One, I didn’t think that people would be like this. I live in a world of abundance. We could all succeed. There are plenty of members to impact and to be able to help and heal. I think that way in everything that we do. I’m not stealing anything from anybody. It took me some time but then I said, “I’m going to talk to the director and tell him what happened.” In that space, I was able to speak up and also I cried to him and he felt bad. This was when the light hit and I had this coaching moment with him. I said, “Have you ever taken the time to also ask the other trainers if they want to be promoted?” He goes, “No.”

This whole time, you also had other wonderful trainers who had been working here for many years and want to be empowered and also want to be recognized. These are great managers, great leaders but they’re busy running the business and everything, they forget to ask these questions to give the space to the other employees to grow. When I got my growth immediately, they’re looking as though I didn’t deserve it. That was a moment where I was able to coach this leader and said, “You have to give them that space. Let them know that they can get this, that they can achieve this. For those who you don’t feel is ready to have this position yet, then give them that space to also recognize what their learning should be.”

From that moment, I recognize that I could, one, be upset about what happened to me or two, help move forward this situation. I decided to create a free workshop for the trainers to join called Sales in Client Experience workshop. I lead it and I teach them how you can be better at sales, how can you be more presentable to the members and retain those clients through your work, mindset, overall being and energy because that’s how I did it. There wasn’t any easy way. I brought it in with my energy and my love and my compassion. I taught them the techniques. Looking back, the universe brought me problems so that I could solve it and empower people. That struggle hit me hard, but it allowed me to understand the reality of this world. Although I like to think things positively, sexism does exist, racism does exist and we have to overcome it. It’s our responsibility as leaders to figure out how we can help uplift ourselves, but also others on the way.

Kimchi: What do you know now that you wish you knew 5 or 10 years ago, PQ?

PQ: I wish I knew ten years ago that it was okay to do a different path sooner. If you take more time to make sure that you’re happy, you will be happy. This is the same thing that I’m telling all of my cooks, “If you chase the money, you’ll never be happy because there’s no amount of money that is ever enough.” I also understand the realities of life. You do need to make money to be able to survive and live in this world, but it’s okay not to chase the riches and show off and be like everyone else with the designer stuff or biggest house and accept that it’s okay to live within your means as long as you’re happy. If you chase happiness, they’ll be much more rewarding than it is to chase money.

June: Because I’ve worked in the realm of healing for some time, one of the things that I wish I knew five to ten years ago is that healing is not an end to the destination, it’s the journey. It’s an everyday practice. It is an embodiment. Every day we step outside, something new is going to trigger us or want to make us believe that we are out of alignment and we have a personal responsibility for our own joy. I would tell my younger self that happiness, joy, and healing is not anything to strive for. When you show up as that, then the universe will reveal evidence on to you of what is possible. Show up ready and act as if it is already here.

Creating Your Own Story: Sometimes it’s okay for you to be selfish. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.

Kim: There are so many things that I wish I could have told myself years back, but the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is you are allowed to want more. It’s okay not to settle. It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s okay to advocate for more, to want more, to achieve more and to want more for yourself and your life. For the longest time, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to even feel that way. If I could go back and tell myself five, ten years ago, that would be the biggest lesson that I would say, “It’s okay to want more.”

Kimchi: Most of us Asians, we don’t know the word ‘want.’ We’re not allowed to think of that word. We know what we don’t want, but we don’t know what we want. 

Kim: We come from a culture of sacrifice or the collective. For us, if we want more, we’re told, “You’re being too greedy. You’re being selfish.” For me, it took a long time to learn that. Sometimes it’s okay for you to be selfish. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.

Ai: I would say, if this is specifically to myself looking back ten years ago, there were two things that I recognize that I was not able to see. One was that I always saw myself as a happy, positive person but that also didn’t allow me to open up my suppressed self. I wouldn’t allow other emotions to come out. At a young age, somebody made fun of me for crying when I was watching Chinese romantic movies. That stuck with me and then I didn’t allow myself to cry even though a part of me wants to. For many years, I would go on without wanting to show anger, all these negative emotions, but then that didn’t also allow me to be in tuned with myself and listen to my intuition.

All these emotions happen because it’s your body speaking to you and telling you all these different things, whether it’s your hormones out of whack. You can’t try to cover it up by saying, “I’m happy.” When you’re saying that and not recognize all these other deeper inner emotions, you’re in denial. That doesn’t move you forward. What I recognize in the leaders that I coach is they’ll say from the outside, they’re happy. As I dig in a little bit deeper, we realize they’re not. There are a lot of lingering problems and issues. Trust and all these things that once you open up and express yourself and allow yourself to cry about it, you can learn way more about yourself and other people that you want to serve when you can be expressive and admit the other emotions that you have.

Kimchi: This is a place where you share your personal motto or personal quote of what you live by. PQ?

PQ: My personal quote is, “My life’s purpose is to live one with purpose, whether it might impact small or big, the most important thing is that it’s made a positive, unforgettable one.”

Kimchi: Why is this important to you?

PQ: When I was younger, I always asked myself, “Why am I doing what I do? What is the purpose of all of this? Is it to make money? Is it to provide a roof over my head? Is it to give back to my parents?” I realized that the most rewarding things in life, for me, was to make sure that I’ve made some impact or made a memory with something or with someone. That goes back towards my craft too, is that the best food I’ve ever had or created is not food that I’ve had in Michelin star restaurants or anywhere. It could be as simple as sitting on a stool in the corner in Vietnam, eating a bowl of pho with my aunt that I haven’t seen in ten years. It’s the same thing as when I create a dessert. The first time when I was thirteen, when my mom bought me my first birthday cake because she wants to celebrate a birthday with me. Those are things where it’s small or big, as long as it has a positive impact to know that I’ve made a memory, it will be everlasting or live a life filled with purpose that I’m not wasting my precious time that I have here because life is too short.

June: PQ, what you shared brought me so much joy because I wanted to reflect on when I went back to my mother’s village. It was my little cousin’s 22nd birthday, the same day as my grandfather’s funeral. I didn’t want her to live the rest of her life remembering her birthday as the death of our grandfather. I bought her a birthday cake. I felt guilty about it because I felt like I was imposing American ideas on my family, but she cried many tears of joy. It made me understand the importance of ritual and creating new memories as a way to override the trauma and sadness. I’m grateful for the work that you’re doing because it’s so much more than just baking.

For my personal quote that I’m learning to live by is to exercise the heart as much as the mind. You can have all the smarts, all the accreditations, all the certifications and the degrees, but if you’re a jerk, none of that matters. It’s important for all of us to exercise our emotional intelligence as much as our IQ. Know that what we need more is compassionate people in the world, especially women in leadership because we are the ones who have this beautiful ability to create life, to nurture life. We’re the best teachers. We are the ones who are going to shift society in the right direction. All of us, being a part of this panel, are a part of that healing and that restoration that this world needs.

Kim: I don’t think I’d live my life with just one quote. It’s hard to choose. One philosophy that I have lived by and I’ve learned from past managers, past leaders, my bosses of all demographics is that when you start to heal and advocate for yourself, you enable others to do that for themselves. They may be watching or listening to you and they may feel inspired or motivated by that. If we don’t stand up for ourselves, who will? Once you get to a point in life like when you progress in your career, you start advocating for others as well. That has been my philosophy in terms of living out your life as a servant leader. It’s a concept that I had learned from a past female boss. The concept of leadership as we know it is patriarchal, driven by power and hierarchies. For me, it’s rethinking that philosophy of leadership and to serve others by serving ourselves first and being true to ourselves first before we can serve others.

Ai: I’ll keep it short with a theme that’s been consistent throughout my life. The right opportunities and the right people will show up when you are in alignment with what you want. When your actions and the belief systems are in accordance and coherent with what’s authentically you. That sets you on the right path. What that also requires is a high level of self-awareness, self-love and listening to the signs within you and the people around you and taking ownership of where you are.

Let’s say you’re not getting the relationship that you want. Instead of saying, “It’s because of them, it’s all this drama,” put it back on yourself and be like, “How am I being? What’s my belief system? What am I saying that’s creating this situation?” Once you get down to the truth and then the honest part of it, you’re able to see that these behaviors or where you are, what you’re doing and your mindset or your health affects everything around you. You can make pattern changes, then you can be more in alignment and you get closer to the vision that you want for yourself and for others around you.

Creating Your Own Story: Exercise the heart as much as the mind.

Kimchi: What is your proudest moment?

PQ: I would say my proudest moment is probably when, and this is my first time being a chef, one of my cooks came up to me and they told me, “Thank you for showing them that it’s okay to be proud of their work. It’s okay to be strong and independent. It’s okay to do what they do because they themselves shared a similar story that their family didn’t want them to do what they wanted to do.” I said to them, “Be proud of your work. Be proud of who you are. If you’re happy about your work and you think you did something great, show off, because you worked hard at it. You dedicated your craft to it.” If someone is to say, “You need to be more humble,” ask them if they can do better than you. If they can’t, then you already did what you did, and they can’t take that away from you.

June: I did a TEDx Talk called How to Connect with Your Ancestors. I was proud of that moment. What makes me most especially proud is witnessing the transformations of my own clients. For example, I have a beautiful client named Claudia who is undocumented and is fighting a deportation case. You can only imagine the guilt that I feel of being able to receive money from somebody who is fighting this case. Witnessing even her transformation alone in this program from being somebody who was all about tearing down the system, very how I used to be, into choosing to embody joy and pleasure amongst these external conditions and these systems that want to tear her down, have brought me so much joy. Going from, “Let’s tear down capitalism,” into, “Let’s make some cacao and feel good in our bodies.” Recognize that amongst the trauma, I can still experience this simple moment for me is more than enough, and I want to see more of that.

Kim: There had been a lot of proud processional moments but personally, one of the things that I am most proud of is through my own healing. Now that I’m married and a mother as well, I have created a new meaning of family for myself. For the longest time, family was my parents, my brothers, my extended 50 relatives that I don’t always remember their names. For me, family and creating a new pattern of what that means of what being secure, having a stable home, a loving home and watching my daughter grow up with her own sense of self and confidence and speaking up and being sassy. That has been my proudest moment in the last few years.

Kimchi: That happened a lot to parents. Once we have children, not to become a doctor or lawyer, but see the children are happy, that’s the proudest moment in my life too. Most of my children are adults. They are my legacy. It’s not that I will leave them money, but the legacy that I’m going to leave to them is how their life is turning out and that they are capable, fulfilled and happy. 

Ai: I want to extend it and say that we have the power to do that with not only our family but everybody who enters our life. We’re able to leave a legacy. Sometimes I think about this like, “If I die, who’s going to show up? What would they experience? What would they share about me?” Three things that I’m proud of. When I got the opportunity to speak to Dr. Neesheet Parikh about lifestyle medicine and I took on the role of director of lifestyle medicine. That has been incredible for me in helping the patients turn their health and their life around. One of the patients said, “You’ve given me so much mental toughness.” I’m like, “It brings me so much joy to hear that.”

Another thing that I’m proud of is I got married to Dave, my husband. I was telling him, “It’s incredible to look at where we are now, where both of us are comfortable being who we are in this close-knit space together.” He’s like, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “In my previous relationships, my partner, the guy I would date would feel they can’t fully be themselves around me.” Part of that came from a lot from being in a controlling family. I took that on and became a controlling person. I wanted things a certain way and that manifested into the men that I was with, not feeling fully themselves. Having this big shift in my life, I’m giving space for people to be themselves and to achieve personal freedom. I’m in this space where I’m like, “You can be as goofy and be silly and be anything around me and I can do the same thing and it feels magical.”

The third one is one of the executives I coach. I had this moment with him where he was telling me all the things that I had planted within him. He started implementing it to his employees because before he felt they didn’t have that close-knit trust or they don’t like him and he didn’t understand why because he felt he was a happy person and he’s a go-getter. In this conversation, I started talking about how when you’re not listening and you’re focused on what you have to say and you as your only intention, you’re not giving your employees space for them to be themselves and to be heard. To bring whatever they have to bring up to you which causes a lot of distance and also fear and doubt within them. It hit him hard because he didn’t realize that he was being that, that he was doing this whole time and having somebody tell him straight on like, “You’ve been this person.” He can change his pattern of thinking and allow people to speak up and not feel fear and doubt around him and what magical things that would do to his company in cooperation.

Kimchi: Three things that you will suggest others to do or to begin if they want to follow your footsteps. 

PQ: First and foremost, for my industry, it’s hard to get into. If you want to start to make sure that you know what you’re doing because a culinary school can be expensive. Try making it at home, watching YouTube and everything that’s available, which was not available when I started off. Try to see if that’s something you want to do and learn. Secondly, go to a pastry shop and ask if you can see what they do and observe what it is day-to-day because Food Network glamorizes cooking that it’s all sunshine and rainbows, but it is backbreaking, hard labor sometimes.

For me, I would finish 80 hours without taking a break. If you’re one that can put in the hours and want to do it, start small. Don’t try to be like, “I’m going to be the next Food Network or famous chef.” Lastly, is the network. Never burn bridges. Never try to form bad relations with anyone at all, not just in the industry, but get to know the peers and everyone that you work with because either you’re going to meet someone that they know or you’re going to end up working with them one day. Try to be good, humble, work with them, understand them and respect their craft with them. Networking will get you far in the industry because we all know each other somehow.

June: One, I would say find a mentor and invest in a mentor if you can because money is an energetic exchange. It is a currency that many of us allow to remain stagnant and we hoard on to without recognizing that it comes and goes. Investing in my own coaches and my mentors have been invaluable to me because they’ve made a lot of mistakes. They can support you how it is to not repeat those patterns. Simultaneously, number two, be responsible for how it is you show up. Be responsible for any of the failures. Also, as Kim said, make a lot of space to celebrate all of the things that you have overcome because we are in a society that loves to perpetuate shame. Every call I have with a client in my mastermind group always begins with celebrations, including the importance of being able to celebrate yourself before waiting for that approval from others.

Lastly, I would say to create an altar. Many of us may have grown up with altars in our homes. I didn’t create my own altar until I reached 30 years old. I realized I needed a central space in my home to return to whenever I forgot my purpose. On my altar, I have photos of my own ancestors, also deities that I strive to embody like Saraswathi and Green Tara, who is the Bodhisattva of liberation and compassion. One of the few female Buddhist deities that we know of or that’s documented. Also, quotes and other things to keep me aligned in my purpose. Also, photos of people who I look up to, who are not of my blood lineage but who I strive to embody.

Kimchi: The photo could be somebody alive? 

June: It could be somebody alive. Also, I am intentional about making sure that I keep water at my altar or a plant to not treat my altar like a centerpiece, but as a living entity that needs to be nourished. It’s where I go to meditate. Sometimes whenever I feel like I’m out of alignment, I feel like my altar and my guides that are sitting on their side-eyeing me like, “Remember you have a purpose. Let’s go. You’re not in this alone.” I would encourage everybody to create one. I love walking into some of these small shops and these restaurants and there’s an altar there. This is something that many of our ancestors practiced. I feel like for us, who were born and raised here, it’s something that we can also start to reclaim.

Kim: First off, I love having the idea of an altar. I grew up Catholic. I’m no longer part of the church, but having that ritual, having that daily intentional practice of meditation and prayer, regardless of who you believe in or what you believe in is such a powerful suggestion. For me, asking for help. Asking for help is huge. I grew up watching my mother, my grandmother, my parents struggle silently and they never asked for help. It was a sign of weakness, to be vulnerable, to feel powerless. In my experience, asking for help is a powerful thing because you are learning from others. You are setting yourself up to get more knowledge and learn for yourself.

In my experience, asking for help, gathering mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, promoters, people who will lift you up when you yourself cannot lift you up is important. Sometimes we forget how awesome and great we are. We need those people to uplift us and make us feel good about ourselves. Of course, it all starts with ourselves as well, but it’s about being surrounded by like-minded people. They don’t always have to come from the same background or even have the same interests or the same goals. Being around people who will celebrate you helps amplifies the positive, good and your light and place in the world.

Ai: I feel like all of you ladies have shared everything that I would share with people who want to go into my route. Whether it’s my route or anything that you pursue, the biggest thing is to always invest in yourself. Look for people who you could learn from. I’m always open to mentoring others and I always encourage others to find a mentor, whether it’s your work mentor or you look for coaches who can bring something different and can lift you up and pull you out of where you are. You don’t know what you don’t know. You only know what you’ve been taught and all these things. Once you get the right coaching and the right mindset from somebody who’s been through everything, you’re able to discover so many things about yourself and your unlimited capabilities. I also agree that you want to be around good, honest people. Use emotional intelligence and learn how to work around that. Learn to speak up and make decisions out of courage instead of fear.

My husband would share certain concerns like, “I want to do this now but then I feel like my friend is going to be upset.” Everybody deals with this, men or women or leaders or even employees, they’re always feeling like they’re going to be judged a certain way. Speak up from your heart. If somebody who cares listened to you and he can hear you from your heart, they’ll take the time to understand where you’re coming from. From that, you can have an amazing relationship and you can have better choices and options to choose from. Specifically, to go into the route of life coaching, health coaching or coaching others, go into a program or dive deep into learning and re-learning, re-educating, letting go of those old habits. Put yourself out there so that you can start coaching others.

June: I’d love to close this out with a poem I wrote called Steps Toward Being a Successful Asian-American According to First-Generation Immigrant Parents: One, get straight A’s. Two, stay out of the sun. Three, play an instrument and become good at it. Four, go to college for medicine, engineering, business or law, and if that doesn’t work out then education, but not music or the arts. Five, aim for a six-figure salary minimum with pension and benefits. Six, find a husband who makes more money than you, preferably Asian or white. Seven, get a nice house in the suburbs. Eight, grandbabies. Nine, achieve more bragging rights for your parents to compete with other family and friends, “Your son is a doctor now and had a $60,000 wedding with his pharmacist wife? My daughter is a philanthropist and a social worker, kind of. At least she does something like that, helping people.” None of those things. Ten, stay quiet and obedient, even at the risk of your own happiness in pursuit of the American dream.

Steps Toward Being a Successful Asian-American According to Second-Generation Americans Born Asians Who Took Way More Classes in Ethnic Studies than Medicine, Engineering or Law: One, dismantle the model minority myth. Fail all of your math and science classes or at least pass it with C-grade average, and why not major in theater ethnic studies, communication or any of the arts? Two, when people play games to guess what kind of Asian you are, explain race as a scientific theory created in the 1700s by Carolus Linnaeus as a way to uphold white supremacy, pit communities of color against each other and create an excuse for European world domination, a.k.a. Manifest Destiny. You’ll narrow down friends easier this way and skip the small talk. Three, Asian-American does not just mean East Asian.

Four, don’t use the term API if you’re not actively including Southeast Asians, South Asians, West Asians, and especially Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians. Five, the nonprofit industrial complex will not liberate our communities. In fact, in short it does not perpetuate the problems it claims to fight against. Six, study the role of US imperialism in your parent’s country, left out of your history textbooks while growing up. Aside from countless secret bombings and military bases, this also includes the spread of KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Starbucks. Seven, our families would not be here if it were not for the struggles of our black brothers and sisters. 1965 Voting Rights Act, Loving versus Virginia for interracial marriage. 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that allowed for our extended families to be here. We, as Asian-Americans, must hold each other accountable in challenging anti-blackness in our own communities and giving credit where it’s due.

Eight, love your parents unconditionally. Be true to your authentic self, even at the risk of them never being able to understand or accept you. You are healing for them and for those who have yet to come. Nine, nothing is wrong with you. It’s capitalism. Ten, find the community you didn’t have while growing up. If it doesn’t exist yet, create one. You will attract those seeking the same thing. This is what it means to be a leader and a healer. Thank you, Asian Women of Power, for being one of those spaces for me and for many of us and for showing me how beautiful it can be to embrace my Asian-American.

Kimchi: Thank you for sharing both points of view of the parent, the first generation as well as the second generation so that people can distinguish their difference. If people want to reach out to you, how do they do that?

PQ: You can reach out to me directly either on my Instagram, @Chef.PQ. If there are any questions, feel free to reach me at [email protected].

June: Go to YourStoryMedicine.com. Also, there’s a beautiful gift for all of you who are interested in how it is that you can start creating your own altar. You’re welcome to download that as a gift as well as a couple of meditations that you’ll get from me.

Kim: If anyone wants to learn more about me personally and professionally, I am on LinkedIn. Look for Kim Tran. You can look for marketing or orienting, and I’ll come up. Anyone who wants to learn about Your Work Inspires and how you can approach negotiation from a place of confidence as well as healing, you can check out www.YourWorkInspires.com. There are some resources about the gender wage gap, about the confidence gap and to learn more about how we approach the process.

Ai: If you want to learn more about lifestyle medicine, you can reach out to us at [email protected]. You can check out our website to learn more about lifestyle medicine. You want to reach out to me personally, you can go to my website, DiscoverYouAndAi.com. You could request a breakthrough session with me, that’s free and that’s an opportunity for you to have a powerful coaching session with me and figure out how to move forward with your life. You can email me personally at [email protected].

Kimchi: Thank you. That’s it for this episode. We hope that you enjoyed this episode. Please share with your friends and family members and also on social media. Please use #AsianWomenOfPower. Until next time, live, life, loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

"I was rewarded for not asking, and not wanting."
"For a long time, I let my fear hold me back."
"Be creative for what you want."
"Chasing happiness is more rewarding than chasing money."
"Healing is everyday practice."
"Live your life as a servant leader."

About PQ Fung

Phuong Quach Fung (also known as PQ), was born and raised in San Diego.

Her parents came from Vinh Long, Vietnam during the war.

As immigrants, her family was grateful to America for all the opportunities that it provided, so her eldest brother went to serve in the Navy for more than 20 years, and another brothers served in the US Military for 10+ years.

PQ was the only daughter, and she chose to be a Pastry Chef.

She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, Pasadena, worked at high-end Michelin starred restaurant, Forbes Five Star Hotel, high volume pastry shops, and locally owned pastry/chocolate shops.

Now, she works in the Alexander’s Group, in the bay area.

Her creations are based on French-style pastries with Asian and Californian flavors.

She wishes to give voice to other Asian Women in the Food Industry.

You can reach out to her by:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (858) 201-9976

About June Kaeswith

June Marisa Kaewsith, also known as “Jumakae,” is a Thai-American artist, storytelling coach, and wellness consultant based in Long Beach, CA.

With her passion for the arts and somatic learning, she holds self-care and storytelling workshops for organizations and individuals to break through limiting beliefs and find clarity in their purpose so that they can be of better service to themselves and the world.

Visit her at www.jumakae.com/hello

About Kim Tran

In 2019, Kim founded Your Work Inspires, a negotiation consulting firm focused on helping women and minority women assess and address their limiting beliefs, so that they can apply and activate their earning power.

Explore more at www.yourworkinspires.com

About Ai Nguyen

Ai’s high-level coaching helps purpose-driven high-achievers, entrepreneurs, and executives up-level themselves -> 10X their value -> THRIVE by creating their best self.

As an online Life Coach and also the Director of Lifestyle Medicine at ParikhHealth, Ai is the catalyst for people to receive healing, embrace their emotional intelligence, experience transformations, and gain personal freedom.

As an executive once told her “To say you have grace, is to say the Pacific Ocean is damp….Thank you for your coaching, charisma, wonderful attitude. You are an absolute pleasure to interact with.” She showed him how servant leadership, empathy, and compassionate listening can change his relationships.

From traumas, hardships, burnout, failures, to breakthroughs, reinvention of her SELF, and successes, Ai’s experiences gave her the mindset and opportunity to empower others in taking quantum leaps and becoming their very best and authentic self.

“We all have the power to overcome our fears and make decisions through courage. Achieving personal freedom starts with inspired action.” – Ai Nguyen

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