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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:
• [03:16] Ways that Omsom’s proud and loud ethos is a response to growing up “othered.”
• [07:52] What Vanessa wanted to do and how she was motivated by her parent’s sacrifices.
• [10:20] Insight into her career trajectory and the pivotal conversation with her dad that helped her let go of external pressure and expectations.
• [14:09] A look at her journey toward taking more risks and her desire to influence culture.
• [16:48] How food (and particularly ready-to-use sauces) aligned with Vanessa and Kim’s mission to celebrate Asian stories.
• [27:20] How they navigated launching Omsom during the early days of the pandemic.
• [30:27] Vanessa’s advice for community building, marketing, and fundraising.
• [34:18] Her relentless commitment to personal growth and how it benefits her as a CEO.
• [41:26] Reflecting on some of the biggest surprises that came with building a business!
• [46:42] Why Vanessa encourages fledgling founders to be authentically themselves.
To Find Out More:
“Omsom in Vietnamese means rowdy, rambunctious, riotous. Our ethos is all about being proud and loud. In some ways – reclaiming our narratives and telling our stories loudly and proudly is our way of pushing back on that initial experience we had in that small town outside of Boston.” [0:04:22]
“Building a proud and loud brand was when I learned to be more true to myself, be [comfortable] in my skin, and be more authentic about who I actually am.” [0:06:07]
“My dream for most of my life has been to honor my parents and their sacrifices. Nothing has been more motivating to me than that.” [0:07:56]
“There’s not enough Vietnamese-American women that are seen as thought leaders. I felt really called by that.” [0:15:29]
“After the 2016 election, Kim and I wanted to build something that could influence culture, narratives, and dialogue at a national level.” [0:15:40]
“Food – has been such an incredibly meaningful part of our lives and a way for us to connect to our culture and our identities.” [0:17:59]
“What we’re building is in service of giving people a sense of home and a sense of joy. In [hard times], they’re actually going to want to engage with a brand like ours. What we stand for is relevant and timely.” [0:28:40]
“There was this flywheel that we created by building and fostering a community that understood our values, saw what we [stood for], and that really resonated with them.” [0:29:53]
“[Ask yourself]: Is my story and my brand story authentic? Because consumers’ bullshit meters are higher than ever. Same with the press. Beyond that, does it parlay into broader dialogues that are happening at a national level?” [0:31:12]
“I dedicate so much of my time and mindshare, and emotional energy to evolving my worldviews and my relationship with myself – so that I can navigate this journey with grace, trust, belief, and conviction. Those are so important for getting the job done.” [0:35:21]
“My advice would be to continue to show more of who you really are in the [CEO] journey.” [0:46:53]