CEO Phuong Uyen Tran: Leading the Industry, with Family
For Phuong Uyen Tran, Deputy CEO of Tan Hiep Phat (THP) group, her Singaporean university's international exposure to new ideas and different points of view was an eye-opening experience.
The world was a much bigger and infinitely more complicated place than she had imagined. Overcoming obstacles and forever prospering, Phuong is happy to share her experience balancing family and the business world with VNT readers.
|Photo: Phuong Uyen Tran|
"I was seeing globalization first hand and for the first time. Singapore is a true entrepot of people and international trade. I saw the opportunities it offered and realized there was so much to learn. I redoubled my studies to earn my degree. For my graduation thesis, I chose to do a project on Heineken. The experience proved invaluable as I saw how a multinational develops projects and manages brands," said Phuong.
One of the most memorable experiences the female leader had was being exposed to Heineken International. It helped her realize she stood before a difficult crossroads, choosing between joining a multinational firm or returning home to the family business.
"I was twenty-two years old and had to decide which path to take. Should I stay in Singapore and prepare myself for a career at a multinational company, or should I return to Vietnam?"
|Photo: Phuong Uyen Tran|
Phuong knew the big advantage of working outside the family business would be the ability to own her achievements and failures. Family relationships would not make her above anyone.
"Any respect my colleagues showed me would be earned, not grudgingly bestowed simply because of her family."
Moreover, by working in an established company, Phuong would be able to compare and contrast the structures and operations of a developed organization with a family-owned one.
Phuong Uyen Tran confessed that she has the same conundrum many up-and-coming generations of family businesses have to face. Ultimately, she decided to pursue a career of supporting THP Group.
Betting on family business
|Deputy CEO Phuong Uyen Tran on leading Vietnam’s giant beverage company. Photo: Phuong Uyen Tran|
First, she came back because of the management opportunity provided by THP Group. While expecting no automatic opportunities, the ability to gain upper-management experience was likely to happen much sooner than in other organizations.
Secondly, Phuong shared she is well aware that family businesses aren’t perfect, but as a family member, those in charge know who you are and what you are capable of achieving. Outside of this environment, it would be safe to assume that her career could be derailed by corporate politics, mergers, bankruptcies, and other circumstances completely out of my control.
The benefit of working for the family would be greater transparency all around.
Bypassing workplace politics and ambiguity motivated Phuong Uyen Tran to return to her family business after studying in Singapore.
Most importantly, she thought about the legacy of the business her parents created.
"I wanted to prove my ability to contribute to their success and legacy. The business had been such an integral part of my upbringing, I wanted to apply my skills and experience to help make my parents proud and help take THP to new heights."
"It is a decision I have not regretted since. I lived there as a child, I eventually became one of the employees, later a manager, and today, a director in charge of communications and procurement. Throughout the process, I have strived to be a worthy successor to my parents by learning how to be a manager, while living and teaching THP’s core values," shared Phuong Uyen Tran.
Asian businesswoman, Phuong Uyen Tran, serves as Deputy CEO of Tan Hiep Phat (THP) group, a company started by her parents in 1994. Today, it is Vietnam’s leading beverage company. In addition to running the Number 1 Chu Lai plant, she is responsible for THP’s procurement, domestic and international marketing, public relations, and corporate social responsibility programs.
Phương is an executive of the Beverage Association of Vietnam and also sits on the executive committee of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Vietnam chapter.
She is passionate about family-owned businesses, as well as women in business. Her writing, including “Competing with Giants” book, and her latest articles are to advise and inspire young people to start up, overcome challenges and reach out to the world. It is the story of a little girl taking great responsibilities for a corporation and devoting herself to society.
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