*This article was on LinkedIn Pulse.
Congratulations are in order as Hon. Pauline Truong is crowned the Millennium Global Woman of Honor! This award is for ‘pioneering women’ and ‘outstanding legacies’ to be remembered and commemorated. A well deserved winner, Pauline has championed and provided access to the law, entrepreneurship and human rights. She is also featured in an Exhibition on Trailblazing Women and the Law, in a book on Career Makeover & How to Reinvent Your Success Abroad and other media globally. We are delighted to share her incredible, trailblazing story and journey.
BuzzFeed (BF): How has your experience as a refugee shaped your lifestyle today?
Pauline Truong (PT): My family risked our lives to leave Vietnam for Malaysia in a boat after the Vietnam War. We didn’t have a lot of food nor proper restrooms at the refugee camps in Malaysia, but nevertheless we were safe and very thankful for what we did have. We had to adapt to our new reality, which stood in stark contrast to our standing as a very comfortable Chinese-Vietnamese family in Vietnam. After a short period at the refugee camps, we were blessed to receive refugee status in Australia and expanded internationally thereafter. At each transition, we successfully adapted, rebuilt our lives and businesses.
As a result of our safe and ‘lucky’ life journey, my family has since undertaken philanthropy work in many parts of the world, mostly anonymously, to give back to the global community and help the less privileged. Hence, there are tenets of humanitarian work, advocacy and corporate responsibility in my work and businesses.
BF: How did your career evolve around the globe?
PT: During Law School and thereafter I worked at the international law firms and participated in my own and family businesses. I also traveled globally, advocated for the underrepresented and promoted access to the law and justice for the less privileged at the policy level and undertook many leadership roles. As a Young Ambassador, working with the United Nations, State Law Office & Parliamentarians on U.N. Conventions, human rights, gender and diversity issues, I traveled to many exotic places. It was very rewarding to make a small difference to the lives of many people around the world (in person). They were once in a lifetime experiences! Realizing that I could have a great lifestyle and a global impact in multiple areas at the same time, I embraced change, future unknowns and challenges. Now we have many projects and innovations in different parts of the world.
BF: What does your current work entail?
PT: As GlobePreneur and traveler who enjoys life to the fullest, I now have a more adventurous life combining international law, innovation, investments, entrepreneurship, social justice, humanitarian work etc. as the Founder and C.E.O. of Ascendo International Group and a stake-holder in a conglomerate of global companies, specializing in innovations to help global clients. As an entrepreneur, investor and innovator, my team and I are developing some interesting global innovations. My passion is to also further develop GlobePreneurs.com (and ShePreneurs.com). It is a global platform endorsed by celebrities, that empower and celebrate global entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds in a ‘different’ way (beta coming soon). My time is also dedicated to being an advisor to many different well known organizations and public figures.
BF: What are some of your favorite moments with the stars and public figures?
PT: Some of my favorite moments with the stars and public figures include going to beautiful homes of stars like Brian Grazer and spending time with their families. Their projects, work and success inspire me to do better. I enjoy red carpet moments and fun events with the Oscar winners and stars, such as Eddie Redmayne, Kevin Costner, Julianne Moore, Octavia Spencer, Felicity Jones, George Takei and other celebrities and stars. It was also exciting being with the Australian Prime Minister, Australian Foreign Minister, US, Asian and other global leaders. I prefer meeting well-known and public figures in person around the globe, as a confidant and for business discussions. It’s very personal and fun when they are not dressed for the red carpet or glamorous events. We maintain confidentiality in our work, hence privacy and trust is of utmost importance. In general, stars and celebrities are very efficient, structured, and in many ways, just like us.
BF: How did you manage big career shifts and risks?
PT: Big career shifts are like an adventure. As a Young Ambassador and international lawyer, I traveled to many exotic places. While I felt secure with my global networks and skills, what scared me at times, was flying in small planes to exotic areas. Overcoming this helped me become essentially fearless later in life!
Massive career shifts are very challenging. It takes a lot of time and effort to do well in one discipline or field. It takes a different level of dedication to be able to build more layers on top of that and juggle many disciplines and jurisdictions well. I learned to work smart, adapt, stay safe, be patient, embrace and enjoy the challenges.
Risk-taking is like an art, and once mastered it is very rewarding. There are a lot of responsibilities and challenges in being a Founder, growing a group of global companies, and juggling many roles. But if we follow our passions, work smart and give back to the community, the possibilities are endless. The journey has been amazing!
BF: Was there a time when you thought it was ‘too challenging’?
PT: It is a challenge to juggle many responsibilities in many cities. At times it can be overwhelming. The environment is always changing. The time-zone differences are not always fun. But I just kept moving forward knowing that the risks taken will evolve into an amazing freedom, lifestyle and journey. I enjoy the challenges and constantly being outside of my comfort zone, learning, and transforming.
BF: What are your suggestions for young entrepreneurs who want to become global?
PT: My advice to young entrepreneurs is to follow your passions, dreams and instincts. Be compassionate with yourself and others. Embrace thinking and living outside the box and globally. It is also important to live with intention, work smart, think long term and create a fun and meaningful journey, as a UCLA Law School Director stated ‘You are always so efficient and effective. That’s why you are so successful!’