It has been awhile since I’ve last written anything. Chalk it up to the daily grind of life, in and outside of work. There’s also the all consuming duty of fatherhood. Suffice to say, a lot has happened since my last blog entry.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share some exciting news! I’ve recently been promoted to the role of VP of Operations at ShiftLeft, the application startup I’ve helped build since 2017. My responsibilities continue to be running the DevOps, IT Ops, and Security Compliance programs.
I am grateful beyond words, from the confidence and support the leadership has given me throughout my tenure.
There’s this quote that resonates with me through the years and it has served as my north star:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
With this promotion, by no means do I feel that this is the pinnacle of my career, but rather a new chapter and journey. I have much to learn and grow. As I look back to where I started, I can’t help but to feel a rush of emotions stirring within me. As you will soon learn, I came from a very humble beginning.
I was born in Vietnam. I was home-schooled, albeit inadequately. By the time I was 10, I could barely recognize the 26 alphabets in the English language and had a passable knowledge of basic mathematics. That was when my family decided to emigrate to the United States.
We spent about 8 months in an immigration processing camp in the Philippines. By the time we were granted entry visas to enter the US, I was 11 years ago. I didn’t speak a lick of English. We arrived in the US in March and by the end of that month, my parents had enrolled me in middle school as a 6th grader.
I mostly fumbled through the remaining 3 months of that school year. When summer came around, I would follow and become a shadow to my younger cousin, who was born in the states and spoke fluent English. By the time I started 7th grade, I spoke broken English and could barely understand it. When 8th grade came around, I had a good command of the language.
I wish I could say that I was a late blooming prodigy and went on to score extremely high on the SAT. I wish I could say I got accepted to an ivy league university or other equally prestigious colleges. No, I was mostly wading through mud. I had such a late start in math that I struggled throughout high school. Luckily, I ended up in the local state university. It was a blue collar university where the main goal was to churn out talents that form the backbone of Silicon Valley.
What business does a kid have with such a background to end up in an executive leadership role in a start-up funded by some of the top tier VC firms in the valley? Through hard work. Through enduring countless bad and toxic managers and leaders throughout my career. Through falling down so frequently that I’ve lost count and then picking myself up the next day to start anew. And to finally have the opportunity to work with a supportive leadership that recognizes my potential.
There’s a lot to unpack in those early encounters and experiences I’ve had in my early career. It will have to be in another blog. For now, I am smiling ear-to-ear at the journeys and wherever these roads will take me 1, 3, 5 or 10 years from now.