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Sep 4, 2012

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Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T Salon

Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T Salon

For first- and second-generation immigrant children, the spoils of living in the U.S. is not without its hardships. For some, the pursuit of the American Dream can seem elusive, unattainable; and, given the latest debates regarding the U.S. immigration process, it would seem that the hardships will continue for quite some time. But, for every struggle, there is a triumph.

Meet, Nancy T. Nguyen, a first generation American trilingual entrepreneur and author. Her portfolio includes an impressive lot of accolades including: the title of “Ms. Corporate America 2011”, Founder of Sweet T Salon and Sweet T Luxury, author of The Networking Diary, and a MBA recipient from DePaul’s Graduate School of Business. Her achievements exemplify the incredible potential of a population which, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), noted as striking for its rapid generational transformation.

According to MPI, some 11.3 million people ages 16 to 26 – or one in every four young adults in the United States – were members of the first and second generations. It’s a diverse population noted for its bilingualism, high enrollment rates in both high school and college, and its financial earning capabilities.

Born in a crowded refugee camp in the Philippines, Nancy’s parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1982 in hopes to provide her with a better opportunity in life.

“When I was born, my parents were caught between one life and another,” recalled Nancy. “My father used to tell me that he’d rather ‘die at sea than live under communism’”. “When we finally reached U.S. shores (North Carolina), we had nothing. My parents worked hard – around the clock – barely having the chance to see me grow-up. They faced discrimination and had to overcome the language barrier, but they succeeded nonetheless.”

It is in seeing and learning from her parents struggles that Nancy gained the respect, knowledge, skill set and confidence to succeed in her own goals. Now, her infectious entrepreneurial spirit has translated in the creation of several successful ventures.

Over the past three years, Nancy has developed and launched the Sweet T luxury brand which celebrates the fashion, beauty, diversity and sophistication of the modern South. Her Sweet T Salon and Sweet T southern-inspired jewelry has caught the attention of big name clientele from around the world. In addition, Nancy’s book, The Networking Diary, serves as a reference on how people from a span of different generations, ages and cultures have successfully worked the room.

If history (and stats) have taught us anything, the U.S. will continue to be a nation of immigrants. The key to success is in part by providing an infrastructure that supports and cultivates the economic opportunities for this population. Moreover, it is in retaining the intellect, drive and entrepreneurship of this sector that will undoubtedly lead to America’s future successes.

Stories of immigrant integration, like Nancy’s, should serve as a testament to not just the potential of this demographic, but as evidence that our nation is indeed a land where dreams can come true.

“My parents used to explain to me how lucky we are to be in the U.S.,” said Nancy. “Because here, we have the freedom and resources available to be our own bosses and to create jobs.”

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