My Lien Pham is keeping the family business, Long Phung going, taking it back to their family roots in Vietnam.
What’s your story?
Born in Canada but from Vietnamese descent, I come from a family of five children where I am the oldest. My family business, Long Phung is Asian food manufacturing, with high standard of food sanitation. It was established in Canada and has expanded in many locations such as United States and Vietnam. It started when I was 15 years old and I knew that I wanted to embark on international business. Even during my studies, I had to work at the family business. After my graduation at HECMontreal, continuing to work in Montreal and having a stable life would not satiate my thirst for more action and challenges. I started to travel more to Asia and let my dad know my intention to take the helm of the manufacturing to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He was cautious at first as Vietnam was still a patriarch country and can pose obstacles to female entrepreneurs. I appeased his concern because I am not only mentally tough but I am also physically tough having learnt karate from a young age. Now, I have made Vietnam my second home.
What excites you most about your industry?
To be able to transmit my knowledge and instill an awareness in the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in food and food production. With this comes a feeling of usefulness and self-gratification.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I still have family residing in Vietnam. Even though I was born in Canada, I never let go of my roots and my culture. Although, being able to read and write in Vietnamese, made my affiliation there even stronger.
Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
I would definitely say Saigon or the city formerly known as Ho Chi Minh City! The way businesses work, the gastronomy, the cultural shock, the population, the development and the emergence of the city as well as the history make it my favourite city. I love everything about the city! One would say “the order within the chaos.” I have never seen a city with so many things happening. If you have visited the city you would know what I mean.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Make it happen. Work as a team. Stay focussed. Diversification creates confusion.
Who inspires you?
My dad inspires me a lot because he is a visionary. As strange as it seems he is almost always right. My mum inspires me because she is perseverant. She never gives up!
They both work very hard to take care of their five children. We learnt from them as we, the brothers and sisters, have worked as a team since we were very young. Needless to say we all have made a lot of sacrifices and always lean on each other when times are tough.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
There is a saying that I believe to be very true: “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” I have realised with time and experience that your entourage and business partners are very important. To surround yourself with honest people with fitting principles will lead to ethical integrity and a durable business. Thanks to that, we’ve been in business and have maintained a good reputation in the marketplace for more than 25 years.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would do everything the same. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason. Every day I give my best with a clear and concise goal.
How do you unwind?
I like to go to a rice field and marvel at nature’s wondrous beauty. Life is magnifique!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan for its simplicity. It is an amazing city. It makes you realise that you don’t need big or complex things to be happy.
Everyone in business should read this book:
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
My biggest lesson in life is, ‘courtesy costs nothing’.
Shameless plug for your business:
Check out : www.longphung.com
More about our family business story (In French): http://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/l-epicerie/2016-2017/segments/reportage/9268/saucisse-vietnam-charcuterie
How can people connect with you?
The best way is by email: [email protected]
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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