By Quang-Trân DAO, Sustainability Project Manager, Schoolab Asia –
Innovation studio Schoolab Asia is sharing the voices of its stakeholders on sustainability, partnerships and impact in Vietnam on the Sustainable Vietnam platform. Quang-Tran Dao,Sustainability Project Manager, takes a personal’ journey’ to his parents’ home country Vietnam and opens up on the possibilities to impact sustainably through innovation, focus and being present.
Will I be able to make an impact in Vietnam?
This is the first sentence I asked myself the first time I landed in the home country of my parents 7 months ago. Frankly speaking, while my parents are from Vietnam, I grew up in France. I did not, yet, have strong ties nor affinity to Vietnam before joining the Schoolab Asia team in Ho Chi Minh City.
But it soon turned out to the biggest challenge and opportunity of my life so far.
Not knowing the language, not knowing the business culture, no network to rely on – Vietnam was a deep dive into a ‘jungle’ of the unknown. Nonetheless, it was also a huge opportunity to grow as a person and in confidence. It also added a more proactive mindset to my skills.
Lifting up sustainability and innovation in Vietnam has pushed me to converse with a CEO of 500 employees to pitching to a board comprised of university deans.
The reason why I go through all these ordeals is that I am firmly convinced of my purpose in Vietnam: to have a positive impact on the environment and society. There are ups and downs in this journey however, exceptional encounters fuel me to keep on going.
Meetings with a young generation of Vietnamese peers motivates me to tackle environmental and societal challenges and encourages me to move forward.
Some of this ‘purpose’ has led me to participate in platforms such as the sustainability workshops called “the climate collage” to raise awareness on sustainability and innovation with other Vietnamese associations. With my company Schoolab Asia, I integrate my environmental commitment into my work by leading a digital hackathon called ‘Circular Innovation Jam’ around the plastic waste solution, as well as currently driving the innovation program called ‘Regenerate & De-Plastify the Planet’.
Climate change is the topic that is worries me the most but also what gives me the drive to push forward. Along with Vietnamese students, I am fully dedicated to using innovation for the common good.
With Focus Comes Impact
Since the 2015 Paris Agreement where nations came together to combat climate change, I have accumulated a lot of information about this topic. I have felt powerless as the issues are so big and I have worried about the future. Nonetheless, my Vietnamese experience helps me channel this overwhelming feeling and narrow down my scope of influence.
I know I cannot change things on a global scale but I can focus on what I am capable of and still make an impact that contributes to large-scale problems.
These opportunities make me realize that impact, even on a small scale, can lead to a snowball effect where one can inspire many in a peer-to-peer fashion.
I want to do my best right now, in the present. With that comes impact.
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