David Duong is a successful American entrepreneur, business owner/operator and philanthropist who arrived in the United States with his family in 1979, having emigrated from Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. While his younger siblings went to school during the day, David worked during the day and went to school at night to learn English. David and his family found opportunity and profit by recycling paper, metal, and plastics from solid waste in the early 1980s.
The Duong family began recycling in San Francisco’s Financial District by separating high-quality office paper from trash. Within a short time, the Duong’s expanded with collection vehicles, then a warehouse, then machinery for consolidating loads. In 1983, David established his first company named CoGiDo Recycling, in Oakland. It sold and brokered large quantities of recycled materials to domestic and Asian markets. David enabled other entrepreneurs to build their own recycling businesses by selling and buying with CoGiDo. Within a decade CoGiDo was sold to a national waste company, and David became its General Manager.
California Waste Solutions now operates six facilities in the Bay Area and is a continuously growing enterprise. CWS has three state-of-the-art recycling processing facilities and serves greater than 1.4M customers with a 100 truck fleet fueled by clean CNG and bio-diesel, each equipped with GPS, internet, and cameras that increase safety, efficiency and customer satisfaction. The CWS recycling facilities are being continually upgraded to handle greater quantities and types of materials to recycle and will apply the highest computer and AI-assisted sorting technologies that will further improve product quality, efficiency, environmental compliance and worker safety.
In 2005, David was awarded a fifty-year contract to design, construct and operate the first integrated solid waste management facility for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. It is wholly owned by CWS and it is the first and only integrated solid waste facility in Southeast Asia and it is the largest landfill operation in Vietnam. The Da Phuoc Integrated Solid Waste Facility (DPI) includes a Sanitary Landfill began operating in 2007 and now receives greater than 6,500 tons per day and operates at US EPA standards.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, David began the Vietnamese American Business Association (VABA). The mission of VABA is to strengthen the collaboration among Vietnamese, other Asian, and non-Asian leaders in business, government, labor and academics. VABA expanded to southern California and beyond California. It has established strengthening links between people in the USA and Vietnam, for products and services marketed between both continents, North America, and Asia.
Ms. Tran Thu Huong has over 20 years of experience working in large companies in the US and large banks and financial groups in Vietnam. In 2014, she joined VIB as Strategy Head and then Head of VIB’s Retail Banking Division. Under Huong’s leadership, VIB’s Retail Banking Division grew from a small profit center to a major business that now accounts for over 60% of bank profits, 90% of bank book value, 90% of bank salesforce, and 99% of bank customers. Today, VIB Retail Banking is the 4th largest retail banking operation among Vietnamese private joint-stock commercial banks. Huong’s business is an industry leader in Vietnam in a number of areas including bancassurance market share (#1), credit card growth (#3), auto loan market share (#1), and profit CAGR growth (#1; 63% over the past 5 years, compared with the industry average of 30%). In 2022 Forbes named VIB one of the top 50 best public companies in Vietnam.
Huong holds a BA from Hanoi Foreign Trade University, an MBA in Finance & Accounting, and a master’s in Financial Engineering in the United States.
Kathleen Matthews is a global communications and public affairs strategist who has lived and worked in Washington DC for more than 40 years, first as a television journalist, then as a communications leader for the world’s largest hotel company, and most recently as a Democratic political leader.
She was an award winning news anchor and reporter at the ABC-TV affiliate in Washington, DC for 25 years, where she covered education, politics, and hosted the internationally syndicated Working Woman TV series. In 2000, she traveled to Vietnam for a special series on the country’s progress 25 years after the end of the American War in Vietnam. She later visited Vietnam in 2017 as a delegate for a woman-to-woman exchange with Communist Party leaders and the National Democratic Institute.
During her 10-year career as executive vice-president for global communications and public affairs at Marriott International, Kathleen was responsible for the companies public relations and government affairs. She created and served on the company’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, and co-chaired the company’s Global Green Council, which oversees Marriott’s ambitious sustainability goals. She currently serves as an Ambassador for the World Travel and Tourism Council, where she advocates with governments across the globe for socially responsible policies that promote tourism.
Her political chapter began in 2015 with a run for US Congress in Maryland. After losing a close primary, she ran and was elected Maryland Democratic Party Chair in 2017-2019. She and her husband live in Chevy Chase Maryland, and have three grown children.
Lien-Hang T. Nguyen (Nguyễn Thị Liên Hằng) specializes in the study of the United States in the world, with spatial focus on Southeast Asia and temporal interest in the Cold War.
She is currently working on two projects. The first is a comprehensive history of the 1968 Tet Offensive and the second explores the role of gender, people’s diplomacy, and transnational networks of antiwar activism during the Vietnam War.
She is the author of Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, which won the Society for Military History (SMH) Edward M. Coffman Prize, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Stuart L. Bernath Prize, the UKY Department of History Alice S. Hallam Prize, was a finalist for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize, and earned her an invitation to participate in the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Hang is the General Editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Vietnam War (3 vols.) and she and Professor Paul T. Chamberlin are the Co-Editors of the “Cambridge Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations” Series.
Ngô Bảo Châu is the Francis and Rose Yuen Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.
In 2010, Châu won the Fields Medal. Fields Medals are given every four years to the most distinguished mathematicians aged 40 or under and are regarded as the highest professional honor a mathematician can attain.
A native of Hanoi, Châu is the founder and Scientific Director the Vietnamese Institute for Advanced Studies in Mathematics (VIASM) in Hanoi.
Earlier in his career Châu held appointments at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ and the Université Paris-Sud. He received his PhD at the Université Paris-Sud and his BS at the École Normale Supérieure, Université Pierre et Marie Curie.
Châu is an Honorary Member of the London Mathematical Society (since 2021), a Foreign Member of the Academie des Sciences de Paris (since 2016), and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (since 2012).
Mrs. Christy Le (Lê Diệp Kiều Trang) is CFO and President of Vietnam Operations for Arevo, an advanced composites additive manufacturing technology company. She is also President of Vietnam Operations of Harrison.ai, a software technology company that automatically analyzes medical images and provides medical professionals with real time decision support.
She is co-founder of Alabaster, a group that invests in founders building companies with radical solutions that will have a positive, planet-level impact. The group’s 30+ early stage investments have recurring themes in materials science, semiconductors, and biotechnology that enable making cleaner, more affordable energy, food, and consumer products.
Previously, Christy was in a few executive roles at technology companies including Country Director for Vietnam at Facebook. Before Facebook she was the Managing Director of Fossil Vietnam and VP of Operations of Fossil Group, which acquired Misfit for $260M in 2015. At Misfit, a Silicon Valley startup that developed and marketed a number of award-winning wearable and smart home technology products, she was the CFO and COO from the company’s founding until its acquisition. The company leveraged its R&D and operations teams in Vietnam, China and the US to quickly grow to be a global leader in wearables in less than three years. Prior to Misfit, Christy was a consultant at McKinsey and an investment banker at HSBC.
Christy graduated Double First in Economics at Oxford (BA & MPhil) and as a Valedictorian and a Legatum Fellow at MIT Sloan (MBA). She is passionate about her two kids, working with amazing teams, and engaging in projects that seek to maximize human potential.
Mr. Chris Helzer serves as Vice President of Global Public Policy & Government Affairs for NIKE, Inc. He is responsible for the development and execution of the company’s public policy strategies. Chris leads a diverse team responsible for global trade, sustainability, digital, tax and manufacturing policies for NIKE and affiliate companies. Chris regularly represents NIKE with senior government leaders in key global markets.
Chris previously served as Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Global Trade and Manufacturing, for NIKE. He was also General Manager for NIKE Vietnam LLC and led the establishment of the first ever NIKE sales and marketing entity in Vietnam.
Before joining NIKE, Chris held leadership positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors in Asia and the United States. He also served in the United States Air Force in the field of intelligence and national security.
Outside of work, Chris is active in philanthropic activities, where he leads programs that contribute to enhancing empowerment of youth through sport.
Chris is a native Oregonian and a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He currently resides in Singapore with his wife and two children.
Cuong Do currently serves as the head of the global strategy group for Samsung Group, where he helps lead the group’s strategy and growth efforts. Prior to Samsung, Cuong served as the Chief Strategy Officer for Merck, Tyco Electronics, and Lenovo. He was also a former senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he spent 17 years and helped build the Firm’s healthcare, high tech, and corporate finance practices.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, U.S., and a Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, New Hampshire, U.S. He serves on Autism Speaks’ Executive, Family Services, and Science Committees. He currently or previously served on the boards of Celebrate the Children (school for children with special needs), Caring for Cambodia (non-profit organization working to establish model schools for Cambodia); the National Youth Science Foundation, the Tuck MBA Advisory Board, and WuXi AppTec (leading pharmaceutical R&D outsourcing company). He was co-founder and Chairman of Callidus Biopharma (a biotech company working in rare diseases acquired by Amicus Therapeutics in 2013) and Lysodel Therapeutics (a company developing an innovative pharmaceutical product for obesity).
With more than 26 years of professional experience, Hoang Thi Mai Huong is the Chair of Publicis Groupe Vietnam and the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam.
Huong became the first General Manager at Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam in 1995. In 1998, Huong founded Venus Communications providing strategic and creative public relations counsel to local and regional clients.
Venus Communications built a reputation as one of Vietnam’s top PR activation agencies. It was acquired by MSL in March 2016.
Prior to Saatchi and Saatchi, Huong had 5 years’ experience as a Press Officer at Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She holds an M.P.A. from Harvard University and a B.A. in International Journalism from the Moscow Institute of International Relations.
Frances A. Zwenig is President Emeritus of the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute, Inc., the educational arm of the US-ASEAN Business Council, a trade association of the top US firms doing business in Southeast Asia.
Zwenig’s long association with the region began with being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand. In addition, Zwenig worked for many years with the U.S. Congress.
Her experience on the Hill includes the following: Administrative Assistant to Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts) and Staff Director for the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.
Subsequent to her years on Capitol Hill, she was Chief of Staff to then Ambassador Madeleine Albright, US Mission to the United Nations; Vice President and Counsel, US-Vietnam Trade Council; Executive Director, Burma-Myanmar Forum, and Councilor to the US-ASEAN Business Council.
She graduated from the College of William and Mary, received an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and received a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.