Tammy Nguyen Lee
ATG Against The Grain Productions,
COO of The Lee Household, Actor/Model,
Producer/Director of OPERATION BABYLIFT:
THE LOST CHILDREN OF VIETNAM
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.
You may have to work for it, however." Richard Bach, ILLUSIONS
"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." - Richard Bach, ILLUSIONS
"#beCAUSE" - Me
What are some must-read books that have inspired/changed you? Why?
Growing up, I was very inspired by JOY LUCK CLUB (Amy Tan) , ILLUSIONS (Richard Bach) , French existentialist philosophy books and lots of American/English literature that made me appreciate the role of strong females, my cultural identity, human emotions, great storytelling and relating to others. These days, I don't have time to read much other than children's books to my girls, but there are actually great lessons in them - persevering, sharing, being brave, showing kindness towards others! I try to find inspiration anywhere, because the life of a working mom is hard without it!
Who/what inspires you? Why?
I get inspired by people who put their heart out there honestly and authentically to try to do good for people or change the world, whether anyone is watching or not; I love when someone takes a risk to pursue their passion and works doggedly hard without excuses or whining to achieve their dream. In either case, it is especially moving to me when they have to overcome great odds or obstacles. Having the dream/desire can be the easy part. Actually taking the risk to do it, then keeping at it while maintaining a positive attitude and finally achieving success is the hard part. I get inspired by advocates, artists and now moms in particular. As a mom of two young children, I know how much being a parent requires the ultimate compassion, creativity, patience, endurance and determination. Plus, you do it not for the compensation, but because you genuinely love your "work(s)" with all your soul.
What are some of your advice or tips for being a Compassionate Citizen?
In an era where we are inundated with and feel the pull of so much social media and causes and the "busy-ness" of our own personal and professional lives, it can get overwhelming with deciding who you should help, what you should do and when to help. What I hope is that people don't turn a blind eye, become desensitized/apathetic or just make excuses, which is the opposite of compassion. Whether you're an adult or a young child, compassion is about allowing yourself the necessary time to process, understand, feel and empathize. Once you can do that, the next step is to try to DO something about it, even something small. Simply start by THINKING compassionately. What to do next will come naturally, if you keep listening to your heart.
What are you currently working on?
Always trying to inspire, educate and motivate others through our projects with ATG. We review and award 10 artistic/leadership scholarships, give 10 scholarships for adoptees to attend and heritage/culture camps and also help at those camps, continue giving aid to our supported orphanages in Asia, and plan two exciting events - the 4th annual Groundbreakers Speaker panel and 7th annual Fashion for a Passion charity event. Plus, being the best mom I can be to my two darling daughters is my biggest daily priority.