Born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, I grew up during turbulent times in my native country. I was raised with a strong work ethic that has served me well throughout my life—during the years I attended the University of Saigon, my career at IBM-Vietnam, my immigration to the United States in 1975, my subsequent reemployment with IBM, and my current position as CFO with Pragmatics Inc.

My experiences as a young woman in Vietnam are an integral part of who I am today and have shaped my life and leadership style. During my early employment with IBM-Vietnam, I pursued a career, working hard to make the most of every opportunity. I had the privilege of working with and being mentored by dynamic colleagues and leaders who encouraged me and helped me to develop technical acumen that led to a number of challenging and enriching positions. And while I received recognition and awards for excellent technical achievement, the most valuable lessons I learned during those years were about integrity, respect, and working as part of a team to do the best possible job in all situations.

The greatest challenge I faced was coming to the United States because I had no family in this country. Sponsored by IBM, I was able to leave Vietnam and come here to build a better life, further my career, and subsequently make a difference for others. I have been able to use my life lessons and good fortune to help raise and mentor five nieces and nephews who came to this country speaking no English. All five attended college here and have gone on to successful careers. I financially support approximately 100 cataract operations each year for the underprivileged in Vietnam and sponsor scholarships to enable Vietnamese high school students to get better educations. I am currently setting up the Duong-Nguyen Family Trust to provide college education scholarships, something that is of paramount importance to me.

As an executive for a government contractor that places a high value on diversity in leadership, I use my position to pass on the lessons I have learned during my career—both the positive and the negative. I believe that it is my duty as a strong business leader to share institutional and strategic knowledge with those who work for me and to serve as a dedicated role model and mentor for those entering the corporate work force.