Tho H. Nguyen works for Teradata Global Alliances. Tho has many reasons to pay it forward because of his own personal story -- and it all started with the CARE organization (humanitarian aid company). His family fled Vietnam in 1979 when he was just seven years old. “I was one of the boat people,” says Tho. “My parents sacrificed all their savings to book passage for themselves and their seven children on a journey to freedom.”
Bound for Hong Kong, the fragile boat Tho’s family was on quickly became too heavy and all passengers had to throw their luggage overboard. On day four at sea without food and water, the boat ran out of gas and was stranded. Fortunately, a European ship came by and towed the boat to a refugee camp in Indonesia. The refugees chopped wood, built barracks that were shared by multiple families, and learned how to fish and hunt for food to survive. Tho recalls his experience, “We were the lucky ones – other families who fled were pirated at sea and families were split up, kidnapped or even killed.”
When the CARE organization approached his parents at the refugee camp six months later about where they wanted to live, they said, unequivocally, the United States. As luck would have it, St. Francis Episcopal Church in Greensboro, North Carolina was looking to sponsor a family. Tho’s family came to the United States, where the church provided a home, taught the family English and helped them acclimate to their new environment. “We are very fortunate and we would not be in the United States if it wasn’t for the church.”
As a Teradata employee today, Tho enjoys giving back and paying it forward for others through Teradata Cares, a great way to for our employees to have fun, meet passionate people and feel good volunteering – all at the same time. Tho has supported DataKind organization and Summit Rotary International. “DataKind is a great charity whose mission is to utilize data for good.” Tho participated in a DataDive and appreciated the opportunity to meet the organizers and volunteers who bring so much passion and knowledge for good causes.
The Summit Rotary International gave Tho scholarships – the McKnight Scholarship aided in his undergraduate degree and the prestigious Ambassadorial Scholarship gave him a chance to earn his MBA in International Business from England. Tho says, “The Summit Rotary Club gave me a chance to see and experience the world, which I will never forget.”
Finally, Tho serves as the Vice President for the local Vietnamese-American Association of Raleigh (VAAR). VAAR has given Tho an opportunity to reconnect with his roots, maintain the Vietnamese language and preserve the rich culture and traditional values. Being a part of this community helps Tho appreciate the past, honor the present and anticipate for the future. “I count my blessings every day,” Tho said.
Speaking of blessings, his two-year-old daughter Ana gives Tho another reason to give back. “I want to pay it forward,” Tho said. “And help Ana’s future and future generations.” This is one more reason Tho is donating his proceeds from his book Leaders and Innovators: How Data-Driven Organizations are Winning with Analytics to charity.