We had the good fortune of connecting with Chau Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chau, how does your business help the community or world?
Founded in 1977 a small group of volunteers, a few phones, and a passionate commitment to helping women and children rebuild lives torn apart by violence, the Houston Area Women’s Center offers hope and healing to survivors of domestic and sexual violence here in the Greater Houston area. We offer comprehensive programs and services to all affected by abuse Including advocacy, counseling, education, shelter and support services. Our services are free, confidential and available to everyone.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As Chief Public Strategies Officer for the Houston Area Women’s Center, I have the privilege of serving an organization that supports and empowers survivors of domestic and sexual violence. My role allows me to connect with our community, expand key partnerships and as thought leaders, drive broad awareness to change cultural norms around how survivors are heard and understood. Our goal is to end interpersonal violence for good and for all, and I get to drive our movement, mission and message day in and day out, alongside an incredible team of committed advocates. My unique background as a television news journalist paved the way for me to choose a helping profession, and ultimately, one in the non-profit space. As a reporter, I witnessed and shared countless stories of crime and injustice, in many ways, I was a social worker in training, connecting with people in their darkest moments and unthinkable tragedies. I grew a great sense of empathy and compassion for their pain, and an even stronger conviction that my life’s purpose had to be rooted in service to others. Still, my path to becoming a social worker and non-profit executive after leaving a solid career in TV news did not come without personal adversity. After graduate school and earning my Masters in social work, my marriage ended, and I quickly found myself as a single mother raising two young toddlers. Through hard work, tenacity, lots of support and a heck of a lot of luck, I have achieved by some accounts, “single mother success”. But I am very mindful this is not the norm. Single mothers make up 80 percent of all single parent households, yet 1 in 3 live in poverty, face homelessness and have limited to no access to health care, child care and education. While this is troubling, it also gives me an ever stronger resolve to continue to advocate and serve as a voice for vulnerable groups, especially women and children, because “there go I but for the grace of God.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love all that Houston has to offer. My family and I were refugees who escaped Vietnam following the Vietnam War, so I have practically lived in Houston most of my life. The people are amazing, the arts seen is fantastic and you can literally eat your way through this city. Among my favorite things to do: – Jog or walk the Memorial Park jogging trail – Take your dog to the Allen Parkway dog park – Stroll through the Museum of Fine Arts -meditate at the Rothko Chapel -Take a foodie tour through Chinatown -Catch a show in the downtown theatre district – Catch the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall – Grab a blanket and lounge among our many city parks -Check out local art and artists on Second Saturdays at Sawyer Yards
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am fortunate to live my life with true purpose and meaning. I am inspired each and every day by my tireless colleagues, who advocate on behalf of survivors by supporting them, believing them and believing in them, and doing this work with grace and compassion. They are my heroes, alongside my own mother and daughters, who overflow my love and gratitude cup. As a single mother, they give me inspire me and give me strong resolve to keep fighting the good fight for equality, a seat at the table and to continue to be a voice for those at the margins. There go I but for the grace of God!