Copyright 2019 by Irene Ohler | All rights reserved 

STORYTELLERS

Do Kim Tinh, Restaurant Manager – Lotte Hotel. 

Tinh was born in Thanh Hoa province. She had to leave school early to give an opportunity to her other 3 siblings. Since her dad passed away, Tinh’s mother became the breadwinner of the family. Tinh left her countryside home to work in the big city of  Ho Chi Minh City, where life was difficult.   Until she saw an advertisement that changed her life – a recruitment ad from KOTO. 

After attending KOTO, Tinh went to work at Jaspa Restaurant in Hanoi (The Alfresco Group).  Because of her hard work and continual development, she soon got offered a management position at Lotte Hotel. Throughout Tinh’s work at the restaurant and hotel, Tinh kept mentoring KOTO trainees and graduates at her workplace and sometimes she comes back to KOTO as a alumni guest speaker. Tinh is a truly amazing alumna, who lives and breathes the KOTO philosophy of Know One, Teach One and she became KOTO Alumni Ambassador in 2015 for her wonderful achievements, dedication and success. 

Tinh is now in her mid-30s and her life comes full circle; while being a full time mom of two boys, having her own family and managing two restaurants at a five star hotel, she has grown into a young woman leader.
 

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Huong Dang Thi, International Partnerships and Engagement Manager - KOTO

Huong was born in 1986 in a farming family. Her father passed away when she was very young. Her mother had to work very hard just to make a living. The yearly income for the family only came from harvesting a few paddy fields. When Huong was 12 years old, her mother became very sick. Huong decided to drop out of school and gave up her dream of becoming a literature teacher. At 13, Huong arrived in Hanoi by herself, hoping that she could earn some money to support her mother and for her siblings to remain at school. Huong had a lot of hard work, which was too much for a young child. She babysat and woke up at 2am to cook sticky rice and banana cakes to sell. Her life was full of challenges and dangers. There were many drug dealers where she lived and she slept on a small bed under the stairs.

Despite all these difficulties her passion for study never stopped. Huong decided to register for a night class at a Continuing Education Centre. Then, a friend introduced Huong to KOTO and in 2006; she became an official trainee at KOTO. In 2007, Huong was offered a waitress position at the Intercontinental Hanoi Hotel Westlake.

Fast forward to 2012, Huong commenced a Diploma of Business Management in Melbourne. In 2013, Box Hill Institute offered Huong a scholarship to study an Associate Degree in Commerce, and Huong was honored as Victoria’s International Student of the Year – Higher Education and the Premier’s Award- International Student of the Year with a $20,000 scholarship.

Huong has completed her Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia).  Huong has been awarded numerous awards. In 2017, Huong was selected to be a Young Leader representing Vietnam at the Australia Vietnam Young Leader Dialogue.

Because of her passion and the support from KOTO, Box Hill Institute, and the community, Huong’s life and her family's have changed completely. Huong is an excellent example for KOTO trainees to follow and realize: All your dreams can come true if you dare to hope and rise to the challenge.

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CURATOR

Irene has been based in Vietnam since 2012, and has focused on initiatives that inspire women to find their own paths, and to ignite their leadership.  She is the co-author of a Book on Women Leaders, ‘Ba Trieu’s 21st Century Daughters’, the co-founder of the Women’s Story Telling Salon™, and has introduced the women leadership development programme Coming Into Your Own (CIYO) to Vietnam. 
 
Irene’s truly global experience spans more than 20 years living and working as a certified coach and international facilitator across four continents in her country of origin (Austria), China, Brazil, New Zealand, and presently in Viet Nam. 
 
Her Masters Degree in Sinology first brought her to China. There, in 2002, Irene became one of the first certified executive coaches working in Shanghai with Fortune 100 companies (in Mandarin).
 
In Brazil she continued advising as a China specialist, intercultural consultant and executive coach. There, in 2007, Irene also founded her own leadership development consultancy, iglobal Coaching ltd., which she later continued with new programmes for business and government agencies in New Zealand.
 
Each country and culture provided its own challenges and rewards; each move entailed deep reflections on how to best contribute to her new host country.

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