Exclusive Interview with Tiarra Magazine

A Queen, An Author, An Inspiration: Nancy T. Nguyen


Nancy T. Nguyen, MBA is a First Generation American trilingual entrepreneur and the author of The Networking Diary. After earning a Bachelor’s in Spanish at NC State University, Nancy established her career at the Chicago White Sox and City of Chicago while serving as an Ambassador for DePaul’s Graduate School of Business. She’s studied business and networked in Japan and Peru. Nancy founded Sweet T Salon in Raleigh, NC. She paid her way through college by working as a licensed cosmetologist. She is a lifelong advocate of Locks-of-Love, the SPCA, ArtReach 4 Kids, and Alpha Kappa Psi Co-ed Business Fraternity. Crowned as Ms. Corporate America in 2011, she works to inspire entrepreneurs throughout the world. As a “business and beauty guru,” Nancy helps entrepreneurial women network with passion and purpose and look good doing it.

• MBA – DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
• BA – North Carolina State University – Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Criminology
• Licensed Cosmetologist – International Institute of Hair Design
• Professional Modeling – Barbizon

• Diversity MBA Magazine to be profiled as one of the top 100 emerging leaders under the age of 50
• Interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for the article, “The Mommy M.B.A: Schools Try to Attract More Women” (August 20, 2008)
• Interviewed by First Business for a documentary titled, “Hope and Change (of Jobs),” (January 21, 2009)

• Dr. John N. Nicholson Fellowship Scholar
• Dr. Curtis J. Crawford XCEO Personal Leadership Scholar
• Kellstadt Graduate School of Business Student Ambassador
• Executive Vice President of the DePaul MBA Association Board
• Director of Marketing for Alpha Kappa Psi- Tau Chi, a co-ed business fraternity
• Honoree of the Louis de Marillac Woman of Spirit and Action Award
• Nominated for the Asian MBA Community Leadership Award

Pageant Experience Highlights:
Nancy’s infectious sense of humor, charismatic and fun personality is just a few reasons why she is a six-time Miss Congeniality winner. She has been featured in several pageant publications.
• Miss United States Winner, 2009
– Miss United States Ambassador Winner, 2009
– Miss Illinois United States Winner, 2009
• Model Beauty USA (Ms. Division), 2009
– Ms. Model Beauty of IL, 2009
– Ms. Model Beauty of Chicago, 2009
• Miss Chicago International, 2007
• Miss IL International Scholarship Pageant Competition, 2007
– Recipient of Community Service Award
– Voted Miss Congeniality
• Miss Valentine Sweetheart Winner, 2001
– Miss Photogenic Winner
• Voted Homecoming Queen 2000
• Voted Prom Queen 2000
• Miss National N.C. Teen-Ager State Finalist, 1999
– Voted Miss Congeniality
• Voted Prom Princess, 1999
• Miss Vietnamese Page
– Voted National Miss Jr. Teen Congeniality, 1997
• Miss Jr. Teen Scholarship Pageant Winner, 1997
– Overall Photogenic Winner, 1996
– Miss Jr. Teen Photogenic Winner, 1996

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Chicago. After living in the city for five years, working for the Chicago White Sox and for the City of Chicago as well as making lots of friends during grad school, I fell in love with the city. The mass transit system, the people, and the diverse cultural experience are wonderful.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would they be? Rachel Ray! We are both in the service industry. Her spunk, style and talents are amazing. Although she lives in NY, her dad is from Louisiana originally, so she’s got to have some Southern in her. I love how she is always smiling and cracking jokes. When I am in NY again, I hope I will get to see her. And…. Bill Cowher. He coached with passion throughout his career. I love how he led the Steelers to the Superbowl with such zest. Hopefully, one day I will have the honor to meet him. After all, we actually both went to NC State, we love the Steelers, and we live in Raleigh. Maybe he will come get haircut at my salon one day?

What was the best advice you have ever been given? Sometimes we catch ourselves complaining about something. One time, one of my business mentors replied to one of my text messages, “It’s always an opportunity.” When things get tough, I try re-evaluating the situation by making it better, a learning opportunity, or a chance to show my strengths.

Who is your role model and why? Mom! She arrived to America with a baby (me) and a little red, plaid suitcase. She struggled with poverty, adversity, and other challenges that come with arriving in a new country. After years of working in factories, she paid her way through trade school and opened up her own business. There have been other obstacles she has overcome, but she has put her kids through college and kept herself healthy and happy. No matter how hard she works, she still makes time to ballroom dance. She reminds all of us women to take a moment to take care of ourselves and to follow our passions.

What is something interesting about you? I once studied abroad in Peru and faced many challenges that included: getting lost; having a roommate who broke her toe; and, running out of money. Luckily, I found my way back, wrapped my roommate’s toe up, and was entrepreneurial. Since I did not want to take cash out of my account, I borrowed a hair-cutting cape and shears from a cashier lady at an ice cream shop in Lima, Peru. She happened to tell me that she studied cosmetology. I started cutting hair on my trip throughout Peru and made enough money to eat, shop, and to come back to America. I thanked her after I returned her cape and shears at the end of the trip. Three years later, I walked into her ice cream shop and she gave me the biggest Peruvian hug and kiss!

What three words best describe you? Entrepreneurial, Resilient, Congenial

What is your favorite book? The Professional Communications Toolkit by Dr. Joel Whalen. He has been called The World’s Foremost Authority on Business Communication and I had the honor to have him as my professor. Dr. Whalen has an amazing and engaging personality and he has coached many of us to effectively write and deliver e-mails, “Thank You” letters and speeches.

Tell us about your book and why you wanted to write it? During graduate school, I was asked a lot of questions about networking. At that time, I was not able to answer those questions. Over the course of four years, I recorded most of my networking experiences. From those experiences, I have developed seven principles that answer those same questions asked during grad school. In order to present these principles in an entertaining way, I combined the formats of The Diary of Anne Frank, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and my own creativity to come up with a format for The Networking Diary.
The Networking Diary contains 7 networking principles that will change your life. Inspired by questions about networking while getting an MBA, the book features stories from real-life networking with business professionals. At the end of each chapter, you will have an exercise that will help you with your networking.

This is not a “how to network book.” Rather, it presents amazing insights from networking gurus you would otherwise not get to meet. People like Ali Brown (AliBrown.com), Mary Cantando (WomansAdvantage.biz), Fabienne Frederickson (ClientAttraction.com), Ivan Misner (IvanMisner.com), and Joel Whalen (JoelWhalen.com).mIf want to master networking success, learn and apply the simple networking secrets they reveal in The Networking Diary. These people know what it takes to succeed and they want to share it with you. Learn their secrets to get an edge when networking.

Out of all the important subjects in business, why did you choose the subject networking for your book? My parents arrived in Raleigh, NC with a little red plaid suitcase and me. Families from St. Raphael’s Church helped my immigrant family find our first apartment, job, and baby crib. I thank all the people who never judged me for how little I had but instead appreciated me for how much I wanted to give. The Networking Diary could not have been written without the help of D. Joel Whalen, Ph.D., who not only served as my professor at DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business but who also encouraged and challenged me throughout my academic program. DePaul’s faculty members, friends, and fellow entrepreneurs have encouraged me to proceed fearlessly. I thank the DePaul MBA Association, Alpha Kappa Psi’s Tau Chi chapter, and the Ms./Mrs. Corporate America Pageant for giving me the opportunity to serve your organizations. To all the friends I made while living in Chicago, you continue to inspire me. To all my friends in Raleigh, thank you for cultivating my Southern values and for allowing me to be a Wolfpack. To all my friends worldwide, I think of you often and thank you for sharing your time with me. To all of my hair clients worldwide, thank you for sharing your stories with me. To a special client, Tanya Stockton, and her business colleague, Maryellen Smith, thank you for guiding me through the publishing process, never accepting less than my best efforts. To all of my friends and colleagues at corporate, The Chicago White Sox, The City of Chicago’s DHR, and Sweet T Salon, thank you for providing me with unique conversations. To every single person who’s shared time to read this book or network with me—thank you.

As Ms. Corporate America 2011, how did this title assist you on achieving your goals? It has been a great honor to meet many of today’s entrepreneurs and represent professional and philanthropic women. My reign as Ms. Corporate America 2011 has provided me a chance to learn more about being an entrepreneur in today’s economic environment. According to the Gazelle Index, while government policymakers are scrambling to find ways how small businesses and startups can create more jobs, women business owners have been largely overlooked. Of the nation’s 27.1 million small businesses, 29% are owned by women. We must pay more attention to women’s businesses. Otherwise, we risk overlooking a significant part of the entire small business sector thereby failing to solve the unemployment problem in the most efficient manner.

Last year, I launched my Sweet T brand. The brand celebrates diversity in the South- where Country Comes in all Colors. Although I have traveled the world, I have always stayed true to my blue-collar and Southern roots. My goal is to create the “Benetton of the South”. Owning a small business has enabled me to hire 10 employees, collaborate with the Small Business and Technology Center (SBTDC), and support several causes (i.e. Breast Cancer Awareness, SPCA, ArtReach 4 Kids, and Cervical Cancer Awareness). I challenge all small business owners to always give back to the communities in which they live. After Mrs. Black North Carolina 2011, the NC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the community helped with Sweet T’s grand opening, the MCA gave me the confidence to seize unique opportunities.

What are you doing now since your reign has ended?
Beauty: Sweet T Salon is going to have its 1st birthday in one month. I hope to plan a “Birthday Beach Bash/Book Signing” for the community. My focus is to continue to brand Sweet T and to expand as the “Benetton of the South”.
Business: The Networking Diary was just cataloged in North Carolina State’s library. I hope to have my book available in universities worldwide. When the book is translated into Spanish and put in an audio format, I will be able to reach more markets.
This week, I am speaking at the Women’s Power Networking Power Lunch. It is exciting, because previously, women like Elaine Marshall, NC’s Secretary of State have spoken. My mission is to help entrepreneurial women worldwide to network with passion and purpose and look great doing it. I also challenge entrepreneurs to have a philanthropic element their business. My Big Audacious Hair Goal (BAHG) is to be a role model for young entrepreneurs. I hope that The Networking Diary, Sweet T, and my other projects will help people worldwide. As a 1st Generation American trilingual entrepreneur, I hope to continue to create useful tools for entrepreneurs to succeed.

Interviewed By:
Toany Le ~ Tiara Magazine Brand Ambassador

Tiara Magazine is the best in pageantry, fashion, and beauty.

Interesting facts about Tiara Magazine
-Tiara Magazine has readership in 126 countries. According to Google Analytics the top 20 countries for 2011 include: #1. USA  #2. United Kingdom  #3. Country Unknown  #4. Canada  #5. India  #6. Germany  #7. Australia  #8. Philippines  #9. Brazil  #10. Mexico  #11. Thailand  #12. France  #13. Indonesia  #14. Italy  #15. Netherlands  #16. Russia  #17. Puerto Rico  #18. Malaysia  #19. Pakistan  #20. Sweden
-Tiara Magazine & Tiara Talk Show were both awarded website of the week by PageantCast, thank you Tim Kretschmann
-Our very own editor, Sherrie Gearheart, is a fashion icon, professional model, and a national titleholder
-Tiara Magazine is the leading magazine in pageantry, fashion, and beauty.
-We hold our annual fashion show where we have titleholders from nation wide parading our runway along with models of various sizes, heights, ages, and ethnicities. It’s about loving the skin you are in. We do this for Live Out Loud Charity.
-We have awesome contests including but not limited to: 100 Most Beautiful and Influential People in the Industry, Cover Girl Calendar Search, Cover Model Contest, Quotes a chance to be published, and more.
-We are nationally based in the US and we have received tons of international exposure in the UK, China, and Spain to name a just a few countries.


About nancytnguyen

First Generation American Entrepreneur Author of The Networking Diary Ms. Corporate America 2011
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