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7 Questions on Leadership with Ella Nguyen

Name: Ella Nguyen

Title: Founder

Organisation: Dog World Plus

Ella has 15 years of experience in marketing, communication, and business strategy. She established an outsourcing business Innovature Consulting as a Co-Founder and operated Vietnam and Philippines offices. A decade of growth, Innovature expands to 100 employees and creates its footprints to US market as one of the trustworthy Accounting, Finance service provider from Vietnam.

Previous to outsourcing experience, Ella had served in the media and advertising industry as Head of Marketing for Forbes Vietnam to develop the global footprint in the domestic market, worked with media agencies and press partners to deliver the concept of Forbes to Vietnam business community. Ella found herself passionate about creating new things and implementing new ideas to make them happen. She is an outgoing and energetic person; she enjoys working with others as a team and has a strong motivation in connecting with people.

In 2022, Ella found her new challenge in pet industry. Dog World Plus, a startup was launched in early 2023, its mission is to provide the sustainable services for dogs and cats in Vietnam and also to raise awareness about the companion animals’ welfare to the community.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Ella's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The leader is the one who has the vision, from that vision, an organization mission established and then directions generated for leading people to the main goal. Sometimes, during the journey, the direction must be adjusted, although the main goal remains. You need to stay strong to keep mapping the clear direction.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

After years of consistently delivering good performance on individual jobs, at Dong Tay Promotion, I was promoted to project manager of a production team of 20 people. It was my first time being in charge of an endeavor, from the concept on paper to the finished documentary film. The position required me to hire, manage, and coordinate different types of workers, including independent contractors, artists, office workers, and government officials. I cannot count how many times I wanted to give up because I thought the responsibility was too overwhelming.

But gradually, I was able to overcome it because I persisted in convincing myself. The finished film was great enough to be granted permission to air on the official national TV channel. Because TV was the dominant form of communication at the time, in 2009, it was my first significant leadership milestone. Due to the client's satisfaction, the contract was renewed. As a result, the show, for which I am the project manager, continued with seasons 2 and 3.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I practiced this daily lifestyle two years ago and I love it. I start my day at 5:30 am to swim or run so that I can go over my to-do list at 8:30. I frequently go to the ground floor of the office building to take a 15-minute walk every two to three hours. I can make calls while I'm walking, whether it's to a business partner to discuss a related matter, a client to check in their satisfaction, to friends, to family members, but the overall purpose is to nurture the relationships.

I finished working at 7pm normally, and then I used the rest of the evening for me-time activities like reading, self reflection, playing with my pets. My guilty pleasure is to conduct more industry research about another two hours before bedtime.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

A leader’s job is to deal with people. A leader cannot succeed on their own; they need the team.

People need two things: freedom and to be loved, and this has strongly affected and reminded me over the years. People sometimes expected to be loved, but they constantly require freedom. Therefore, I've learned that while managing people, regardless of level, age, or ethnicity, if a leader gives their team enough freedom to be innovative, freedom to speak up, and freedom to solve problems, then that's also the time people will follow you.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

One of my favorite books is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which I read it the first time 13 years ago. I frequently reread it after a few years, and each time, it unveils a different form of reflective thoughts in me. I believe that book had a significant impact on my leadership style.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Always deliver all you do with your most beautiful soul and at your best ability.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

In 2019, we planned to evaluate the new customer segments in the ecommerce sector. After a year, we just achieved a few clients, and the revenue was quite slow. Although the board of management decided to stop investing in that industry, I still see potential in it.

To prove it, I committed myself to the growth initiatives during 2020, collaborating closely with the sales and marketing team, and it turned out that the e-commerce sector's revenue increased 18 times. And in the following year, this sector becomes one of our new key offerings. Dare to succeed, believe in yourself, and always deliver what you do at your all; the results will speak.

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