Crystal Lam - Second Generation Vietnamese-American Business Woman [The Business of Family]


2 November 2020

36 mins 6 secs

Season 1

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Crystal Lam is the Managing Director and second generation to manage Vinawood Ltd., Vietnam’s largest wood component manufacturer specializing in customized window covering, millwork and architectural mouldings. With 10 years of operations experience in Vietnam, Crystal has lead the firm’s expansion into new markets, product categories and strategic ventures.

Standout Quotes:

  • “My father raised me with the same belief systems; to be traditional in values but modern in action" - Crystal Lam
  • “It's not just experience or skill, it's really just the heart” - Crystal Lam
  • "I've always found it to be important to be happy with who you see in the mirror when you wake up every day" - Crystal Lam
  • "Know what you stand for" - Crystal Lam

Key Takeaways:

  • A crisis or challenge can create the opportunity to show your heart and grit in your family business.
  • It's not just experience or skill, it's the heart, so wherever your heart is, you will be great and you want to find people whose hearts beat the way your heart beats.
  • You will make decisions your entire life but the way you come to these decisions is rooted in your belief system and your value system.
  • If you don't know what you stand for, you will continuously feel conflict which holds you back from being the best version of yourself.

Episode Timeline:

  • [01:37] Crystal's journey in the family business started at a young age
  • [03:03] Balancing growing up in America (an individualist society) with the expectation of family in Asia (an honor or face-based society)
  • [04:57] Crystal describes 3 major obstacles she had to face, working in the family business, and how she overcame them.
  • [07:50] The impact of the pandemic on the family business in 2020.
  • [13:14] Addressing the challenge of forgetting more sensitive family topics while focusing on the business.
  • [19:00] Crystal describes the admirable qualities of her grandmother, narrating a key event that occurred while she was a journalist.
  • [21:11] A key failure experienced by Crystal that shaped her journey
  • [23:19] The future for Vinawood
  • [27:29] Implementing their Father-Daughter forum
  • [33:01] A letter from Crystal to her kids: "Know what you stand for"

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Episode Links

  • VINAWOOD LTD. — VINAWOOD are dedicated to accentuating the splendor of nature’s finest element: Wood