AMCHAM Vietnam | a Silver Anniversary Salute!

Granger Whitelaw Salutes AMCHAM (The American Chamber of Commerce) in Vietnam on their Silver Anniversary (25 years). He is joined by Rayssa Barroso as they look at the positive Impact AMCHAM makes in Vietnam, and the benefits of membership. Grab your coffee, sit back, and enjoy!

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Granger: Happy Friday from The Lotus Talks. This is Granger Whitelaw. Good morning everyone out there on December 6th, 2019 we’re coming into the final stretch of the Christmas season. I have a special guest again with me today. I’m very lucky. Rayssa Barroso is joining me again for The Lotus Talks. It’s kind of shopping month, so it’s good to have you. How are you Rayssa?

Rayssa: I’m good. How are you?

Granger: I’m great, thank you. Yeah, you having a good week? Have you got your Christmas list done? Have you written to Santa?

Rayssa: No, I haven’t done any of those things yet, but it’s been a good holiday season so far. 

Granger: It has been. 

Rayssa: Yeah. I’ve been busy.

Granger: Good, good. I started looking around online and of course we had Cyber Monday. Monday, I got my daughter a backpack she’s been wanting, and was able to see some other sale stuff. It’s such a way to suck you into spending money. Right. But Black Friday and Cyber Monday our episode we did Monday. Certainly, I was one of the purchasers on Monday. So, I followed through. Did you?

Rayssa: No, I didn’t. I didn’t get suckered in this year and I think it’s because we’re all the way over here and I didn’t feel like I was going to get it. It’s not like I was going to receive it anytime soon.

Granger: Instant gratification.

Rayssa: Yeah and I’m going to go home to the States for Christmas and that gives me an excuse to go around shopping because I still like to shop in a store. The whole experience walking in, walking out with a bag, you know, that whole thing. To me it’s not the same as online shopping. You don’t get the that experience for me.

Granger: Yeah. A lot of people are like that. Right. So, people say retail is dying in a lot of places      in the world, but I don’t think so. I think retail is very much alive. People like to go socially, shop with their friends, with their family, like to see, touch, feel the products, try them on. So, you know, I understand.

Rayssa: Yeah. I like to try stuff on. And I actually like to shop by myself, but it’s a nice time to yourself. It’s me time.

Granger: Well, have a nice trip at Christmas to the States and wherever you’re going. But today we’re talking about AmCham American Chamber of Commerce here in Vietnam.  AmCham is a really neat organization and it’s been here since 1994 literally just after president Clinton lifted the embargo, they formally formed AmCham. March of 94 actually, and the American Chamber of Commerce is made of American businesses and international businesses that work with Americans for the benefit of the community here in Vietnam. It’s a very strong organization and I thought today that we would talk about them because they just had their 25th anniversary.

Rayssa: That’s pretty impressive. 25 years.

Granger: It is very, very impressive. So, they’re having their silver ball tomorrow night and their governor’s ball. It’s called The Silver Ball. I’m sorry, tomorrow night. Yeah. Saturday night, right yeah, tomorrow. Me and it should be a really nice event. It’s kind of a place where people can, you know, let their hair down, and celebrate all the good things they’ve done this year. One of the really neat things I’d like to talk about the AmCham does is their AmCham scholarship. They gave away 60 scholarships this year in the Ho Chi Minh AmCham branch and they’re giving away, I think another 20 on December 14th    at the Hanoi event, which ambassador Kritenbrink will be awarding those scholarships to the kids.

Rayssa: That’s so wonderful. We saw videos at the anniversary party of different students receiving their scholarships and how it’s affected or impacted them. It was really beautiful.

Granger: Yeah, it’s amazing. And besides the scholarship organization and the breakfast for Santa on Sunday for the kids, which supports children, right.  They do a lot of other charity work too for the community. And the companies   certainly they’re a part of that. There are 1500 companies now, I think in AmCham.

Granger:  I’m sorry, about 500 companies, 1500 representatives in AmCham. And that is growing every year. And those companies also individually do a lot for the community. So, it’s a great organization to be in. And of course, The Lotus Talks is a business podcast here in Vietnam talking about things that can help your business. And if you are not part of AmCham I think it’s something that you can really seriously consider because there’s a lot of benefits to it. You’ve been to some events, haven’t you?

Rayssa: Yes, I have. They have some beautiful events. I went to a woman’s talk earlier, a couple months ago and I had a wonderful time and they had a psychologist there. And we were just talking about how women can support each other in the business and socially and how, you know, with all these, feminist movements, you know, some people get scared of that word, but it can be how positive it can be and how it’s all about women supporting each other.

Granger: Yeah, that’s awesome. They’re doing a lot for the women right now. There’s AmCham women in business. They just had an event for that. They had business investigating women. They had a women’s healthcare event a couple of weeks ago, which was really heavily attended and I heard great things about, I think that’s great, you know, helping women and men but certainly helping  support women and   in Asia and Southeast Asia is a great thing to do as an organization. What was your favorite event like, you know, besides the weekly kind of committee meetings they have for estate and tax planning or, manufacturing, HR, healthcare,  legal, all these different committees they have and they have wonderful events for them, including the one you went to. They have some cool parties, right.

Rayssa: Well, they have lots of parties.

Granger: So, what’s your favorite party you’ve been to? 

Rayssa: So far, the 25th anniversary party I thought was awesome. It was really fun. There was music and the guys playing the live band. It was really cool. It was an upbeat, fun party and the food was phenomenal. The food was really good.

Granger: Yeah, it was really good. Right. It came like really late, but it was good food.

Rayssa: Yes, it was a little late, but totally worth it.

Granger: The Marine ball was cool because, you know, that’s just, that’s a tribute to the Marines and that was in a beautiful room in the Reverie hotel. I really liked attending that and supporting that, but I would say, yeah, I mean of all the parties, the 4th of July was cool.

Rayssa: Oh yeah. 4th of July was really fun and also a good food too. That was really cool actually.

Granger: And I sang the national Anthem with Fred and Mark. Well, you know, and at the 25th anniversary dinner a couple of weeks ago, the former president, one of the former presidents of Vietnam was there and   a lot of very notable people. It was really cool. And, and Fred and Mark got up and played guitar and man, Mark can play harmonica. I mean, really that was killer. Yeah. So, we’re going to have to get them up on stage. I’m sure they’ll get up on stage this year to a play as well. So yeah, the Silver Ball is Saturday night.  If you can attend or if you’re attending, you know, I’m sure we’ll see you there, but AmCham is really about promoting business. They have a great organization early on. I think the original people who founded it are part of the founding board were, you know, Sesto Vecchi, and Fred Baker and Mark Gillian and, a bunch of people, I can’t remember their names.

Granger: Four or five others. And now they have a new executive director, Mary Tarnowka, who was our counselor general here in Vietnam before she became the executive director of AmCham, which is amazing. Yeah. And Colleen is over there and Cindy and Lily, Sam of course, Sam is so helpful. And, and Wendy and Minh and Sapphire, all the people, all the staff, they’re just so helpful. And I’m telling you this because if you’re listening and you’re not a member, if you want to learn, go to the website, find someone to contact, contact me or anybody and learn about AmCham. You can go to many events as a nonmember and pay, right.

Rayssa: Their staff is so nice and so helpful. I always find that incredible. Like they’re just welcoming to anyone that walks in it. That’s really a warm, happy energy.

Granger:  Absolutely. They’re going to have a new board of governors announced at the general meeting coming up in about a week.  Amanda Rassmussen who’s now the chairwoman and chief operating officer, she’s done a great job. She and Mary seem to be on a roll right now.  Mary is attending committee after committee helping promote new committees. So, if you want to get involved in a committee, trust me, it’s something that will benefit you greatly, and reach out and contact somebody and participate. Gotta be in it to win it. So that’s a little bit about AmCham. Of course, there’s EuroCham and some others, AusCham and other organizations here in Vietnam, if you’re listening and you’re not leaning towards the American Chamber of Commerce, but if you’re not, go look at the other chambers out here.

Granger:  They support business in Vietnam. They’re good for networking, looking for different things. If you want to grow your business, there’s great service providers there. Certainly, people who would be happy to help you, when you’re entering Vietnam or growing your business here and in Southeast Asia because these are organizations that have sister organizations in almost every country in the world. Outside of the Homeland. Well Rayssa thank you for joining me. 

Rayssa: You’re welcome. 

Granger: Twisting your arm and everybody out there.  We hope you have a great, great weekend. Maybe we’ll see you on the dance floor. The Techcombank run is this weekend. On Sunday. I’ll be attending that as well. I will not be running, but I will be cheering you all on. So, if that’s something that excites you, Sunday Tech com bank run is going on as well. We’ll see you somewhere. Have a great weekend. This is Granger Whitelaw.    

The Lotus Talks is produced by The Vietnam Group and Hosted by Granger Whitelaw.
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