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  • Let's talk about red nail polish.

  • Red nail polish once sparked a curiosity that would lead to the growth of the manicure industry, an industry that's now worth $8.3 billion dominated by Vietnamese Americans, who make up 51% of the profession across the country and 80% here in California.

  • Have you ever had your nails done by Vietnamese manicurist raise those hands that makes just about all of us?

  • And have you ever been curious as to why there are so many Vietnamese manicurist in United States?

  • Well, let me tell you what if I told you that the Vietnamese nail industry all started with curiosity, the curiosity of 20 Viennese refugees and their chance meeting with a Hollywood movie star, I'm gonna take you back to April 29th 1975 five days away from my second birthday.

  • It's also the date that marks the emergency evacuation of all U.

  • S.

  • Troops in Vietnam and their heroic attempts to evacuate thousands of Vietnamese refugees during the fall of Saigon.

  • My dad was a colonel in the South Vietnamese Air Force, and on this day, with news of imminent defeat, he was sent home and told to get his family out of the country anyway.

  • He could.

  • So he rushed home to my mom, and he told her, We need to leave now with that these ground, the ground, grabbing their three Children, my grandfather, my aunt and stuff one suitcase leaving the rest of our lives behind.

  • We fled our country.

  • And as traumatic and sad is that Waas.

  • We were among the fortunate ones to find a way out, making us part of the first wave of Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States, a country who welcomed us with open arms are for his home.

  • Here was a tent account Pendleton Marine Base in San Diego, where servicemen and women helped us in our transition into our new country in our new home.

  • We were here for a few months, and then we were transferred to Hope Village, a refugee education center and integration center outside of Sacramento funded by Food for the Hungry.

  • And it's here that those 20 Vietnamese refugee women met that Hollywood movie star building a relationship that would make of all things manicures, a part of the Vietnamese American story.

  • Among those 20 women with my mom, who's here today and that Hollywood movie star actress Tippi Hedren, most famously known for her starring role in Albert Hitchcock movie The Birds to be volunteered up a whole village and a She puts that she just fell in love with these women whose lives have been dramatically and permanently changed, and Tippy was determined to empower these women with a skill so they could support their families in their new country.

  • So Tippi start a program where she made sewing and typing classes available because those were skills were fairly easy to learn, and there's a low bear of entry into the workplace.

  • But it was something else altogether that caught the curiosity of these 20 women, and that was to these long, red manicured nails.

  • And you have to remember that in 1975 managers were nowhere near as common as they are today.

  • It was a luxury resort for the wealthy and for movie stars, and certainly not something these 20 women we're accustomed to seeing.

  • It's that curiosity that led to be to ask, What if what if we can get these women trained and licensed as manicurists?

  • It's a pretty simple question but came with some obstacles.

  • For example, what beauty school was going to enroll 20 Viennese refugees who couldn't pay tuition and Moses women the time didn't speak English?

  • How are they going to pass their English written exam to get their license?

  • And how is this all going to be done in the short amount of time they had a whole village so clearly some challenges.

  • But Tippi she didn't focus on the impossibilities of those challenges.

  • Instead, she focused on the curiosities, 20 women and all the possibilities that lived in that question.

  • What if, well, does, he said.

  • Ideas come from curiosity, and I propose that our curiosity is intuitive.

  • We're led to be curious about certain things because we're meant to follow those curiosities and one way to fall.

  • Your curiosity is to simply ask, what if innovation export worm burger hears us all away to come up with better ideas, fresh possibilities and greater results by asking questions one of those questions being what if, in his book, a more beautiful question.

  • Berger writes about Tim Westergren, a musician who is curious about why people like certain types of music, and he asked What if we get map the DNA of music?

  • Through his inquiry, Westergren found Pandora Burger.

  • Also rise, about entrepreneur from Germany named Frederick Right kind, who came to Chicago and was curious about Americans obsession with peanuts, popcorn and candy, and asked, What if we combined the three and now, very gratefully, we have crackerjacks.

  • And then they're the women in American history, like Abby Kelly Foster Soothe and B.

  • Anthony and Lucy Stone, who are curious and quite possibly furious about the any quality that they saw and women's economic and civil rights.

  • And they asked, What if we could change the status quo?

  • And the beauty of curiosity is that you don't have to be an innovative entrepreneur, a talented musician or an outspoken change maker?

  • Tohave it and to follow it, you can even be a Vietnamese refugee who's lost everything except your curiosity, and you never know what might spark that curiosity.

  • So for these 20 women, it was their curiosity around hippies, long red, manicured nails that led to be to ask, what if?

  • And despite the challenges, Tippy decided, take one small step forward and she went back to Los Angeles and asked her personal manicurist, Dusty coups Belterra.

  • If she would be willing to come up and teach these women had to do a basic manicure.

  • Dusty said Yes.

  • So weekend after weekend, Dusty came up and talked.

  • My mom and her friends had to do a manicure, and they absorb everything.

  • She taught them so much so that she was able, even able, teach them a more advanced technique called the Juliet manicure.

  • You wanna know that is that you can ask my mom later and they were good, innit?

  • Good at it.

  • And they loved it.

  • But still, that didn't make them license manicurists.

  • So Tippi decided, Take one more step forward and she went down to the local beauty school and asked them, Is there any way you would be able to take on these 20 women as students?

  • Citrus Heights Beauty College found a way, and they also said Yes.

  • Psychologist and author Dr Robert Mauer rights and speaks about the power of small steps.

  • He suggests that by taking small steps to reach our goals, we can accomplish your goals faster than by taking these giant leaps, because by taking small steps, we can bypass the brain's natural instinct of protection triggered in a part of the brain called the amygdala I call the bodyguard.

  • So when you touch these giant leaves forward, we wake up that bodyguard sending us into fight or flight, causing resistance, which is gonna slow us down or stop us all together.

  • Right?

  • Basic physics.

  • But when we take these small steps, weaken tiptoe around at a megillah, not wake up that bodyguard, avoid resistance and allow ourselves to reach our goals faster by taking one small step at a time.

  • Curiosity.

  • What if and small steps create the possibility for my mom and her friends to complete 400 hours of schooling, all of them passing their manicure practicum and written test in English in 10 weeks.

  • Soon after Hope Village closed at our film was sponsored by a church in Santa Monica.

  • So we left Hope Villages start our new lives, my mom with Iran, you license in one hand and a letter recommendation of tippy and the other.

  • Soon she found her first job as a manicurist at Beau Jacques Beauty Salon.

  • She's a two buses to work every day.

  • At first I watched her struggle to grow her clientele.

  • And then I watched you become a capable and confident entrepreneur who significantly contributed to her family's income.

  • We move from our two bedroom, one bath department to a four bedroom condo, and in six years my parents purchased their own home is the ways of Viennese refugees who came after us that learned about the profession from my mom and her friends and their friends from them, prompting thousands of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants over the past four decades to ask, What if?

  • What are we open our own nail salons?

  • Well, we start own beauty schools what we manufactured, the tools and supplies that we need.

  • The sum of these.

  • What ifs amounts to over 100,000 Vietnamese women and men, providing for their families and securing a future for their Children.

  • It also amounts to the Vietnamese community significant contribution to the nail industry as we see it today.

  • So this is a personal story.

  • There's also a story about possibilities.

  • The possibilities are created when one woman commits to empowering other women, and the possibilities are created when you and I follower curiosity, ask what if and have the courage to take one small step forward.

  • So growing up, I watch my mom follow her curiosity, asked what if?

  • And take tiny small steps every day and mostly out of necessity.

  • I credit her for inadvertently teaching me how to fall my own curiosity and I say inadvertently, cause I was not raised by parents who encouraged me to chase my dreams and follow my curiosity's because of their life.

  • Experiences my parents very strongly through their words, advocated for education and stability.

  • But clearly it wasn't their words that most influenced me.

  • It was the impact of watching their actions on a daily basis.

  • So my mom will tell you that throughout the years she, um the other year she has some doubts about this inadvertent lesson.

  • She taught me, actually watched me bounce around following my curiosity from one career to another, as she certainly hasn't doused in 2005 when I dropped everything and decide to ride my bicycle through Vietnam for 30 days after becoming curious about the country we left behind and asking, What if there's something I could do for some of the people who aren't as fortunate as us?

  • This ride raised for $5000 for Clear Path International, an organization that helped victims of landmines left from the war.

  • Following my curiosity has also led me to my career.

  • Now I get to help companies use their curiosity and their creativity to solve problems, share ideas and build better organizations.

  • And if there's one thing my business has proven to me is that ideas can come from anybody, regardless of socioeconomic status, education or position in the workplace, because we're all curious and we're all creative.

  • So I recently had the chance to bring my work to the Honor Foundation in San Diego, not far from Camp Pendleton, when we first lived in that camp.

  • The Honor Foundation supports military special forces operators as a transition from military to civilian careers.

  • I led a group of their graduating fellows and exploring their curiosity, asking what if and building potential futures for themselves.

  • It was an honor for me to be part of their transition, as they had been there for my family.

  • Through ours, there's a saying that curiosity is the most powerful thing you own.

  • For these 20 women, that proved to be true.

  • The next time you find yourself curious about something I wonder what possibilities could you create for yourself or for others?

  • If you follow that curiosity with what if and you followed that?

  • What if, with the courage to take one small step forward Thank you.

Let's talk about red nail polish.

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もしも?好奇心と勇気の人生を変える力|Van Lai-DuMone|TEDxCitrusParkWomen (What If? The Life Changing Power of Curiosity and Courage | Van Lai-DuMone | TEDxCitrusParkWomen)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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