Rising Through Resilience: Linda Nguyen of SOUPPLY On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Remain optimistic that the storm will pass. For every negative thought that arises, drown it out with several reasons why you are grateful for what you have in your life.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Nguyen.
Linda Nguyen is the COO of SOUPPLY (soup-lee), a premium soup company dedicated to preserving the essence of traditional flavors in one convenient, elevated package simply prepared for anyone to enjoy any time, any place — an essential for people with demanding lives. She thrives on bringing people together and creating long-term relationships that grow networks, expand business opportunities, and increase returns. Her everyday goal — cultivating meaningful connections and impactful collaborations.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
At the start of the pandemic, I made the transition from healthcare into the role of COO to launch SOUPPLY, a CPG product. At the same time, I assumed the role of Executive Director of the Dalai Lama Library & Learning Center to lead a $5M public fundraising campaign to get the center built in Ithaca, NY. A few months into the pandemic while juggling both start-up projects, I was part of the team that helped start 360 Clinic — the largest COVID-19 testing operator in Orange County — handling Branding, Marketing, PR, and Community Relations. Meanwhile, I continued my volunteer work in the local community along with starting up a youth golf program for Southern California Vietnamese Golf Alliance (SoCal VGA) in partnership with First Tee OC.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
When I transitioned into nonprofit management and the food industry, in which I had no prior experience. I surprised myself on how quickly I learned and navigated starting up a fundraising campaign as well as launching a new CPG product. I asked many questions, relied on Google for answers, and performed an abundance of research. My key takeaway is to never think I’m underqualified for a role because with the right mentors, advisors, consultants, and team members along with a drive for growth, there’s always a place for me in the C-Suite and executive management.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
SOUPPLY was founded by Asian Americans who wanted to share a taste of our culture across the world.
We are a premium simple-prep soup company dedicated to preserving the essence of traditional flavors — perfected by past generations — in one convenient, elevated package. We believe in using authentic ingredients simply prepared for anyone to enjoy any time, any place — an essential for people with demanding lives. What sets us apart from our competitors is that we include real, shelf-stable meat packets in our bowls.
We have a charitable component to our business where with one bowl purchased, a meal is donated to a non-profit organization to feed those in need.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are two people I’d like to thank. Tam Nguyen, President of Advance Beauty College, made valuable introductions for me in the local community. Through Tam, I met my business partner Gary Nguyen who in previous years has given me a handful of exciting opportunities, exposed me to new learning experiences, and has taken me on new adventures. It’s been quite a journey!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is the ability to quickly recover from life’s setbacks and intelligently find a solution as opposed to allowing the obstacle to paralyze oneself from moving forward. Resilient people have great emotional control and mental coping skills to get them past their challenges by quickly adapting and pivoting as needed.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage is pushing past fear and the possibility of failure. Resilience is accepting a setback while remaining optimistic and focused on overcoming it. I believe we all must possess some courage in order to be resilient.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Janet Jackson! She has struggled with low self-esteem due to her looks and weight, emotional insecurity from the expectations placed upon her since childhood, grief from the loss of her brother, blame for failed relationships, feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy, depression, and battling untrue rumors in the media. Despite those emotions, she has experienced happiness performing for an audience, strength in overcoming obstacles, emotional discipline in preparation for appearances, and an everlasting journey towards self-understanding. She’s emotional and vulnerable while remaining level-headed in the public eye not allowing anyone to see her pain. I relate to EVERY feeling she has ever experienced.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
My mother didn’t believe I would have a future in fashion. She didn’t speak to me for years when I attended FIDM for my degree in Merchandise Marketing and declined an opportunity to attend UCI. While my goal was a career as a Buyer, I fell into Fashion Styling and Makeup Artistry through an internship at The Crystal Agency as well as cold-calling top Fashion Stylists and Makeup Artists from well known agencies asking them if I could assist. Before I knew it, I was on the set of editorial shoots, music videos and catalog shoots working with A and B list celebrities.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I always had an itch for entrepreneurship since I was a young girl so I opened a luxury consignment business a few years ago. I loved the uncertainty of each day and fast pace environment in scaling a business. Unfortunately, I shut down the brick-and-mortar business after suffering three burglaries and losing $80,000 in merchandise, and then finding out my business partner was a con artist and fugitive with a warrant for his arrest for embezzling from a bank he used to work for.
As opposed to allowing myself to drown in my obstacles, I leaned on a community of business leaders to help me through. I delved into community work through non-profits to distract myself and suddenly found myself sitting on boards for several organizations. I grew personally and professionally as I surrounded myself with such influential and inspirational people. Today, I am stronger than I ever thought possible because of their support and guidance. I have flourished in unimaginable ways!
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
There’s a saying, “If you get knocked down you rise back up.” It reminds me of my mentor Crystal Wright when she instilled in me at the age of 19 that it’s okay to cry a good cry but to make sure I pick my @$$ right back up from the floor and show the world what I’m made of. Crystal’s words have been my guiding light my entire life as I personally watched her practice what she preaches. Every setback in my life — from a lack of emotional support, heartache, to loss — has strengthened my ability to recover quickly the next time around.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Face your obstacle head on. Pretending it didn’t happen doesn’t solve the problem and doesn’t help you recover any quicker.
- Surround yourself with a supportive network. They should not judge while you’re under a state of vulnerability. Rather, they should uplift you with encouraging words.
- Maintain control of your heart and mind. Feel the emotions yet do not allow them to control you.
- Remain optimistic that the storm will pass. For every negative thought that arises, drown it out with several reasons why you are grateful for what you have in your life.
- Distract yourself. What do you enjoy doing? Is there something you want to learn? Then do it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
The Dalai Lama has a commitment to spread compassion and kindness across the world to 7 billion people. I would like to help spark that movement by challenging every person in the world to perform one act of kindness each day and see what kind of trickle effect it can spur.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
Lynsi Snyder, CEO of In & Out. For those who know her story of heartache, pain, addiction, loss, and recovery — she is a symbol of strength, hope, and resilience.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Visit my personal website at lindanguyen.com. It includes my social media links.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity!