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Shaping appearances

Released at: 08:50, 20/03/2014

Shaping appearances

One successful businesswoman has carved out a niche teaching people how they can best present themselves in public.

by Ngoc Anh

With energy and belief and having overcome a range of challenges, Ms Vo Thi Xuan Trang, Director of John Robert Powers Vietnam (JRP Vietnam), found success in bringing a personality training model from the US to Vietnam that helps Vietnamese people reach their true potential, called “chan thien my” (the genuine, the good, the beautiful).

Those who have met and spoke with her perhaps share a common feeling, that she is a sweet and elegant woman, a typical example of a woman with all four qualities of “cong dung ngon hanh” (work hard, be modest, speak properly, and have morals), as Vietnamese elders would say. She is also a very romantic woman and her spirit is always towards nature, with interests including reading and listening to and viewing all things belonging to nature and the universe. “I can feel peace immediately after viewing a beautiful natural landscape - rivers full of water, large green fields, a sunrise over the sea or wild grass and flowers,” she said.

Ms Vo Thi Xuan Trang, Director of John Robert Powers Vietnam (JRP Vietnam)

Ms Vo Thi Xuan Trang, Director of John Robert Powers Vietnam (JRP Vietnam)

Contrary to her gentle appearance, though, she possesses a very strong character. She dares to dream and dares to do what’s necessary to make her dreams come true, and she likes facing and conquering challenges to prove herself.

She has already won in the most two important things in life: success in career and happiness in her private life, which rarely go together and can be difficult for a woman, especially, to achieve. “I think that I must have a perfect and happy life, which is my human right,” she said. “The most important thing is that this right must rely on common sense and fairness. I must be rich enough for my family to have a good life with a high standard of material living, have the knowledge to understand right and wrong and the ugly from the beautiful, have a healthy heart for loving and sharing and have the will to overcome challenges in my life. I dare to dream, dare to think, dare to do and dare to live my own life.”

Conquering challenges

Ms Trang used to dream of being a teacher when she lived with her grandmother during her childhood, for the very simple reasons that her neighbour was a teacher and wore a long dress and beautiful make-up, with lipstick, mascara and so on. She wanted to become a teacher like her, so in order to make her dream come true she sat for and passed the exams at the Can Tho Pedagogic University, with a major in English. However, “like many other women growing up with concerns about the cost of living, I couldn’t realise my dream.” With strengths in English, however, she succeeded in finding jobs with high salaries in large organisations such as Vietcombank, Agribank, and Fujifilm. Here she confirmed her abilities and received recognition and appreciation.

In her nine years at Fujifilm she showed her excellent working ability, moving up from a normal member of staff to a position of leadership. Surprisingly, she left to begin a new career, which was something of a risk at that time. “After mastering that job it seemed there was little left for me to conquer, and I found this unsettling,” she said. So she decided to take on another challenge - bringing a personality training model from the US to Vietnam that had never been seen on these shores.

An important factor in helping her to decide to bring John Robert Powers (JRP) to Vietnam from the US was when she was sent to Singapore by Fujifilm to attend a training course. “I had the chance to learn next to successful people but it actually made me lose confidence,” she said. “I didn’t know how to use a knife or a fork at the first dinner party I was invited to, and my way of dressing was also different to others. It made me think a great deal.” She decided that, upon returning to Vietnam, she would find a school to teach her how to act like foreigners, how to improve her posture and how to speak as confidently as they do. “I want to open a school to teach people how to be polite and elegant and I must find a famous international school to bring to Vietnam,” she thought to herself.

She then shocked her family and friends by quitting what was a very good job at Fujifilm and left for the US to bring the personality training model to Vietnam. It was a risky decision because it was believed that no one wanted to spend money on personality training.

But Ms Trang recognised that having a good personality contributes a lot to a person’s success and she was determined to bring JRP’s training model to Vietnam in the hope of helping Vietnamese become more beautiful and successful. JRP Vietnam was subsequently founded in early 2006, providing training to individuals that result in lifetime benefits from the development of personal confidence created via enhancing personal growth, image and communication skills.

In talking about her initial goals, she confirmed it wasn’t about getting rich or earning a profit, but about becoming a useful member of society. “I like enjoying things that are genuine, good and beautiful,” she said. “I really want to see beautiful people.” For her, a beautiful person not only has a good appearance but also a certain inner beauty. This inner beauty consists of innermost feelings, knowledge and confidence - the connection and synthesis of a person’s personality.

In the first years of operation Ms Trang faced many difficulties because such training had never been seen in Vietnam before, and it required significant marketing costs to become known. Moreover, fees were too high, so few could afford to enrol despite wishing to learn. But it was impossible to cut the tuition fee because JRP Vietnam had to follow franchise conditions. Enrolments were also seriously affected by an article in a newspaper claiming that JRP Vietnam was a school for the rich and a place for the rich to throw their money away. With no enrolments for the following three months, Ms Trang felt a great deal of stress and pressure.

With confidence and energy, however, she overcame the difficulties. “Success has always been a constant with me, so I knew I would succeed that time as well,” she said. “It just needed time, so I had to be patient. I knew the programme could be helpful for everyone. The problem was how to show people the results of the training.”

And she did show everyone the true value of training courses at JRP Vietnam, and enrolments recovered. JRP Vietnam only enrols learners who have dreams and love the genuine, the good and the beautiful, so her students are mostly from successful families and have personality. Her school’s key market is businesspeople, their companies and their families. By “word of mouth”, JRP Vietnam continues to attract a great many learners.

Experiencing a range of challenges, JRP Vietnam has grown in popularly and confirmed its brand name. During its time in Vietnam it has garnered trust among parents and successful businesspeople. It now provides training programmes for kids from 5 to 12 years old, teenagers from 13 to 17, and adults over 18 years of age. “At JRP Vietnam we highly regard personality and develop it in accordance with what we have, with our own characteristics,” she said. Besides appearance and enhancing the inner confidence of each person, JRP Vietnam also helps students become more beautiful and attractive by their fashion style and eloquent communication skills.

Companies training singers, actors and models can also find benefit at JRP Vietnam, as their students will be equipped with essential skills and knowledge for their careers. Ms Trang has already been invited to train candidates at national and international beauty pageants, such as Miss Vietnam, Miss World and Miss Universe.

To have the personality to be loved you need to understand yourself and other people clearly. The arrogance of ‘I’ only causes failure. Heartfelt, kind and respectful behaviour are the golden rule for every successful person

Success and happiness go together

Success in career and happiness in the family can be difficult to achieve, especially for a woman. Once, when Ms Trang was talking with friends, one said that having a successful career could not go hand in hand with a happy family, and vice-versa. “I didn’t believe what she said, but many people believe you must choose between a career or family happiness,” she said. “At the time I told my friends that I wanted to have both, and that statement has accompanied me on life’s path.”

She does, indeed, have both. In talking about secrets to maintaining happiness in the family, she said she is always gentle when her husband gets angry and cooks at least once a week despite being so busy, where her family can have dinner, watch a film together and share their feelings. “I always tell my family how much I love them and how much I try and what I expect from them,” she said.

In gaining success in her career, her family, including her parents, her brother and her younger sister, have provided great support and motivation. Her home gives her confidence because she knows they are always behind her. “I am so happy to be born into such a loving family, who are always my back up,” she said. “Every time I feel happiness I am grateful for what life has given me, what God has given me. I’m grateful to my family and my friends, who have help me so much. They are so lovely.”

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