With a community of more than five million, the Vietnamese diaspora is one of the largest Asian diasporas in the world. Commonly referred to as Việt Kiều or Overseas Vietnamese, large populations can be found in countries such as the United States, France, Australia, Canada, and Germany.
One of them is Quang Do, a 29-year-old German-Vietnamese, who started the community Overseas Vietnamese (OV) to help Vietnamese connect and create value for each other. Founded in 2019 and now boasting with almost 20,000 members on LinkedIn, OV’s mission is to empower Vietnamese worldwide to grow their careers and themselves.
On Friday, Quang hosted the first official OV meetup in Ho Chi Minh City at CTY Kitchen + Bar, just downstairs from the Vietcetera office. We took the opportunity to sit down and chat with him.
Congratulations on a successful event, Quang! What is next?
Thanks – and indeed, I’m proud that we had more than 200 guests from all over the world joining the OV meetup in our home country. With the LinkedIn community already thriving, we want to focus on creating more ways for our members to connect offline and have in-person experiences. Regular local meetups are already happening in New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Sydney, Singapore, and many more places. Ultimately, we envision OV to enable any Vietnamese worldwide to be able to meet like-minded Vietnamese, support each other and connect more with their roots.
What inspired you to start OV in the first place?
As a child of Vietnamese immigrants myself, I personally went through several phases dealing with my Vietnamese identity. At first, I grew up not really knowing what being Vietnamese meant. I was too young to understand how and why I was different from the other kids. Later on, this turned into rejecting my Vietnameseness. Especially as a teenager, I tried to fit into the expectations of my non-Vietnamese friends and what was regarded as “cool” in my host country Germany. Only in my early 20s I started to develop a love for my heritage. I traveled more often to Vietnam, talked in-depth with my grandparents there, and read up on Vietnamese history.
At the same time, I was thinking about what to do in life career-wise. I started using LinkedIn more and, on a harmless afternoon, started a LinkedIn group with the generic name “Overseas Vietnamese,” as I did not find an existing one. Other members joined me, and we grew the group steadily and sustainably with a firm focus on creating value for our members’ professional and personal lives through real connections – which to this day, we still uphold. We will continue to focus on in-person connections and are excited that we have reached the tail end of the pandemic to enable those.
Can you share more on how to join OV and your local meetups?
Firstly, join the Overseas Vietnamese LinkedIn group. There you will know about all official and unofficial meetups around the world. You will also be able to participate in interesting discussions, find great career opportunities, and connect with any of our members.
Secondly, find your local Whatsapp group. We manage groups for all major cities with a Vietnamese population, and we are creating more week by week. You will find the Whatsapp group posts in our LinkedIn group, or you can simply ping me with the ask to be added.
I am excited to personally run the monthly meetups in Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore. In HCMC, I am proud to partner with CTY Kitchen + Bar to host these as it is one of my favorite locations in the city. Come join us for the next one on 21st October!