Succeeding by the Numbers
FCS staff member believes in turning challenges into achievements
Louisville, KY (October 28, 2011) Farm Credit’s Myhanh (pronounced mee han) Pham has spent virtually her entire 36 years turning challenges into achievements. Consider:
She was born in war-torn Vietnam in 1975, just two months before the fall of Saigon. Her father, an army officer in South Vietnam, was immediately imprisoned by the Vietnamese Communists for nine years. The family, which had been relatively affluent, lost almost everything. They became so poor that Myhanh had to begin working at the age of nine to help her mother support the family.
A few years after her father was released from prison, they were able to immigrate to the United States as beneficiaries of a U.S. humanitarian program. Two months after settling in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1993, her father and mother divorced. As the result, Myhanh and her mother became ineligible for the government assistance they’d been promised. So they moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where they lived with an uncle’s family in a two-bedroom apartment in a poor section of town.
Myhanh Pham, FCS of Mid-America
“We had no money and couldn’t speak English,” recalled Myhanh. “All we had was our hope and determination to survive, and an appreciation that America had given us a chance.”
Myhanh graduated from high school in Vietnam, but realized if she was going to succeed in her new land, she needed to learn English. So she went back to Louisville’s Iroquois High School for a couple of years to better prepare herself. She also started working a minimum-wage job as a mail sorter, and then a second job encoding checks for a large bank, because neither required English.
After finishing high school for the second time in 1995, she began studies in finance at the University of Louisville, finishing a five-year bachelor’s degree program in three years. There was a period of time when she worked two jobs while attending the university. Although she had a knack for things numerical, Myhanh had a more fundamental reason for pursuing numbers in work and education.
“It all came down to problems with English,” she said. “I decided to go with finance because working with numbers was easier for me.”
Soon after graduating in 1998, Myhanh landed a temporary, entry-level position with Farm Credit Services of Mid-America.
“I was hired by Donna Turner, the Director of Loan Accounting,” said Myhanh. “At the time, I still wasn’t good with English and had difficulty communicating clearly during the interview. But despite that, she gave me a chance to prove myself. She touched my life and permanently changed it. She’s retired now, but I’ll never forget her.”
Three months later, Myhanh became a permanent employee, followed by a series of increasing responsibility leading to her current position as an Internal Auditor-Finance in the association’s corporate office in Louisville. With the help of Farm Credit’s Educational Assistance Program, she continued her education, earning a master’s degree in business administration, a second bachelor’s degree in accounting, and a CPA designation. She’s also currently participating in Farm Credit’s Leadership College, preparing herself for future leadership opportunities.
FCS of Mid-America Audit Team in Louisville, KY
“I’m very grateful to Farm Credit, because without them I wouldn’t have been able to do the things I’ve done,” said Myhanh. “They’ve got great programs to help employees.”
The same year Myhanh joined Farm Credit, she also married Phi Tran, a fellow Vietnamese political refugee whom she described as “a wonderful man and husband.” The couple has two sons, Anthony, 11, and Andrew, 8. When Myhanh finally finishes her studies, she wants to spend more time with her family, and do volunteer work, feeling that it’s important to give back.
“I consider myself to be blessed by God and very fortunate,” said Myhanh, who’s proud to have been a naturalized American citizen since 2000. “I’m thankful to America for giving me these opportunities. I’m very grateful to my mother, my uncle, and my husband, who have all done so much for me. And I’m also very thankful to my ‘work family’ for supporting me during part of my journey.”
Note from Myhanh – “I want to thank all those who have given me the opportunity to share the beauty of Vietnamese and our mother land Vietnam through the story of my life. I am just one of many proud Vietnamese Americans who are doing their best to preserve the Vietnamese tradition of turning challenges into achievements.”
About Farm Credit Services of Mid-America
Farm Credit Services of Mid-America is a $17.1 billion financial services cooperative serving over 92,500 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. The association provides loans for all farm and rural living purposes including real estate, operating loans, equipment loans, and housing loans. FCS also provides an array of financial services, including crop insurance and leases. For more information about Farm Credit, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at www.e-farmcredit.com.
Reprinted Article with Permissions:
Barbee, R. (2011, October 25). Succeeding by the Numbers. Retrieved April 26, 2012, from FCS of Mid-America: