March is Women’s History Month, and we are celebrating by showcasing some of our amazing team members! We asked women across our organization to reflect on their careers, accomplishments, and what Women’s History month means to them. Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting their answers on our blog and social media channels.
Nha Tran has worked for large corporations and small companies, gaining a wide variety of experience along the way. Before being promoted to AVP of Human Resources, she held multiple positions within Amplify’s HR department, starting as a Human Resources Coordinator in 2006. With her skills in employee relations, benefits administration, performance management, and coaching, Nha is an integral part of Amplify’s culture and overall wellbeing as an organization.
Why did you choose your profession?
Like many HR professionals, I came into HR sideways. I worked as a trust administrator at Wells Fargo and managed trust accounts set up for minors. The funds for the trusts came from a settlement because of injuries they had sustained. Some of these injuries were fairly horrific, and the minors required a lot of care. As a trust administrator, I helped manage their health and disability benefits. This helped me realized how much I enjoyed the combination of helping people and delving into the details of benefits administration, compliance, and analytics. I found HR to provide the best of both worlds.
“I love seeing the impact that I have in the company and with our team members.”
What do you love most about what you do?
Having agency and seeing the results of that. I love seeing the impact that I have in the company and with our team members. There have been so many times over the years where I have been able to see the direct impact of decisions that we make on our employees. Many times, it has been for the good, and sometimes it has been for the not so good. But even in those situations, we put a lot of thought and care into it so that we do what we need to do with empathy and sensitivity.
What made you choose Amplify Credit Union?
One of the things that most appealed to me about Amplify was that it was small and local. Prior to my joining Amplify, I had only worked for large companies – First American, Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo. I never met our HR folks in these companies and felt like I was just another cog in a vast machine. I wanted to work for a company where I could make a difference.
Tell us about a professional success here at Amplify that you’re proud of.
It’s not just one but a series of them, all related to helping people in their time of need. There have been several instances where a team member was going through a very big health issue, whether that be physical or mental, and they were not necessarily in a place to take care of themselves. Because of my role, I knew about it and was able to help them through those tough situations. They tend to not be things that you can talk about because they involve other people’s private information, so I can’t give details. But those are the moments that stay with me.
“Things are not always black and white.”
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Being in HR is not easy. We have a lot of people in our care and a lot of access to information. Things are not always black and white, and you have to be able to comfortably navigate through conflicting interests, both yours and others.
Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.
This comes as a bit of a surprise to me, but I would choose my mom. It’s a surprise because I didn’t always have a close relationship with my mother. I was a bit of a rebel and clashed with my parents a lot. But now that I’m in a different place in life, I recognize how amazing my mom is. She escaped Vietnam with her husband and two kids in tow, floated in a boat for days until the Malaysian border patrol picked us up, and stayed in a refugee camp for 9 months so that we could have a better life. She spoke broken English but worked harder than she should have needed to so that her kids could get an education and do and be better. To this day, she is the core that keeps our family together.
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t have a formal mentor at this time.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
You don’t know everything and stop thinking that you do.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in your field, industry, or just in general?
Don’t be afraid to fail. You need to fail in order to learn and succeed. Failure does not mean that you didn’t succeed. Failure means you were strong enough to try.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I like to process information over time and I really dislike fighting for a seat at the table. What this means is that I am not always the first person to speak, and if there are a lot of others who are already talking vociferously, I am not going to try to wedge myself in. But as a leader at Amplify, that preference does not always work. I had a mentor a few years ago who let me know that I can always say what I want to say AFTER / LATER. That just because the conversation has moved on, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have agency to return to a topic and add my thoughts. I’ve learned to be a little more vocal since then, but that advice was a turning point for me.
How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?
HR is a bizarro microcosm of the world in that HR is dominated by women. It’s almost a 3-1 ratio of women to men in this industry. That being said, I read a recent stat that indicated that only 29% of senior management in the US are comprised of women. At Amplify, we have 48 people in management. Of that 27 are women and 21 are men. If you look at senior management at Amplify, we are at 56% women. So I am very happy to be a contributing factor in that achievement.
“If you look at senior management at Amplify, we are at 56% women. “
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
I’ve been watching the documentary “Amend” on Netflix. One of the things that really stood out to me was in Episode 2, when Larry Wilmore said: “Black Americans were separated so much that we still have to have a separate Black History Month just so Americans can know our contributions. It’s so wrong.” It’s kind of how I feel about Women’s History Month. I understand what it’s trying to do, and I recognize the need. At the same time, it draws attention to the fact that we don’t have a Men’s History Month. Because we don’t need to. I look forward to a future when we don’t need to have a Women’s History Month, because women are celebrated and recognized on a regular basis and not just something we call out one month a year.
Supporting Our Team
Nha’s vision for the future of women is a powerful invitation to celebrate women and their accomplishments every day of the year. Join us as we hear from more of our team members; we invite you to listen, share, and support these amazing women.