Cat Thao Nguyen

Advance Awards Asia Impact Leader Category Finalist

Cat Thao Nguyen is a trailblazer. Cat Thao (Nguyễn Cát Thảo) is the Managing Director of Global Ready LLC and Lumina Learning Partner, assisting organisations and individuals to lead inclusively in a globalised world. Born in a refugee camp in Thailand and arriving in Australia in 1980, Cat Thao’s memoir, We Are Here, shares the compelling story of her family’s treacherous journey leaving Vietnam by foot across the Cambodian Killing Fields and their life as new migrants in 1980s Australia. Cat Thao’s career has evolved with the economic growth of Vietnam, including roles in corporate law, private equity, international education, and now with her own company advising globalising businesses. She has been at the forefront of trade, cooperation and cultural ties between Vietnam and Australia, playing a significant role in the rapidly changing bilateral relationship.

Moving to Ho Chi Minh City in 2007, Cat Thao Nguyen worked as a corporate lawyer prior to becoming the Vietnam/Cambodia chief strategy officer for a multi-billion dollar investment private equity fund focused on healthcare & education. In 2013, she helped to establish and was the managing head of Ernst & Young Law Vietnam LLC.  In 2016, she co-founded the Australia Vietnam Young Leadership Dialogue, to bring leaders from both Vietnam and Australia to accelerate contribution to prosperity, sustainability and social justice. Until 2019, she was Regional Director for an Australian education company, UTS: INSEARCH, and management board member of two affiliate joint ventures in Vietnam and Myanmar. Cat Thao was the first Asian-Australian to be the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations General Assembly. She was formerly Board Chair of Loreto Vietnam education charity and Board Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. In 2018, at the invitation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and as a writer for the 2018 Global Goalkeepers report, she attended the Goalkeepers global young leaders conference in New York. She is the first person from Vietnam to be certified by the Cultural Intelligence Center (USA) to support her cultural intelligence advisory services. Cat Thao is currently completing a Doctoral program at the University of Technology in Sydney.