By Andre LaFontant
Boston, MA — Becoming the youngest partner in the 104-year history of Massachusetts law firm Bowditch & Dewey is just one of many milestones along the journey for AiVi Nguyen. In 2017, AiVi received the Worcester Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business Award, and in 2016, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts Katharine F. Erskine award in the category Business & Law.
Professional accolades aside, AiVi discovered rewards beyond the legal sector. “The way to gain clout inside your organization is to gain clout outside your organization,” she explained. Case in point, AiVi became the youngest Board Chair of the nearly 100-year-old non-profit organization, the United Way, Central Massachusetts.
Growing up below the poverty line, AiVi learned the benefits of continued evolution and adaptation. “My competitive drive to succeed came naturally, and I knew I wanted to be a lawyer from the time I was a kid,” she said, “but it took time to understand and adjust to the adversity that women of color face. To be a poor minority kid, raised in free after-school programs, literacy initiatives, summer camps, and with meal assistance—all of which came from the philanthropy of my community—and end up where I am now, gives people tangible proof that they can too.”
Leveraging the platforms gained from the United Way and other organizations, AiVi models a commitment to honesty and integrity and a catalyst for change. “When I think something is not right, I’ll tell you. I think that people are just scared to speak up. Sometimes, you take the gamble and end up being right. Then people start listening to you.”
AiVi sees the persistent lack of diversity in corporate leadership. “It is my responsibility to correct the idea that I am someone [exceptional] among my minority peers. We have a responsibility to elevate our sisters [of color]. I’m going to [challenge] people to recognize that I’m successful and valuable, despite the fact that I’m not a white man, and largely because I am not a white man.”
AiVi’s journey began with an insatiable competitive spirit and an eye on the world of business litigation. After years of sharpening her skills and cementing herself as an invaluable asset in the industry, AiVi is honing in on a broader goal—one that reaches beyond personal successes—one that will help eliminate the barriers for others who wish to follow in her footsteps.
AiVi Nguyen will serve as an Executive Speaker and lead the “In the Pursuit of Success” session at the SOLD OUT Women of Color Leadership and Empowerment Conference hosted by State Street Corp on Friday, June 22nd, 2018.