active CEO Podcast #27 Pauline Nguyen Rise Like a Phoenix

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Pauline Nguyen about her leadership style; the importance of employees acting like owners; thriving in economic adversity; developing a high performing team; staff retention; connectedness with the customer; the importance of entrepreneurship; and being unshakeable in business and in life. We also delve into about the effect of parenthood; becoming an award-winning author; shining as a keynote speaker; finding happiness in the pursuit; why she connects with the Phoenix; and the relevance of Why does the Buddha sit on a Lotus flower.


Pauline Nguyen is an award winning author, inspirational speaker, spiritual entrepreneur and businesswomen who has harnessed energy from extreme adversity to live a successful life and career.

Born in Vietnam, she escaped Communist rule at the end of the Vietnam
War by boat with her family. They were taken into a Thai refugee camp before
being accepted into Australia, where they settled in Cabramatta, Sydney.

She started working in hospitality at her family restaurant from the age
of seven. In 2002 she co-founded the world’s most-awarded Vietnamese
restaurant, Red Lantern, with her partner Mark Jensen, who is a phenomenal
Chef, Ready Steady Cook TV host and Master Chef Australia guest Chef, and her
brother Luke Nguyen who is celebrity TV chef, MasterChef Vietnam judge and

Known for captivating audiences, through her aura and energy, she
studied a BA Communications from the University of Technology Sydney. She won
the 2008 Newcomer Writer of the Year for he award winning book ‘Secrets of the
Red Lantern’ and the 2012 Telstra Business Award for Medium Business.

This gifted writer and compelling speaker has a sense for adventure, is eager to learn and is excited for new challenges. She recently launched her new book, ‘The Way of the Spiritual Entrepreneur’. O

Pauline talks about:

  • Escaping Vietnam as a 3 year old.
  • Having a ferocious work-ethic built-in from a very young age.
  • The choice to give meaning to her suffering and reframing her story.
  • Establishing Red Lantern 17 years a go, with her brother Luke, after waiting at Sydney’s best restaurants under some incredible Sommeliers.
  • Living 5 years in Paris and London, working in film post-production.
  • Leading by example, through inspiration, working in the big picture, surrounding herself with people who live in the detail and without micro-managing.
  • The secret behind having only 10% staff turnover and the average length of employment being 6-10 years.
  • In business and in life it is impossible to please everyone.
  • Changing the business model in the middle of the financial crisis, and the effect that had on their current and future customers.
  • The universe rewards the unreasonably determined.
  • The surprise of winning debut writer of the year.
  • Writing the Secrets of the Red Lantern for her daughter.
  • The launch of her new book, “The Way of the Spiritual Entrepreneur.
  • To be spiritual is to be in sprit, to be inspired and to talk your absolute truth.
  • How can we be stress less, and lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • Getting out in nature as much as possible.
  • Never understating the power of the nature’s medicine and incorporating business walking meetings.

CEO Wellness Tip                                                       

Every Day is a New Day
We need to continually fuel our mind and body. Routines
can become very boring and unhealthy if we continue to do the same thing day
after day. We need try something new every day to make life more exciting. Start
small like taking a different route to work, starting the day with a drink of
water, taking staff out for a walking meeting, more vegetables over the food we
eat or set a new goal like climbing a mountain. The benefits of attempting new
things and really valuable and make life more exciting. It brings you out of
your comfort zone, it’s great for our brain and mental strength, it event makes
you more confident and courageous, and it provide a sense of accomplishment.


“Doing everything we can to stay in alignment every
day. To stay in alignment with joy, with inner peace and with inspiration.
That’s what spirituality is about. It’s top be inspired. To be in spirit. ” Pauline
Nguyen explains one of the Spiritual Entrepreneur strategies, on the active CEO

“Happiness in the pursuit, not the pursuit of
happiness.” Talking about spirituality with Pauline Nguyen on the active CEO

“You can’t make a difference if you are going to be
like everyone else.” Pauline Nguyen talks about success of the active CEO

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Pauline Nguyen
Red Lantern
Pauline Nguyen Instagram
Pauline Nguyen Facebook
Pauline Nguyen LinkedIn
Red lantern Article by Craig Johns
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching

Recommended Reading:

The Way of the Spiritual Entrepreneur – Pauline Nguyen
Secrets of the Red Lantern – Pauline Nguyen
Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercole

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