Tan Nguyen (she/her/hers) is a proud hyphenate: Queer-gender-nonconforming-Asian-Vietnamese-American-woman-1.5 generation immigrant who operates at the intersections of these identities. She is also a hyphenate professionally: creative-director-producer-designer-communications-marketing-print-digital-entpreneur-project manager-event producer. She’s had many different kinds of leading roles and this rich experience lends itself to an exciting and diverse portfolio.
With over 20 years experience in design, Tan began her professional creative career as an art director at J. Walter Thompson (now JWT) in NYC, working on campaigns for clients such as the U.S. Marines, Merrill Lynch, and White Castle.
After 9/11, she reevaluated her career and decided to strike out on her own and honed her craft at Parsons School of Design (2002). She started her first agency, Tan Dan Design, and worked on marketing materials for clients such as Anti-Violence Project, Women’s Bond Club, Stonewall Foundation, Aramark, New York University, and The Ohio State University, among numerous others.
In 2009, the stars aligned and there was an opportunity to make another dream of hers come true. She left NYC to launch her food truck and under her leadership, Washington, DC-based Rebel Heroes,* quickly rose to #1 (Washington Post online survey) and “Best of” lists (Washingtonian Magazine, City Paper). Through effective strategic branding, high-impact design, social media savvy, and with a very limited budget for advertising, they managed to sell out daily, with long lines of returning customers who wanted to “Revolutionize the Sub”. Her success as an entrepreneur also greatly informs how she is able to help other business owners and entrepreneurs launch their business.
Tan’s journey has been global and spans diverse networks and fields but the common threads have always been the same: a passion for her work, connecting with community, creativity in solutions, and a commitment to achieving tangible and effective results.
She is an alumna of The George Washington University, spent her junior year abroad at Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan), and is a 2020 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Program in Social Innovation Design. She co-founded No Hate Space, a grassroots visual campaign. She also served as an executive board member for Stonewall Columbus.