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Vinh Truong

Episode 114

Working for shoes to working for community

Vinh Truong, a Chinese/Vietnamese American, was born on February 14th, 1981, on Saint Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles, California. 

Coming from a family of immigrants, Vinh’s family migrated from Vietnam in 1978 and made Duarte home in 1985 when he was just four years old. Vinh is the youngest of eight children and completed K-12 in its entirety within the Duarte school district. He is a devoted husband, father, son, brother, colleague, and friend who values honesty, integrity, loyalty, kindness, and family.

Vinh is a licensed life and health agent, currently the CEO/President of CMT Insurance Agency. He is responsible for providing strategic, financial, and operational leadership while planning, developing, implementing, and directing the organization’s operational and fiscal function and performance. 

When not at work, Vinh is currently Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Duarte and has served on the city council since 2020. He has held a seat on the Duarte Economic Development Commission (DEDC) in 2018, which allowed him to understand and learn the dynamics and value of economic growth within the community. 

In addition to the DEDC, Vinh was a part of the ADHOC committee in 2019, which helped Vinh understand the importance of Duarte’s financial budget. He was also a member Board member of the Santa Anita Family YMCA from August 2018 to March 2019, where he donated his time by organizing events that would help with the improvements of the organization.

Vinh’s passions include hockey practice with his seven-year-old son, music time with his two-year-old son, golfing, and community/public service. Yet, his greatest passion is helping his clients better themselves by planning and helping them create their family legacies. 

Having made Duarte home for the last 35 years, Vinh takes great pride in having an active role within his community, ensuring that Duarte continues to grow and thrive, leaving it strong for the next generation of youth in Duarte.

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Vinh Truong Quotes

  • “I would have to give all the praises to my then-manager at Sprint, which is Kevin. He was a nice Japanese guy. He had a Japanese accent, but he knew how to kind of keep my confidence and mold me a little bit.”
  • “My parents were very typical, you know, keep your head down to the ground. Do what you gotta do. Mind your own business. Don’t worry about anything else. Just worry about yourself and your family.”
  • “To find a common ground is to be able to explain how to overcome what the obstacle is. Because I think that it’s really easy to tell, oh, you could do this, you should do this… but coming from your point of view, not knowing the other person’s point of view, it may or may not work. But I think listening is the most important thing, so you can find a common denominator to try to help them overcome whatever it is that they have. That’s why we have two ears in one mouth.”
  • “They say that the best thing to do to a kid is kind of give them a confidence and kind of praise and help through process. I didn’t get that much. So I was more focused on how am I gonna get myself out of the situation, so I could go buy nice shoes like this guy or buy nice clothes like this guy. So I decided to just finished my my my my school, did some homeschooling, went to continuation school, finished it all up, and then focused on working.”
  • Vinh Truong is a Chinese/Vietnamese American who comes from a family of immigrants from Vietnam.
  • Vinh is the youngest of 8 children and is now a husband and father
  • Vinh’s communication skills blossomed through years as a telemarketer and insurance agent
  • Vinh is a licensed life and health agent, currently the CEO/President of CMT Insurance Agency
  • Vinh Truong is Mayor Pro Tim for the City of Duarte

What is Vinh’s connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

Vinh was born in Chinatown, but he spent much of his life in family restaurants and sewing factories in El Monte in the San Gabriel Valley.

Vinh also feels a strong connection to the San Diego Valley because of so many cousins he has living there.
 

Where is Vinh Truong’s family from?

Vinh’s parents were born in China. When Japan invaded China, they both migrated over to Vietnam. The youngest of eight, Vinh’s other siblings were born in Vietnam. Due to the war in Vietnam, Vinh’s parents were lucky enough to make it to Kentucky in the United States.

Vinh’s family actually changed their last name from Cheung to Truong to make it more Vietnamese.

Vinh worked on a farm for about half a year before his father, sick of the farming lifestyle, moved the family to Glendale, California, in 1979.
 

What was it like for Vinh growing up?

Vinh felt very different; there weren’t many Chinese families in Duarte. The majority of folks were Filipino. It was a major adjustment for Vinh, especially in terms of culture. He even had a strong accent when they first moved.

He never fit in and always felt a bit like an outcast. It wasn’t until middle school that Vinh started seeing more Asian kids.
 

What were Vinh’s parents like?

They were what Vinh calls typical Asian parents, very much in the mindset of keeping to yourself, worrying about yourself, and staying out of other folk’s business.

When they moved to California, they tried to start a Pho restaurant in El Monte. Unfortunately, the restaurant did not last long. Then, his father did some carpentry and helped a friend out at a noodle manufacturer. The whole family would help out at times.

His parents were encouraged to give him an Americanized name, so for a while, Vinh’s American name, so to speak, was Steven. In fact, to this day, some of Vinh’s siblings and cousins still call him Steven.

However, he wanted to stay authentic and proud of his heritage, so Vinh decided to keep and use his true name.

vinh-truong-telemarketing
 

What happened to Vinh after high school?

Vinh remembers his family having multiple jobs, getting Government assistance, and bouncing between lower and middle class.

He has vivid memories of not being able to wear the nicest or best clothes and noticing everyone else’s outfits and shoes, and wanting to be able to have those luxuries, too.

Eventually, he got a job at Sprint at the age of 16 in telemarketing. Vinh felt he wasn’t excelling at school, so he enjoyed the success he could achieve as a telemarketer. He truly believes that he honed his communication skills at this time in his life.
 

What happened after working at Sprint for Vinh Truong?

Vinh stayed as a telemarketer at Sprint for about two years. Eventually, he left for a huge company that would eventually become what we know today as AT&T.

He worked at AT&T for a few years before cell phones became very popular and more accessible.

He saw the writing on the wall, so he left and worked at Marshalls for a short period of time before working at an e-commerce company that his friend owned. Then, being sick of working in a warehouse, he started working at a jewelry store.

One time while getting food, Vinh had his car’s window bashed in and was robbed for over $1,000,000 worth of jewelry. Two complete backpacks full of jewelry.
 

How did Vinh Truong get into public service?

In the mid-2010s, Vinh lost his father and had a son. It was a whirlwind of looking at finances, planning funerals, etc. For Vinh, this was a whirlwind moment and he wanted to make sure his family would be okay so he looked into life insurance policies.

A short time later, he got a call from New York Life. He thought they were just responding to his inquiries but they actually saw his resume and wanted Vinh to interview.

Four interviews later, Vinh became an agent.

In 2018, Vinh joined the Duarte Economic Development Commission. A few years later, a council member that was retiring reached out to Vinh and encouraged him to run.
 

Picture of Vinh Truong

Vinh Truong

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