Journey with us as we navigate the extraordinary life of Thanh Campbell. From his early life in Vietnam to his last-minute escape during the fall of Saigon, Thanh's tale is nothing short of captivating. He shares the ups and downs of his journey, including his humble start selling suits in a mall before rising to his current position as the Canadian director of Partners Worldwide Canada. He goes on to reveal the enlightening story behind his Paul Harris Fellow pin from Rotary International, a testament to his unwavering dedication to service.
Thanh's insights go beyond his personal journey, as he gifts us with his wisdom on leadership, the power of prayer, and the art of connecting with others. He introduces us to the ‘Giver’s Gain’, a principle that has helped him build a network of meaningful connections, emphasizing the importance of helping others rather than seeking personal gain. This approach not only shaped his professional journey but also facilitated his transition into writing, leading to his memoir, Orphan 32. Tune in as we unveil the essence of Thanh's success - a spiritual connection, the significance of prayer, and an unshakeable belief in God’s perfect plan.
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Welcome to the Leader Impact podcast. We are a community of leaders with a network in over 350 cities around the world, dedicated to optimizing our personal, professional and spiritual lives to have impact. This show is where we have a chance to listen and engage with leaders who are living this out. We love talking with leaders, so if you have any questions, comments or suggestions to make this show even better, please let us know. The best way to stay connected in Canada is through our newsletter at LeaderImpactca or on social media at Leader Impact. If you're listening from outside of Canada, check out our website at LeaderImpactcom. I'm your host, lisa Peters, and our guest today is Taun Campbell. Taun was born in Vietnam and came over to Canada as part of the last flight out of Saigon in 1975 with 56 other orphan children, and their story was captured numerous times in national media. He has toured across Canada and spoken internationally sharing his story. Taun has had the privilege to speak for the United Nations in Toronto, multiple school boards, tv and radio interviews, as well as many Fortune 500 companies across Canada. Taun has written his memoir titled Orphan 32 and his illustrated children's book Lost and Found, orphan 32 goes home. Most recently, taun was appointed as the Canadian director of Partners Worldwide Canada, he has been asked to sit on a number of boards and committees, including the MAC Kids Fundraising Committee, the Hamilton Media Advisory Council, which discusses the issue of diversity and multiculturalism portrayed in the media, and Promise Keepers Impactist Canada Advisory Board. Taun and his wife Teresa have a combined family of six kids and one crazy dog. Welcome to the show, taun. I don't even know how you found time to be here.Thanh Campbell:
Thank you, lisa, great to be here, and hopefully we don't hear that crazy dog during this interview. That's great he always seems to know when to jump in right.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, mine's sleeping over there and she'll start to dream and all of a sudden I'm like, and I'm like throwing things at her. So you know, I get it. So I'm just going to. If anyone's watching this and many people are listening, I see you wearing a pin. Now I have the same pin Taun. I am a Paul Harris. I believe that's a Paul Harris. Am I right From Rotary International?Thanh Campbell:
That is correct. It is a Paul Harris fellow. I'm truly honored to wear this pin because at the time and I'm not a member right now, but I was honored with this pin by the Rotary Club up in Sault Ste Marie. So I was just visiting, I was sharing my story and a fellow came up to me afterwards and just shared that he was so impressed with what I'm doing in the community that he would like to honor me with a pin. And I just recently been to a pinning ceremony for a chief of police, so that's who I thought these pins belonged to. People like that. And you know community service. And he says no, we know what you're doing for the community and for young people across this country and bringing hope and we'd love to honor you with this. So I was deeply moved by that. So the next time I was up there, they had the whole ceremony and everything ready for me. And yeah, so I've been wearing with this with much pride everywhere I go and it's interesting, as I am in a room with other Paul Harris fellow, they noticed the pin and they share their story. So there is a real fellowship and real connection with each other.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, I was honored with a pin as well my father in law. So when a Rotarian makes a thousand dollar donation to the Rotary Foundation, you will receive a Paul Harris fellow pin. You become a Paul Harris fellow. My father in law has honored each one of his family members their daughter in laws, their son in laws, as well as now the grandchildren. He just continues to make these donations to which each of them are honored with a Paul. Yeah, so I know that pin very well. So congratulations.Thanh Campbell:
That's a really neat way of doing that.Lisa Peters:
There's my story. Thank you, thank you very much. Yeah, yeah, no, that's that doesn't meet honor with honoring people too.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, yeah. So I want to thank you for joining us. We are sort of doing a special summer series and we are now, I think, towards the end of August, and we sort of ask you four main questions and then I ask you my two ones. I ask all my guests. We sort of focus on pivotal turning points, best principles, success, failures and mistakes and how really those can be your best successes. So if you're ready to start, I'm going to jump in and ask your first question so we love hearing about your professional story and how you got to where you are today, so I'm wondering if you can give us a couple of snapshots that were pivotal turning points along that journey.Thanh Campbell:
Sure, well, I'll try and be brief because I'm a storyteller so it's hard sometimes. But out of university I knew I did not want to follow through with my education degree. I was going to be a school teacher, an elementary school teacher, so I didn't know what else to do but go work in the mall. So I went and worked at the mall and I sold suits at Tip Top Tailors and had a great time. But from there I was recruited by a friend to help manage their Christian bookstore and I was in that job for a little while and I got recruited basically from that job into working for Redeemer University College, the university I was just attending. So I graduated two years before that. So in 1998 I started working for Redeemer and while I was there I was doing some innovative stuff for the admissions department and I got, I guess I caught the eye of the fellow who was doing the fundraising for the university at that time. His name was Greg Hatton and he asked to do a coffee with me through one of my friends and I had no idea who this Greg Hatton was or that Redeemer was even doing a fundraising program, but we had coffee. He kind of got a little bit of my background and he basically hired me on the spot and I was at a juncture in my life again that I took it and so I started right in. I left that position and then got recruited into the fundraising world and so he was my mentor and he still is one of my mentors. In life. Greg has been a fantastic you know, just a leader figure in my life to walk beside me and coach me, really show me how to do fundraising as ministry. You know there is such a hard kind of task. When you are in the fundraising world You're talking about money, you're talking about people's finances, but when you approach it as a stewardship and as a ministry focus, you are actually blessing people. You are not there to take advantage of them, you're actually there to help them. And one of the biggest things I learned through kind of this is people who have been given lots let's just do it through biblical term they have a greater responsibility with that, and that responsibility of wealth is a burden to some people, and I know a lot of people joke saying I wish I was burdened with that responsibility, but it really is to make sure that you are stewardly with the finances that people have been given. So when people have big businesses or they've done have inheritances, the people who take it seriously to provide to ministries, they want to make sure that they're giving to the ministries that God is appointing to them. And so when you can come in and you can say you know this may not be for you, but if it is we would love to be able to partner with you and really speak in those terms that we want you to only partner with us if God is leading you to partner with us. Otherwise, you need to go and you know we want you to partner with whoever God is calling you to and leave that kind of pressure tactics down and really leave that open for the donor to prayerfully consider a gift or, you know, partnering with your organization. When you've been able to do that and you can leave. You know a donor meeting which usually starts off with arms crossed, eyes crossed and legs crossed waiting for the big ask. You know, and they can actually leave that meeting shaking your hand, giving you a hug and saying thank you for coming. That was a huge learning for me and so I started into that process, working for charities, not for profits, and I loved it. You know I loved every organization I got to work with, saw the different work that God is doing throughout this country. Around the world had to work with some of the bigger names like World Vision, kids Live, international, christian Reform, world Missions. These organizations are doing fantastic work around the world and it was great just to be a part of it.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, I listened to your story and I think I and mine I'm a mechanical engineer technologist designed 18 Wheeler tank trailer units got into charity work, fundraising, and it was everything you look at in your life and I think of you know you went in to be a teacher from tip-top sales you're, you know, from education to selling yourself to, you know, selling a charity group. It's amazing how we see those pivots and they were all meant to happen, and so I love hearing your story and I identify with it, because everything I have done has just got me to right here right now. So I absolutely absolutely. I actually, but truthfully I thought we were going to talk about. I'm thinking you know how would Tawn answer this question? And when I go back to your bio and I read last flight out of Saigon with 56 other orphan children, that was pivotal, that that changed the course of your life, it was definitely pivotal.Thanh Campbell:
Absolutely my personal life has been changed because of that. That came in 2003, you know, meeting the other orphans, meeting Trent, and that is kind of run parallel to my, my, my work life and it has helped me because obviously it helped grow my network, my media exposure through that story, just my general public speaking and having opportunities to speak with different groups, has helped me leverage my personal story into my work life. And, as you say, all of this has kind of got, has brought me to this point of what I'm doing right now with partners worldwide, where my kind of two worlds have collided, where I am helping people around the world who are living in impoverished communities, like I came from in Vietnam and now I'm working on this entrepreneur business Kind of side of things were helping businesses, global businesses around the world to scale and become sustainable, helping raise, you know, impoverished communities out of out of poverty through business, and I'm doing it also with fundraising. So you know all of this coming together and then again networking and connecting with business people such as yourself, sharing the story, sharing the vision, you know, using my communication skills to actually Tell stories of impact. It's all coming together in one beautiful picture when you know, as you're going through life, like why is God putting me through this or why is? And it's kind of here and there and here and there and all these different experiences. Now it's forming a beautiful picture and I can see his purpose.Lisa Peters:
Good, great, all right. So the next question is give us your best principle of a success and tell us a story that illustrates this.Thanh Campbell:
For sure. Well, I think it kind of what I was alluding to just as I've been going through my fundraising and going through my professional speaking is this principle that was given to me a while back, where your network is your net worth and so Everybody that you get to meet, everybody that you are connecting with, is part of your value, of who you are and what you can bring to people. And so my network that I have grown through, you know, decades, has really Now been able to I've been able to leverage that for what I'm doing. Now. The connections I've made through the media, that the connections I made through politics, the connections I've made through fundraising, all are coming together and being used in God's hand to really help this organization Partners worldwide, in Canada and around the world. So it's really exciting. You know I'm not saying that it's my net worth, because we know where our value comes in Christ, right. But in the business world it is a really who you know Kind of world. It is who you can connect people to. It is how you can help the other people. So the other principle that I've gained is givers game the more you can give away, the more you will receive, and when you can give away your network, when you can connect people and you can give away those connections with people that can help them, then it's a win-win-win situation. I don't look for just a win-win situation, I'm looking for how can we all win in some way, whether you know it's the community, it's the donors, it's the I want to see as many wins through all my connections, as much as possible. So having that sense of giver game it's not about just collecting names so I can hold them, but it's being able to so I can give them away and bless other people and saying, oh I know someone who could really bless your business through this way, or I know someone that you could bless their business by this. I think you two should meet right and then everybody you know wins out of that.Lisa Peters:
You're the connector.Thanh Campbell:
Absolutely, and people called me that that you actually had a different title for me before. It was called the smooths. So, yes, I think I was going to write a book under that title how to smooth that does. Yeah, I just know how to Make people comfortable, connect, get their stories Really hear the value proposition that people can bring to other people and just have that in my back pocket. You know we stuck with a roller-decks. You know it's kind of all up here and here and I always have that roller-decks going as who can I help people? So when I'm at a networking, I'm going to one right after this session. Actually I'm gonna be going to a networking session. It's who can I introduce you to? It's not yeah, how can you do business, how can you help my business, how can you take sales or how can you give me money or whatever it is. I'm always thinking through oh, who could I connect you to? Who? How could I support you in what you're doing Right and have that whole givers gain Principle behind me?Lisa Peters:
Yeah, because they will remember you. You were the person that connected them.Thanh Campbell:
Absolutely. Oh yeah, for sure, for sure. And what's interesting is, you know, in a second meeting or a third meeting they're actually Seeking you out and bringing you over to someone and they said oh, I just met ton at this last dinner last year. He's the perfect guy to connect you with so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so, right. And so you get to be known in those Circles as the person to be Backed into yeah, yeah, you're a memorable guy, tom. All right, so our third question and we oh, that's one way, you know. I mean, it's good to be kind of known as memorable. I I think the term you know in one of the books is it's great to be interested rather than interesting. And so when people understand that you are interested in them and what they are doing, right, that's so much more than trying to present yourself as interesting. You know, I definitely have an interesting story and a background, but that only comes about usually after I've heard their story and what they're all about.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, that's a good point. Thank you for sharing that Third question we learn more about, we learn more from our failures and mistakes than our successes. Would you share one of your greatest failures or mistakes he's already nodding and what you learned from it?Thanh Campbell:
Yeah, I was looking at this question before and you know it's like oh, which one do I choose from right? So this is tough because sometimes failures are hard to kind of look in the face and be able to say, oh, why did I do that and do I really want the world to know about, you know, my failures? I'd rather put the best foot forward, like my mom always used to tell. But I think missed opportunities are sometimes a failure as well. And so when you look back at opportunities that you didn't take advantage of or that you kind of had missed stepping forward in faith because you didn't think, you know, you had the resources or you had the means to move forward, and so I did have some of those kind of in my past where people have offered to kind of join forces with me or join and just kind of like being offered shares in Facebook when it first started, you know missing those opportunities. And so, yeah, there was a time where a friend had kind of offered to kind of join forces with me and to kind of start a business and I didn't have in me, I didn't have faith in me that I would be able to bring to the table what I needed to do and then so they found someone else and then they moved forward and they were successful and looking back now saying that, oh, I could have probably been that. You know that person. But you always look back on hindsight, right. So it's not that I take every opportunity, but I do have a better perspective of who I am and kind of the skills and abilities God has given me, and sometimes it is a test of faith and if it's a calculated risk, then it's not. You know what I mean. You know it's not a terrible risk to take if it's a calculated risk. So kind of learning from those kind of you know experiences helps help me, kind of say, hey, there is some innovation that you can take, because innovation always takes risk. I didn't think I was an author and so you know, when I was in grade 12 and high school you didn't want me writing papers, and same with the university, you'd be all red marks. So when people were saying, oh, have you ever written your book? And it's like, oh, you don't want to read what I write because it's, you know, not gonna make sense. But then I realized, okay, no, I have the skill of telling the story and that's why we have editors. So if an editor can work with me to make it actually legible and readable, then sure I could write a book. And that's what I did, and you know, gratefully, I've sold over 5,000 copies onto 8,000 copies now, and you know and the you know, people thank me for sharing my story with them through my book, and so I've had taken that step out of faith, saying, okay, I can do my part. Where other people have strengths, they can do their part. Working together, we can produce a very good product. And that's what's happened.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, I want to believe that if I don't say yes to an opportunity, if it was meant to happen, it will come back, it will find you again somehow. Like I want to believe that and sometimes I just you know.Thanh Campbell:
I think I miss the Absolutely, maybe in a different way.Lisa Peters:
Yeah, you're right, yeah, like I. Just I want to believe that that it will come. You know it'll take time or it will circle back around, or, if it's meant to be, it will find you again.Thanh Campbell:
At Leader Impact, we want to grow professionally, personally and spiritually for increasing impact. Would you be willing to share an example of how the spiritual makes a practical difference in your life as a leader?Thanh Campbell:
Well, I like to say that makes all the difference right. My faith is my anchor, and when I'm not connected, when I know that I'm not active in my faith, that's when I you know you're fired or you're yeah, you're just not getting the results that you're looking for. When you are connected, when you are praying daily, when you are in the Word, you know you're seeing promotions, you're seeing blessing, you're seeing donations come in from who knows what. So you're seeing the results tangibly when you are connected. And so yes, making sure that everything you do as a leader, you know, whether you are the CEO or whether you're an employee, you're still a leader, understanding that that spiritual connection, spiritual, you know, activity is vital for you and the prayer works. You know. I love kind of a posting I just did on Facebook and says pray before you overthink, and that's key. You know, so many of us go to overthinking rather than praying. We're trying to strategize. How can we do this? How can? Why don't we just pray? Why don't we just pray for more donors? Why don't we just pray for more activity? Why don't we just you know what I mean Let God do the work he's asking you to do, that He'll do all the heavy lifting for you, and so being able to really go there first, then, as a last resort, yeah, I love that.Lisa Peters:
I wrote that down. Pray before you overthink. I think the hardest part Taun is. Prayer doesn't always. You know you ask for something in a prayer. You know you are praying for something. It doesn't always come out the way you think it should. Right, if you want to make God laugh, you tell him your plan. Exactly yeah, and so sometimes it's not always what you think should happen, but there's a bigger story here, you know, and it's all part of the bigger story.Thanh Campbell:
And his plan is perfect and his love is perfect. So understanding that that then there's no fear. There's no fear in love, it says in the Bible. And so when you know his plan is perfect, you know his love is perfect, then you know his answer to your prayer is perfect. So if it's a no, then you know it's out of perfect love. If it's a yes, it's out of perfect love. If it's a not, yet it's out of perfect love because his timing is perfect, his love is perfect, his plan is perfect and so you can rest in that. But he calls us to pray, he commands us to pray because he wants to have relationship with us, he wants to have that communication, you know, as the father to child. So it's not out of a, you know, a religiosity, or it's not out of legalism, or it's not out of, you know, earning our way or anything like that. It's just that right that we have as children to communicate that he longs for, to enter.Lisa Peters:
Anton, what brings you the greatest joy?Thanh Campbell:
The greatest joy in my life is my family, you know, being able to spend time with them. We got together for Father's Day, seeing my kids really seeing that my kids have a zest for life, love each other, know how to have fun, know how to respect others, know how to serve others. That's my biggest joy. Knowing that what I've done to sow those seeds into them and see them come to fruition, loving my wife, spending time with her, loving on each other, quality time. You know we look both of very busy lives I'm on the road quite a bit but knowing that time that we have together, you know someone used to say love is spent, spelled T-I-M-E and it's so true being able to spend that quality time. You know there's a lot of people who spend time together, but it's not quality time. It's you're in the same space as each other but you're not with each other. And I love having a partner now that when we are together, we're fully present. You know we're laughing together, we're engaging together, even if it is watching a movie, even if watching a show or going for a walk or walking a dog. We're doing this together because we know what it's like to do life apart or life alone, right, even if you're with someone and feeling alone, it's not fun. Now being able to do life with someone, you know where. You're never going to be alone again. I could be in Africa.Lisa Peters:
I could be in.Thanh Campbell:
BC right, I'm not alone, because I know her presence is with me. And her love, you know, daily is such a representation to me of God's love for me and I think to myself if her love is that great for me, how much greater, you know, is God's love for me. How can I'm going? No wonder people could not stand in his presence, right? No wonder they had to fall prostrate before him because it was too much, right, sometimes her love for me is too much. I'll be driving in the car and I'll have a song probably our song on and you just you're overwhelmed and you could start weeping because of the love. It's not out of sadness, it's out of love, right? And that is just such a beautiful representation of the perfect and pure love that we receive from our Father.Lisa Peters:
What a great answer. Tresa is a lucky woman, so this ends our podcast with you. This ends our podcast. We hope everyone enjoyed listening Ton. If any of our listeners want to engage with you, find you. How can they find you? What is the best way?Thanh Campbell:
Sure. So all of my social media, all of my social media is just my name. It's pretty unique. There's not too many ton Campbell's out there, so TH A and H Campbell. You can look me up on the partnersworldwideca website as well for the Canada staff. You can find me there. Or you can just go to any of my social media Facebook, instagram and connect with me on that way as well. So my personal website is orphan32.com, so they can also reach me through that website, orphan32.com, and there's a way to connect with me directly through that as well. So, yeah, be glad to connect, answer any questions. In honor to be part of the Leader Impact community, because I get to meet and connect with great people like yourself. Lisa. It was wonderful connecting with you and Winnipeg and knowing your journey and what you're going to be doing. It is exciting to be part of that network of leaders who are making a big difference in this community and across our country.Lisa Peters:
No, alright, that's great. Thank you, taun, for the last just over half hour. We appreciate every minute and our dogs were silent, so we're very lucky, alright. Well, thank you again. Alright. Well, if you're part of Leader Impact, you can always discuss or share this podcast with your group. And if you are not yet part of Leader Impact and would like to find out more and grow your leadership, find our podcast page at LeaderImpactca and check out our free leadership assessment. You will also find on our webpage chapter one of Braden's Douglas's book Becoming a Leader of Impact. It is an amazing leadership book. You can check out groups available in Canada at LeaderImpactca or, if you're listening from anywhere else in Canada, check out LeaderImpactcom. We're getting touched by email info at LeaderImpactca and we will connect you. And if you like this podcast, please leave us a comment, give us a rating or a review. This will help other global leaders find our podcast. Thank you for engaging with us and remember Impact starts with you.