Kindness Needs No Translation
Moved to help others by her immigrant mother’s struggle to launch a business, Dana Nguyen now guides startups in overcoming similar obstacles.
by Justin Walker
Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” For Dana Nguyen, this call summarizes her life’s journey.
Nguyen is an associate at Jackson Walker LLP in Dallas, working in the corporate section. She primarily deals with the transactional side of legal matters, such as writing contracts and assisting clients through deals such as mergers or asset sales.
Dana Nguyen, BBA ’17, MAcc ’18, JD ’21
Associate; Jackson Walker LLP
“We help clients with business transactions from start to finish” Nguyen said. “I do a lot of contract reviewing, document drafting, and SEC filings.”
One aspect of her job she truly enjoys is assisting startups as they begin their business. Nguyen and her assigning partners help guide their startup clients on their business models, capital raises and more.
“I get to be there and give them guidance,” she said. “That is always so much fun.”
Nguyen’s passion for the law and helping startups stems from her family. Her mother immigrated to the U.S. before Nguyen was born. After Nguyen’s father passed away when she was 5, her mother was responsible for raising and providing for the family.
“I tagged along a lot when she first started doing things to start her business,” Nguyen said. “My mother is an immigrant and an intelligent woman, but she does have an accent. Growing up, I saw how people interpreted her accent as an indicator of incompetence, not just for what it is.”
Nguyen then realized that she wanted to help people like her mom.
“I remember my first accounting class; I found myself studying even more than was required of me just because I liked being able to talk about it,” she said. “It just clicked for me. It was challenging, but I enjoyed it.”
This realization caused Nguyen to enroll in the Master of Accountancy program. While in grad school, she attended the Accounting Professional Development Trip to Washington, D.C., where they visited the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Government Accountability Office. She knew she was interested in going to law school and was uncertain if her choice to major in accounting would be helpful if she didn’t follow the traditional path of working for an accounting firm.
“Seeing all of the different ways an Accounting degree can help your career made me feel more confident about my choice,” she said.
After graduating from the Business School in 2018, Nguyen attended Baylor Law School. After completing the Juris Doctor program in 2021, she began working for Jackson Walker.
“Everyone is down-to-earth and always willing to help,” she said.
Helping is what Nguyen hopes to do, as well. Nguyen intends to continue finding new ways to assist those who need help with legal business matters. Nguyen recognized that her mother, like many others, had to learn a different language to make ends meet. However, it’s not just English, but the language of business and the language of the law.
“I want to be that translator for people, to help them pursue whatever goals or ambitions they want to achieve,” Nguyen said. “That’s why I love my job. I get to help people along their entrepreneurial journey.”
Baylor Business Review, Spring 2023