Nhi Aronheim stands at only four feet, nine inches tall, but her story is immense.
Several anthologies including KENTUCKY WOMEN: TWO CENTURIES OF INDOMITABLE SPIRIT AND VISION, and the PBS documentary, VIETNAM 101, have profiled my harrowing journey as a child refugee who escaped war-torn Vietnam in search of the American dream.
Speaking very little English when Nhi arrived in Kentucky, she excelled in school and became valedictorian her senior year. She later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Centre College in Danville, and a Master of Science degree in Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Nhi worked for four years as a telecommunications consultant for Lucent Technologies, during which time she met and married a Jewish man, and converted to Judaism in 2004. She has two beautiful children who she has raised to embrace Vietnamese and Jewish cultures.
After transitioning to sales and marketing in the mortgage industry—where she worked for over sixteen years—she retired from Citywide Home Loans as a marketing specialist, at the age of forty-one.
Next to her family, Nhi’s passion is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. She volunteers as a mediator for courts and the Better Business Bureau in Colorado, in addition to being an interpreter.
In 2013, Nhi earned a Black Belt in Taekwondo, fulfilling a promise she made to her birth mom—who wanted Nhi to learn karate before she left Vietnam—in the event she came under attack during her escape, she could protect herself.
Having come full circle from prosperity to poverty and back, Nhi hopes to encourage others to believe that in spite of overwhelming odds, they can survive any situation with a desire for improvement and the willingness to grasp opportunities in front of them.
The soles of my feet still bear the scars of my horrific escape from Vietnam—where I trudged through the jungles of Cambodia at the age of twelve with a group of strangers. No experience, however, has influenced or enriched my life more than being adopted into a Christian family and later becoming a Jew.
In SOLES OF A SURVIVOR, I share my story of survival, resilience, hope, and faith in my quest to achieve the American dream.
Various articles, academic papers, and literary anthologies have focused on the experiences of Vietnam Boat People, but many of the one million refugees who fled my country’s oppressive communist regime find it too painful to share their stories in depth. I too refused to relive my traumatic experiences for almost three decades—until now.
Through SOLES OF A SURVIVOR, I fill an essential gap for understanding the adversity Vietnam refugees endured from the perspective of a young child; the experience of being adopted into a household of a different culture; and the joys of interfaith marriage.
Chris Blair, Maestro Associates
Bob Dodge, The Alternative Board – Denver West
Maria Naylor, Singular CPA Services
Vince Tinnirello, Anchor Network Solutions
Silverman Law Firm
Jonathan Manske is the world’s only Cerebral Sanitation Engineer. He has created unique and highly effective tools and strategies to help people “take out their head trash”.
I have been studying people, potential, and performance since the late 1980’s.
I am tremendously passionate about assisting people to let go of their limitations, remember their magnificence, and pursue their greatness!
To this end I have created many unique and powerful tools, techniques, and strategies that create positive and meaningful change in people’s lives.
The question I am asked so often is, “How did you get started with what you do?”
As a kid, I remember hearing people complain about their jobs. This never made any sense to me. I remember thinking, “If you do not like what you are doing then go do something else. Life is too short to waste.”
So even as a kid, I had curiosity about quality of life and how one goes about creating and living a great life.
In college I was a biology major and my plan was to go to medical school. I took the MCAT (medical college admissions test) and it was time to start applying to medical schools.
Then three things happened that caused me to hesitate.
A retired doctor friend urged me to not go to medical school. He felt that the field of medicine had become too restrictive and that there was no freedom to really practice medicine the way it should be practiced. His advice really shocked me.
My mom had a heart to heart talk with me. She told me that she did not think that I would be happy being a doctor. She did not believe that it was the right fit for me. Her advice made me wonder. (She’s a smart lady!)
Then I had a heart to heart with myself. I realized that I was experiencing an incongruency. I did not like going to the doctor and would only go if I was gravely injured. I also had some serious questions about the benefits of medicine. My father’s life was extended by ten plus years but the quality of that time was another matter altogether. Yet, I was still planning on becoming a doctor. That did not make much sense to me.
So, I decided to have an altruistic adventure and join the Peace Corps while I figured this out. This seemed like a far better option than going through the hassle of applying, spending $50,000 (or whatever a year of med school costs) and putting myself through the brutal first year of med school when I was not certain that was what I really wanted to do.
In the Peace Corps, I served in The Philippines as a freshwater fisheries specialist.
While in The Philippines, I was exposed to the philosophy of Eastern health and wellness and treating causes rather than symptoms. This made so much more sense to me than the Western medicine paradigm ever did. (The really funny thing about this is that I went to college at CU Boulder and Boulder has a huge alternative health community. But I turned a blind eye to that scene for 4 years and then traveled half way around the globe to discover what existed in my own back yard.)
Then I met and started studying with an energy-healing master. I really dove into that world. Through all the work I did, I first learned to feel energy and soon after developed the ability to see energy.
Even though I studied for a while with the energy-healing master, my greatest teacher was my own curiosity. I figured out many advanced techniques before they were taught to me. When I got into a situation that seemed to be over my head, I did not panic. I just got curious and a new angle, strategy, tool, or technique would appear. I learned so much from the people I worked with.
I have worked with thousands of people with everything from headaches to terminal cancer.
Ultimately I developed my own unique body of healing work.
Jeff Weist is a professional lobbyist who has spent 20 years assisting his clients in all aspects of government relations, including strategic planning, lobbying, political fundraising, coalition building, grassroots and communications.
Jeff believes he has the best job in the world, turning his passion for crafting public policy into a lifetime profession helping his clients navigate the often byzantine maze of government.
Jeff has been interested in public policy since high school. He continued those pursuits in college at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he majored in Political Science, and acted as Managing Editor of the Georgetown Guardian newspaper.
During his tenure in Washington, DC, Jeff served as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Dan Schaefer (R-CO). He advised the Congressman on economic, telecommunications, budget, utility, tax and banking issues and had the privilege of playing a leading role in the first major re-write of the nation’s telecommunications laws in 60 years, as well as crafting groundbreaking utility regulation and tax reform legislation.
After coming home to his native Colorado, Jeff was Director of State Government Affairs for AT&T Broadband, the nation’s largest cable television company, as well as its predecessor company, Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI). In that role, he oversaw legislative affairs and coordinated lobbying efforts region and nationwide.
From AT&T, he graduated to contract lobbying in 2002, and is proud to have cultivated more than decade-long relationships with many of his clients. From major corporations, medium and small businesses, trade associations to nonprofits, Jeff understands the needs of business owners and membership driven organizations alike.
Despite his passion for his work, Jeff tries hard to lead a balanced life that centers on his two teenage boys. Together, they enjoy a wide range of very fun hobbies, including: fly-fishing, shooting, skiing and high-powered rocketry. Jeff is a Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster, and former Cub Scout Cubmaster. Jeff has also volunteered on numerous boards including the Denver Art Museum Asian Art Association and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.
Julie Rasmussen, EnXray Limited
Bob Deprez, Deprez Leadership
Myron Jarosewich, Innovating Operations
Pietro Simonetti, Key Bank
Leadership expert and award-winning author, Bob Vanourek is the former CEO of five companies, ranging from a start-up to a $1 billion company. Bob is the author of two award-winning books: Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse and the co-author of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, called “the best leadership book since Jim Collins’ Good to Great.”
Bob is a former board member or chairman of eleven organizations, an adjunct university instructor on leadership, and a high honors graduate of both Harvard and Princeton universities.
Bob will read inspiring passages from some of the masters of literature with deep meanings for all of us. After each passage, brief interactive discussions will be held among DAB members about the lessons we can glean from these masters for practical applications in our busy lives. Be ready to dive deep, think hard, and be inspired by the masters.