Small Gestures are Just as Important as the Big Ones
Employee Spotlight: Emma Nguyen, Chief of Staff, Axon Vietnam Office
May 27, 2022
Emma Nguyen started at Axon in 2017 just after Axon acquired one of her previous employers, Misfit AI. While Emma hadn’t heard of Axon before, the new team offered room to grow, and she loved Axon’s noble mission: Protect Life. As office manager for Axon’s then brand new Vietnam location, Emma was inspired by the company’s drive and optimism as they handed her the reins to build out the new office. Creating an office from scratch is quite the challenge, particularly when working collaboratively across the ocean with new coworkers. Regardless of the obstacles, the Axon team gave Emma the support and energy needed to succeed.
Emma recalls that on her second day, Axon arranged to fly a small team from Vietnam to the company’s Seattle office for onboarding. When the group arrived at the airport, they were told they’d need travel insurance to board the plane. Emma emailed People Operations for guidance and Elizabeth Hart, SVP of People Ops, called Emma back right away to cover the cost of travel insurance and get the new team to the U.S. This simple gesture made Emma and her colleagues feel respected and trusted from their first very week. When they arrived, the U.S.-based Axon team knew all of their names. Emma recalls that she and her team were treated warmly as people, not just new colleagues.
Five years later, the Vietnam team has grown from 7 to 250 people. In that time, Emma’s career has grown thanks in part to three earned promotions. She’s now the Chief of Staff of Axon’s Vietnam office, and oversees all hiring and promotions while working closely with the global People Ops team. Every position comes with challenges. Emma recalls feeling overwhelmed building a new office and team from the ground up 5 years ago. However, the support she felt from Axon’s leadership, the excitement she saw in her local colleagues and the way the global offices seamlessly collaborated to innovate for good helped her overcome those feelings.
“Working for a tech company like Axon is a big deal in Vietnam,” she said. “I saw from day one that each of my colleagues are committed to the company mission and so good at what they do. I wanted to be a part of that and I’m so thankful I’m here today.”
Emma looks back on her experiences so far and is grateful for Axon’s collaborative culture and proud of where her office is now. Company culture at many Vietnamese companies is different than in the United States, and junior employees rarely have large input. It is unlikely leadership would know most employees’ names in the first week — there is an obvious hierarchy, and employees follow it closely. Being part of a company like Axon, where leadership immediately recognizes their employees and is interested in what they can bring to the innovation table, is exciting.
People at Axon fairly evaluate all ideas and contributions, and solutions to problems are analyzed together. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your title is; you have a voice from the very beginning. From onboarding to promotions, Axon is clear about its core values. Emma feels one company goal is for employees to learn how to have a voice and an opinion. This is closely aligned with one of the organization’s core values: Expect Candor.
At Axon, candor gets critical issues elevated and the truth on the table — it gets the team to the right answer faster. Axon believes that by offering and being able to receive critical feedback, the team can reach the best possible outcomes for individuals, for the company, for its customers and ultimately, for communities. This environment helps build both individual and team confidence and is a great way to help employees feel like they really belong.
When asked what kind of colleagues she’s looking to hire in Vietnam, Emma said this: “I encourage anyone who is excited by the idea of solving societal issues through developing big technology to apply for a job in our office. We are seeking those who have original ideas and a can-do attitude.” She appreciates the opportunity to grow her and her team’s ideas, as well as their careers in tech.
We are on a mission to Protect Life. We’re building technology to change the world, pursuing society’s most formidable safety and justice issues with our ecosystem of devices and cloud software. If this sounds like a mission you would like to be a part of, check out our resources below:
- Follow us on LinkedIn.
- Read more about Axon Careers.
- Explore our benefits.
- Search for open positions.