Tan Nguyen (she/her/hers) is a proud hyphenate: Queer-gender-nonconforming-Asian-Vietnamese-American-woman-1.5 generation immigrant who operates at the intersections of these identities. She is also a hyphenate professionally: creative-director-producer-designer-communications-marketing-print-digital-entpreneur-project manager-event producer. She’s had many different kinds of leading roles and this rich experience lends itself to an exciting and diverse portfolio.
With over 20 years experience in design, Tan began her professional creative career as an art director at J. Walter Thompson (now JWT) in NYC, working on campaigns for clients such as the U.S. Marines, Merrill Lynch, and White Castle.
After 9/11, she reevaluated her career and decided to strike out on her own and honed her craft at Parsons School of Design (2002). She started her first agency, Tan Dan Design, and worked on marketing materials for clients such as Anti-Violence Project, Women’s Bond Club, Stonewall Foundation, Aramark, New York University, and The Ohio State University, among numerous others.
In 2009, the stars aligned and there was an opportunity to make another dream of hers come true. She left NYC to launch her food truck and under her leadership, Washington, DC-based Rebel Heroes,* quickly rose to #1 (Washington Post online survey) and “Best of” lists (Washingtonian Magazine, City Paper). Through effective strategic branding, high-impact design, social media savvy, and with a very limited budget for advertising, they managed to sell out daily, with long lines of returning customers who wanted to “Revolutionize the Sub”. Her success as an entrepreneur also greatly informs how she is able to help other business owners and entrepreneurs launch their business.
Tan’s journey has been global and spans diverse networks and fields but the common threads have always been the same: a passion for her work, connecting with community, creativity in solutions, and a commitment to achieving tangible and effective results.
She is an alumna of The George Washington University, spent her junior year abroad at Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan), and is a 2020 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Program in Social Innovation Design. She co-founded No Hate Space, a grassroots visual campaign. She also served as an executive board member for Stonewall Columbus.
Social Media & content creator
With a passion for travel and a desire to understand the world we inhabit, Ana Mitchell (she/her), graduated from The Ohio State University with a double major in anthropology and comparative cultural studies with a French minor. It was at Ohio State where Ana and Tan’s paths crossed, working her senior year as Tan’s marketing and communications assistant at the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. She published numerous profiles and interviews and maintained a robust weekly newsletter and social media that reached over 30,000 subscribers.
Ana also has a passion for food–working at FromagerieOhio, where she got her hands messy with baking various breads, cutting cheese wheels from all over the world, and selling product at farmer’s markets throughout Columbus.
You can currently find Ana residing in the southwest of France, in the beautiful Basque Country, where she is also teaching English part-time at a high school. Her international experience and interdisciplinary studies have helped her foster strong communication and collaboration among diverse backgrounds, patience, and always a desire to learn from others.
new business & proposals
Elizabeth Ma is a 1st gen Chinese American currently based nowhere and everywhere. After graduating from The Ohio State University she found herself working in account management, corporate retail, ed tech and most recently, accountability coaching – while her previous experiences span different industries, the common factor across all is her passion to connect with people. Elizabeth’s hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, yoga and cruising in her 94 4runner.
Community PartnersTalented community partners we collaborate with in Philadelphia!
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Felicia Blow (she/her) is a designer, screen printer, and illustrator currently based in West Philadelphia. Originally from North Carolina, Felicia has always had a creative streak and been mostly self-taught in her creative endeavors. She founded two minds press, an independent silkscreen shop, in 2018, selling at local markets and craft fairs before making the leap to focus on her business full-time in 2020. She connected with Tan and Hyphenate in early 2021 to collaborate on clients’ logo, graphic design, and print projects.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in the sun, doing crossword puzzles, cooking with friends, and co-organizing with Creative Resilience Collective, a Philly-based collective advocating for self-determined mental health care access in the city.