12 Oct Two familiar community champions join forces to create a new kind of agency
Since Launch DFW’s inception in 2009, a big part of our brand identity as the cool kids would say has been community collabs and partnerships. Our community impact continues to grow because of the support from our incredible partners and allies.
So when we got an opportunity to join forces with two of the hardest working and biggest champions of the local startup scene, we jumped at the chance. We were thrilled to hire Rachel Chang Consulting as our official events partner for one of our biggest events of the year, Ignite DFW (the big show kicks off next Wednesday at UNT Health Science Center!)
Rachel Chang and Triet Nguyen are the creative minds behind the recently formed Rachel Chang Agency. But there is so much more than meets the eye with these two as we recently learned. Launch sat down with the dynamic duo to talk entrepreneurship, that Dallas startup life, Lamborghinis and Cardi B. Yep, that Cardi. Photos by Christopher Alvarado Photography.
When did Rachel Chang Consulting officially start?
Rachel Chang Consulting (RCC) started in August of 2018 so we are early stage! The goal in starting was to provide additional resources for our already thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Dallas/Fort Worth. A lot of companies (especially startups), need assistance running large scale projects/initiatives, but don’t have the overhead to hire a full time position. We’re excited to provide assistance to clients utilizing our experience running some of the largest entrepreneurial events in DFW and our growing online and local networks. We’re passionate about seeing our city grow.
What does RCC specialize in? What makes it different from other local consulting companies?
RCC specializes in event management and community building for startups, entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovative enterprises. We’re unique in the sense that we don’t just have the experience or the intent of only handling logistics. While we’re definitely skilled in project management, we really thrive in designing missional, purposeful, and unique programming for our clients.
Who are your target clients?
Entrepreneurs, startups, innovative enterprises, coworking spaces, etc. If you’re an entity looking to create ongoing programming to benefit your customers/members, or are interested in hosting singular, large scale events (such as a conference or gala), consider Rachel Chang Consulting.
Our dream project, aside from already getting to work on Dallas Startup Week, is to host a conference to better equip and enable the creative entrepreneur. We’re fortunate to have friends in the local art, music, fashion, and design industries, and we’d love to do something that elevates them.
If you could describe RCC’s mission in three words, what would they be?
“Don’t get comfortable” – Cardi B. Just kidding. Entrepreneurship. Community. Fun.
What are some of the current projects you’re currently working on?
We just wrapped up a brand party for our dear friend and global LinkedIn influencer Goldie Chan. We also assisted with the Gritznic Music Festival that debuted last month and we are now focusing on kicking off planning for Dallas Startup Week. We’re also partnered with Launch DFW for their upcoming Ignite DFW event, which is being held for the first time ever in Fort Worth.
Rachel, tell us more about your background? What were you doing before RCC?
My background is a little bit like a game of Chutes and Ladders. Three years ago, I was starting my senior year of architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington. During that year, I launched a professional mentoring program, taught design drawing to continuing education students, helped launch a non-profit community design study, completed a design-build farming project, interned at some of the most prestigious firms in Dallas, and even published research on the DFW Metroplex.
When I graduated, I accepted a full-time offer at my favorite firm in town and proceeded to work there for the next year. On April 13, 2017, the day I got back from my honeymoon, I chopped all of my hair off. A month later I left my full-time job in architecture. At the ripe age of 24 years old, I realized the empowerment of making my own decisions. For years, I worked towards becoming an architect and when I FINALLY got there, I realized it wasn’t my calling in life. I spent a decade building a fantasy in my head that was far different than the industry that exists today. So I quit with no plan.
After a much needed hiatus and break from work for a couple of months, I started my new career search. That’s when I stumbled upon the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides resources, mentorship, and access to capital for early stage entrepreneurs. As the (now former) Director of Events and Programs, I received a crash course in all things startups by leading some of the city’s biggest entrepreneurial programming including Techstars Startup Week Dallas, WEDallas (in partnership with Capital One), State of Entrepreneurship, etc. I worked at the DEC until August of 2018, when I left to start Rachel Chang Consulting. My time at the DEC inspired me towards entrepreneurship and helped me discover my passion. I started Rachel Chang Consulting as a way to broaden the impact of the entrepreneurial community in Dallas and beyond.”
“At the ripe age of 24 years old, I realized the empowerment of making my own decisions.” – Rachel Chang
Triet, what were you doing before RCC?
To piggyback off Rachel’s answer a little bit, my background was essentially a game of chance. I try to live my life with a “sure, why not?” vibe. That’s my answer to all of life’s big decisions and questions. I’ve transferred between four different schools and during that time switched majors at least five times. Three years ago, I was wrapping up my first day of shadowing in the radiology program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. I ended the day thinking how much I hated what I was doing and wanted to go back into the business industry. So I transferred back to University of Texas at Dallas to major in Marketing. I was lucky enough to have a friend who did events for Lamborghini of Dallas who needed help so I offered to assist her for free and that’s how I discovered how much I loved doing event coordinations. I still offer to help that friend with events for free as a way to remind myself how passionate I am about this industry.
During my course of study, I needed an internship to graduate and happened upon local startup Rebel Role Model. I worked with the CEO for six months which is how I got be a part of Dallas Startup Week this year. Rachel and I instantly clicked one day when we were taking out the trash. She had recently gotten back in town from her hiatus so I reached out to see if she wanted an intern for the summer. Lucky for me she did and she spent all summer long molding me to be this person that everyone think is so awesome. But if y’all had met me before Rachel, you would have thought I was a lost cause and a hot mess!
I remember my first day interning for Rachel; she threw me into the fire on one of the biggest events to land in Dallas, Rise of the Rest. After that, I received an opportunity to serve as Interim Director of Events and Programs at the DEC and that eventually transitioned to a position with the events team at the newly launched Capital Factory. I secretly dreamed about working at Capital Factory the day I read about CEO Joshua Baer his startup vision in the Texas Startup Manifesto. If you haven’t read it, it’s so inspirational and to me, makes Texas the startup version of Alantis.
Triet, why did you both decide to come together and partner on this?
Rachel always jokes that I’m her “professional soulmate”. After working together at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, we recognized that the energy, the respect, the collaboration that existed between the two of us is extremely rare. Rather than go the entrepreneurship journey alone, she’d brought me along for the ride.
“If you haven’t read the Texas Startup Manifesto, it’s so inspirational and to me makes Texas the startup version of Alantis” – Triet Nguyen
Rachel, do you each have a speciality or focus within the company?
We tend to share the responsibilities, but I handle a lot of the business development and company management, whereas Triet is the go-to guy for all things logistics and implementation.
What are your biggest challenges as entrepreneurs right now?
Our struggles are standard to what a lot of entrepreneurs experience. We like to describe our company as a “practice in empathy”. We spend a lot of time with entrepreneurs, but weren’t truly able to comprehend the associated stresses until we went out on the limb ourselves. When you become an entrepreneur, you become everything for you company. The CEO, the CMO, the CTO, the CFO… all the Cs! The struggle comes in trying to learn all these new roles while also conducting business as usual. We’re fortunate to have a lot of support though.
Your thoughts on the local startup community?
We’re in it. We keep showing up. The community is both the most beautiful and terrifying community we’ve experienced. There are people and experiences that weigh the community down – things that we absolutely need to start talking about – but at the same time the local startup community is unbelievably resilient. We love that the people who are invested continue to show up to the table and are striving to make the ecosystem a better place for the entrepreneur. DFW is such a rich region for economic growth and impact, and has built a solid collaborative foundation. We’re excited to see the startup community elevated to a national and global scale. We just hope to be a part of that process!
What can we expect to see from RCC in 2019?
You can definitely expect to see the best Dallas Startup Week yet! And keep a look out for some exciting events and partnerships.