Ten Minutes With … TCI‘s Elyisum ’Glam’ Nguyen

The Coaching Institute's chief extraordinary officer opens up about all things marketing, why she loves her job and—these may surprise you—her hidden talents.

In the first week she started as a marketing assistant at The Coaching Institute in 2012, Elysium ‘Glam’ Nguyen, 28, saw a way to do what was to become one of her mantras: do more, do better.

Glam—who took on the role between semesters at university, where she was studying graphic design—was put to work stuffing envelopes and proof reading documents. One mail out caught her eye. “There were a lot of mistakes and I knew it could be designed better,” she says.

Because the document had taken three months to put together, the TCI marketing manager told Glam to put it a redesign in the too-hard basket and get it to print.

“I went home that night and redesigned it anyway,” she recalls. “And I showed the marketing manager and said, ‘This is what it could have been’ and she loved it.”

Cue an instant promotion, the first step up the ladder for the young executive who is now, at just 28, the chief extraordinary officer of TCI and its new offshoot marketing company Global Marketer.

In the first of TCI’s new ‘Ten Minutes With‘ series to help you get to know our fabulous team and take you behind the scenes, Glam shares her business strategies, goals and hidden talents.

What do you love about your role?

I’m a marketer at heart, and I have a very rare opportunity to be able to market a product and a brand with a mission that makes a really deep and lasting impact on people’s lives. In the early days when I wasn’t sure how to solve something, I would go to the TCI site and read students’ Success Stories. When you read those you feel what it means for people and the impact on their lives, their careers, their families. It’s one of those really key things that makes everything worth it.

But marketing wasn’t where you thought your career was headed.

 Growing up I was always very good at drawing and making things pretty, and for a long time I thought design was the only thing I’d be able to do. But one of the things I love about TCI is we have such a strong message and drive to constantly learn and improve and grow, and there’s unlimited opportunity, and my career arc so far is proof of that. In other places I would have been too young, too inexperienced, too unqualified, too female, too a lot things.

What is it about marketing that lights you up?

I love the immense power it has to move people, to motivate them, bring them together, divide them. It’s a tool that can be used for good and I love the opportunity to do that.

You have huge responsibility at 28. How do you deal with that?

 A major part is I use the Critical Alignment Model a lot in marketing, leadership and self-management. So connecting with why it matters, having a really clear structure and benchmarks around how to manage the different areas of responsibility. To use a metaphor, I’ve learned over the years that when you juggle if you try to look at all the balls and catch them all at once, you’ll drop them. But if you get into a rhythm and only focus on the next one to catch, then put another one back into the air, you’ll pull it off.

Eight years is a long time in one company. What is it about TCI that keeps you so loyal and involved?

There’s internal reasons and external reasons. External is the mission and impact and difference we get to make. Internally, I love the opportunity to learn and grow and constantly push boundaries.

Your career highlights and milestones?

My biggest highlight and pride and joy is my team. When I started, one of my biggest lessons was learning I can’t do everything, no matter how capable I am. So I had to learn to recruit, train and motivate other people to become capable. In the last few years we’ve built a world class team, where people want to learn from us how to market.

What is your management style?

If it was going to have a tagline, it would be, “There’s always a way to make it happen.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

 TCI is the biggest school in Australasia and we want to become the biggest in the world. We know that coaching education benefits people way beyond just coaching—you understand yourself better, you can become a better teacher, parent, mum, friend. That’s our new mission, to bring coaching into more people’s lives and part of everyday language.

What does every businessperson need to know right now?

Business is ultimately relationships. To build them you need to be genuine, you need to care about the other person, make time for the other person, Look after them, make them feel special. And  that’s a major part of what will help people succeed with their market, their team, their suppliers.

What are your passions outside work?

I have a lot. I love learning and I’m always studying. Next semester, I’m doing—of all things—mathematics and Spanish, with Harvard Online. I love travel, different cultures and languages. I’m fluent in two and can understand Spanish, French and Mandarin.

We need to talk about your amazing style.

 I’m an online shopper, there’s a bit of everything in my wardrobe. I think the key is knowing you can pull anything off. You should wear whatever you want. Most mornings I plan out what I’ll wear when I’m snoozing!

What are your secret talents?

I paint, I play a bit of piano and I dance.