Get to know the Fargreener Of the Year 2017

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Mai Tran - The interesting mix

Fargreener since: June 2017


As usual, at the end of each working year, the Fargreen team gets together to celebrate our work and select the one member who would best represent the Fargreener of the Year title. This is the most prestigious annual recognition at Fargreen for a full time staff member who has excellently demonstrated Fargreen’s core values and contributed to the development of Fargreen. Starting in December, all Fargreen members were asked to participate in an open nomination process in which they would suggest to the team who they think would most deserve the honor. Everybody says that this is always the most difficult year-end task. This year, out of our ten full time staff members, the three who got the most votes were Sim Luu - our farmer network coordinator, Hien Dang - our admin and office manager who was also Fargreener of the Year 2016 and Mai Tran, our communications and brand development associate. Mai Tran, with her impressive work achievements, won the prize.

Mai officially started working full time at Fargreen in the summer, but she is not a brand new face at all. In fact, she has been supporting Fargreen through volunteering since the very beginning of its birth in Vietnam when Fargreen's founder Trang Tran just came back from America in 2014. At that time, she was working full time for a Japanese construction corporation where she performed technical checks on buildings’ architectural designs to ensure all standards were strictly met.

Not surprisingly, words like smart, hard-working, disciplined and detail-oriented were chosen by her teammates to describe this young lady at work. Her impressive background would back it up firmly: she was raised with an intellectual family in the capital city of Hanoi, graduated with excellence from the famous Hanoi University of Technology, received a full scholarship to Japan for a Master in Engineering, and is fluent in both English and Japanese. What's more? She could make a rock die of laughing with her great sense of humor. There is guaranteed to be no cloudy day when this lady is in our office. No wonder her name is Mai - a flower whose blooming signals the arrival of spring and sunshine.

Let’s have a chat with Mai to learn more about her life and work at Fargreen.


Congratulations on your impressive achievement, Mai. Was that a surprise for you?

Not really. Some members joked that they would vote for me for funny reasons. And I’m the type of person who believes things easily, so… Actually, though I believed them, I forgot quickly too. That’s why I was dressed like a chameleon at the awards ceremony. If I had known I would be on the stage, I would have dressed better to look more refined…


What made you choose Fargreen in the beginning and what made you stay until now?

When you think of Fargreen, you may think of mushrooms, of safe foods, of environmental issues like climate change or air pollution resulting from burning rice straw. You'll probably laugh at me when I tell you, but in fact, before joining Fargreen, I didn’t pay much attention to the safe food issue, though I knew that it had become one of the serious problems in Vietnam. I didn’t pay much attention to the problem of air pollution either, though I also acknowledged the degradation of air quality. The thing that got me interested in Fargreen's work was actually the life of the farmers.

I've been to Japan several times, and every time I’ve always stayed in the countryside. So naturally I’ve had many opportunities to witness the life of Japanese farmers. I actually used to live with some of them when I participated in a volunteer program. From my experience, I saw that the Japanese farmers worked very hard (in fact, all Japanese people work hard), their income was quite good and their quality of life was not lower than those who lived in the city.

However, I realized that the situation was quite the opposite in Vietnam. Vietnamese farmers are also known for being hard working but most of them end up in poor living conditions and worse, more and more of them are abandoning farm work, leaving their land to find better opportunities in big cities. Fargreen works to support rural farmers, helping them to have more income by joining its mushroom growing network, and at the same time allowing them to stay with their land. Wanting to contribute to that meaningful work, I decided to volunteer for Fargreen in my free time upon hearing Trang share about the project back in 2014.

As I watched Fargreen grow its team and culture over time, I'd also thought a lot about my work and its meaning to my life. It's true that I was doing work that took advantage of my technical background and that it was financially secured, but it wasn't totally fulfilling to me. So one day I decided to quit the job and give Fargreen a full time try to see if it could be a good fit. After one month of being a volunteer, I decided to take a full time position offer.  

I've seen myself becoming committed to Fargreen more and more. I feel good everyday when I think about the contribution that I can make to the community and the environment through my work. Not only that, the working environment here is so fun and transparent - transparent, from the office with the glass wall, to the way the company operates. Everything is clear and verifiable at Fargreen. Also, everyone in the company is so helpful and respectful to one another. I really love the sharing culture here: we share the work, the opinions, and the love with one another freely. In my opinion, working together may make us a group, but working together with respect, care, and love makes us a team.

Last but not least, like many other colleagues, I can see in Fargreen the opportunities for development now and in the coming years. It’s not only the potential for business development but also for personal growth. I believe that Fargreen will become a great company whose mission and core values are always kept intact over time and for a long long time. Personally, I've seen myself grow up a lot since working here as I've been given chances to do things I had never done before and didn’t think I could do it, such as finding new customers, dealing with failed orders, etc. I also have learned how to express my gratitude, as well as how to apologize... in a professional manner and, of course, with sincerity.


How is your work at Fargreen?

I have to say: very busy! Always busy. I love sleeping and could even sleep 10 hours a day. But since I started working here, I’ve had to sacrifice my love for sleep and share it with the work. Well, I love my job, so being busy is a good thing, I would say. And you know? Due to my relentless dedication, besides the Fargreener of the Year award, my last accomplishment of the year was that I typed these answers on New Year’s Eve! As someone has said in Fargreen: Deadlines are good for you... :)


Thank you so much for your sharing, Mai!


You can reach Mai at if you'd like to write and get to know more about this special secret magic at Fargreen. At Fargreen, we are so grateful to and proud of people like Mai who have come and helped us build the Fargreen that we have now. Thank you for being part of the journey. Until next blog. Happy New Year!