Simultaneously plotting a course through motherhood in a new land, a land just opening up in the early 2000s, Rosanne Lee and Huynh Buu Tran met early on through work. Together, over the last 15 years, they have bonded, supporting each other through pregnancies, parenthood, careers and life, forming a relationship that is the foundation for the next step of their combined path – Mandala Wellness.
“Mandala Wellness’s mission is to inspire Vietnamese to make better, healthier choices” say Rosanne and Tran, “to raise consciousness about ourselves, our family, our world, and to eat cleaner, to live better, to laugh more, and make positive changes to improve our quality of life.”
Both women have decided that the time is right to take on this new vocation, having both had busy careers and raised children in this country. Throughout, they have always seen the opportunity to help people take better control of their lives, and be more connected to their bodies, their minds and the environment in which they live.
I have long had a passion for health and wellness, making time to fit in some biking, yoga, running, or the gym into my daily routine. While at university in Canada, I became a vegetarian and received my fitness instructor certification, a milestone that helped set me on the path that I would take.
In 1996 I moved to Vietnam and worked in advertising before joining my partner to build an interior design and architecture firm. The company eventually grew to 14 offices in 10 countries. During this busy period, I tried to keep balanced by maintaining my step aerobics classes and regular yoga practice, even during my pregnancy and after childbirth.
Vietnam is home. The idea of wellness and the need to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle has grown imperative in more recent years: people have become busier than ever, food choices present uncertainty, there is a prevalent lack of exercise, obesity is on the rise, and the incidence of diabetes, hyper-tension, cancer amongst my Vietnamese friends and colleagues is alarming.
My long-time friend, Tran, and I have had many discussions about our frustrations seeing many Vietnamese having limited access to information and un-empowered to make choices for a healthier life. It was then that the idea of Mandala Wellness was born. Mandala strives to give back to the community and provide knowledge and the opportunity for people to take better control of their lives by being more connected to themselves and to their environment.
My journey started when I was four years old, leaving Vietnam by boat and ending up in Sydney. I was fortunate to have grown up in a multicultural place such as Sydney, Australia, which allowed me to learn about other cultures and appreciate the value of diversity. However, I never lost my sense of being Vietnamese and after hearing many stories from my parents about their lives in Vietnam I was always curious to one day come back and see it for myself.
My next chapter of my journey started in 2000 when I came back to Vietnam. During this period I worked in the corporate world for more than 15 years whilst raising two kids and exploring Vietnam and what it had to offer. Now Vietnam is my family’s home.
I met Rosanne whilst working in my first year in Vietnam through work. We connected and over time, built our friendship through shared experiences from careers to personal development. It was through our pregnancy of our daughters that we grew closer. So naturally when you have a close friend with the same values and the willingness to act on these ideas it can manifest into reality - Mandala Wellness was born.
As returning VietKieu, I’ve been able to reconnect with my culture and wish to be able to give back. I want to help create awareness among the Vietnamese people about how they can make healthy choices that would benefit them, their families and communities.
We see Mandala Wellness’s mission as: to inspire Vietnamese consumers to make better, healthier choices.