Ascend Vietnam Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund empowering tech entrepreneurs in Vietnam to transform people’s lives everywhere positively.

AVV runs SHINE, an incubation program dedicated to supporting women founders of early-stage startups. Through 12 weeks of training & mentorship. The program aims at helping women founders overcome the many uncertainties they might face at the beginning of their startup journey and gain the clarity and confidence they need to move their businesses forward.

The SHINE program offers access to top-notch mentors to produce a Startup Playbook that outlines propositions and strategies for growth, hiring & fundraising. Hau Ly, a partner at Ascend Vietnam Ventures, reached out to me on LinkedIn and offered me to join the mentorship program.


The ten female founders who enrolled in the SHINE program wanted to learn the necessary skills to acquire promising talents in the future. As new founders, they also wanted to define their leadership style to lead and manage their existing employees successfully. Their ambition is to become thought leaders in their respective industries.

  • How to improve leaderships skills

  • How to higher and retain great talents

  • How to create a culture of excellence

The Challenge

Help the founders produce a startup playbook that includes their hiring strategy and attracting and retaining the right talents in a great workplace culture through a series of workshops and multiple one-on-one sessions.


Lectures & Workshop Sessions

Interactive online sessions using Zoom


Individual Coaching Sessions

One-on-One Sessions to reinforce the learning


Great Female Startup Founders

Founders, CEO, and COOs in different growth stages

The Process

I designed three workshops of two hours each combined with two one-on-one sessions with each founder. Our starting point was in the psychology of leadership. My approach was to begin with helping the founders learn more about themselves, gain self-awareness, and identify what they stand for and use this as a base to build their hiring strategy.

I wanted them to turn inwards and articulate what’s important to them as leaders and use their personal philosophy to set the tone for who they want to hire and what environment they want to create for their employees to thrive.

Here are the steps and the topics that we covered during the sessions:

  • Define their core values and what they mean to them

  • Identify their leadership principles based on their core values

  • Use the leadership principles to create an internal mission statement

  • Combine their internal mission statement and leadership principles to create a great workplace culture

  • Outline strategies on how to communicate and brand their startups in a way that reflects their workplace culture

  • Enhance leadership skills and mindset using performance strategies

Learning and Coaching Format

  • Workshops: mix of lectures, interactions, exercises in virtual breakout rooms, peer learning, and QA.

  • Homework exercise with scoring sheets

  • One-on-one individual coaching sessions


The founders were able to learn what it takes to become great leaders. They felt empowered and more confident. The process allowed them to see the steps they need to attract, employ and retain great talents. The ten female founders also understood that they should also focus on themselves. Taking care of their body and mind and emotional intelligence is the key to becoming high performers, create, innovate, and lead by example. Well-being and mental health have great importance in their workplace culture.


As a result of the mentorship and coaching sessions, the ten female founders produced a Startup Playbook that included the following:

  • Professional personal core values list

  • A defined leadership style

  • Guiding personal philosophy

  • Leadership success principles

  • Internal workplace mission statement

  • High-performance and productivity plan

  • Activities and strategies for workplace culture

“The training we got from coach Dris really helped the founders systemize their thinking. He also went above and beyond to make the training highly interactive and give people a safe space to ask questions, even offering additional office hours to the founder for several more weeks after wrapping up his part in our program. A true coach in every sense of the word.”

Hau Ly

Partner at Ascend Vietnam Ventures

Let’s Make Things Happen

leadership training coach dris

Coach Dris

Resilience & Performance Coach

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