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Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Leaders in Laos were different than leaders here. Most when they came lost most of their power. They lost their money, their respect, their jobs and much more. Though most still aren’t as respected as in Laos, they have slowly gained back their leadership.

Leadership in the Hmong community requires any number of things such as knowledge of traditions, an important job in ceremonies, a respectable job outside of the community, a willingness to help others and you usually have to be an elder.

In the Hmong community they usually don’t appoint leaders. It’s not one of those things that people give to you like a higher position at work. The Hmong community just starts thinking about you as someone to go talk to when you need help. Leaders include people with some of these talents: Shamanism, qeej playing, other instruments like flutes and most often speak English as well as Hmong.
–Izzy S.

There are many businesses with important Hmong leaders. For instance, in Lemke Cheese, the head of human resources (the guy who hires and fires people) is Hmong. His name in Chang Yang and ever since he got here, there have been increases in the Hmong workforce. They are lucky. Many of the Hmong are very ambitious, and want to work. Since Chang can speak Hmong and English, he is a very good human resource manager.

And at L. Jay Shoe factory, the manager is Hmong, the accountant is Hmong, all of the workers but a few are Hmong, and their little business is the biggest supplier to the Weinbrenner Shoe Company.