Lana Co lived in Vietnam until she was twenty-one, in April 1996 she and her family left Vietnam to move to the United States. Her father’s family was living in the United States, and they wanted to join them. They used the Orderly Departure Program, ODP, which allowed them to leave and come to the US, however it was a strenuous program because it ended up becoming a ten-year process to leave Vietnam. Finally, they were all able to leave and join Co’s aunt in Portland Or. Since being in Portland Co has counted her education, held numerous jobs, and has become an important leader of the Vietnamese community. She attended both Mount Hood Community College and Portland State University, where she got degrees in Hospitality and tourism, logistic management, and international business. She has worked for the State in the Employment department, for the past five years. She was also the first woman and youngest President of VNCO and served from 2014 to 2016.

In this interview, Co discusses establishing herself in Portland, and how she remained connected to the Vietnamese community in Portland and in Vietnam. She begins her interview by describing her first experiences in Portland such as living in the Hollywood district and working for a swimsuit company. She also explains the linguistic and cultural adjustments that both she and her family went through when they first arrived in the United States. She then goes on to recount her educational and professional careers in Portland. She ends her interview by discussing how she was encouraged by her mom in 2009 to become more involved in the Vietnamese community in Portland. When she became involved she realized that no one was working to bridge the generational gap. Which is something she worked to do in her time as president of VNCO. She also talks about how becoming engaged with her community here has helped her understand the history of her home in Vietnam. She and her fellow community members try to stay active about political events in Vietnam.