Jake Jacobson, Colby Jones, Sloane Simmons and Casey Simmons mingle at the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon.

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The Folly Theater introduces new board member

The Newest Member of the Folly Board of Directors

From Southern Vietnam to California through Texas and North Carolina, Hoang-Anh Tran has transplanted herself from education to finance and the Folly Theater Board!

We invite you to learn more about the newest member of the Folly Family

Hoang-Anh was born in Southern Vietnam but raised in California. As we shared above, she’s a bit of a geographical hybrid! From California, Hoang-Anh studied in Dallas, TX and Wilmington, NC before moving back to California to work in Berkley. From Berkley Hoang-Anh and her spouse, from St. Louis, MO, moved to our beautiful city!

Hoang-Anh took a minute to share some of her varied work histories with us.

Hoang-Anh spent a majority of her time in the academic world. She shared that an interesting fact about her is that she actually has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, specializing in poetry and creative non-fiction.

“Prior to my foray into the financial services industry, I was very blessed to have had the opportunity to work in a variety of educational settings, from theological education at an Episcopal Seminary in Berkeley, CA, to legal education at Wash U Law in St. Louis, and then higher education at a Division I university, Syracuse University. Each teaching institution has taught me the value of the trifecta of teaching, research, and service. That is, regardless of role and position in life, we are called to continuously learn, develop, and give back to the communities that have shaped our sense of identity.” Tran shared.

Currently, Hoang-Anh works at UMB Financial Corporation in the Human Resources division. She shared that their focus is on attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent to better serve UMB’s customers and clients in a variety of ways.

Some people have asked about my departure from academia and wondered why I chose to join a bank and/or a corporate setting. For me, it is not about a departure per se, and more like a life-changing exploration to shore up on what it means to be in the people industry, to focus on helping people achieve their highest potential.


Hoang-Anh shared that “Regardless of the institution and the industry, whether academia or finances, my goal remains the same: to help influence and enhance the communities where I work and live and to support and elevate the people whom we serve. No matter which organization I partner with and commit to, I focus on bringing a broader awareness of diversity & inclusion, strategic direction, and relational development and management. The relational aspects of my work over the years keep me buoyed and energize me into innovative collaboration; I strive to make a difference through my actions, amongst a group of like-minded peers, and try to follow through with my commitments because as the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho observed, “[t]he world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.””

Why The Folly Theater?

Tran started by sharing her history of Syracuse, NY and her husband from St. Louis and their experience of the almost boutique-style charm that Kansas City exhibited. She shared that she doesn’t need the grandeur of Paris, France. She’s excited by what Kansas City is doing with its historical buildings and burgeoning populations of diverse peoples and businesses.

It’s because of her dedication to developing people and cultures and her surroundings that she found a sameness in the Folly Theater. She shares that “I believe that what is being provided by the Folly Theater is immensely critical to maintaining the vitality of our city, by expanding our experiences and appreciating what history teaches us about our human-ness. We are committed as Kansas Citians to preserving our histories in variegated ways, and I am honored to be able to serve on the Board of the Folly Theater to help preserve Our Lady. As one of the newest members of our board, I look forward to partnering with fellow Board members to explore how to deliver on programming and sustain The Folly in all her regal glory.”

Check out the full Interview!

Hoang-Anh Tran shared so much with us that we couldn’t fit it all into a blog post. SO we’ve included a link below that will take you to her full responses where she shares her passions and quotes great minds, like James Baldwin, in her passion for education and change.
Full Interview PDF