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News | May 15, 2024

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Advancing Leaders Through Innovation with Cuong “Kong” Chau

By DCAA Staff Writer

Cuong “Kong” Chau is a Field Audit Office Manager whose journey is deeply influenced by his heritage and family. This encompasses his father’s military service, his uncle’s remarkable selection to come to the US during the height of the Vietnam War for his globally recognized academic excellence, his siblings’ promotion for resourcefulness and collaboration, and his mother’s passion for knowledge. Kong’s father came to the US in the 1960s for school, and his mother encouraged reading and growth. With that encouragement, Kong has an MBA and MS Taxation double Masters and continues to read and learn about leadership, team building, and other subjects to help him become a better leader.

Building on his family’s values, Kong’s exposure to diverse cultures and challenging environments has further shaped who he is today. With a passion for travel and an appreciation for the similarities and differences amongst countries, flexibility and adaptability became other crucial values that Kong incorporates into his leadership. “I like seeing those cultural differences and interactions. My Asian culture emphasizes hard work that guides me to where I am. I like seeing the people from other cultures interact and find the good and happiness in the world.”

Alongside a passion for travel, Kong worked in Iraq and Afghanistan during a time where he was uncertain about his career. During his tour, he worked with contractors that provided logistics support and helped ensure military service members received proper equipment so they can safely return home. Since then, Kong continues to work for DCAA and support the DoD, “my experience helped me realize what I wanted to do in life. I truly understand and experienced the meaning of our work and the impact it has on each family.”

In a previous Eastern Region office, Kong encountered a high turnover rate that prompted him to act and improve the workplace culture. After observing, he realized the office needed a role model and positive leader. He implemented various initiatives including team-building activities and quarterly newsletters that focused on support and appreciation to the team. Kong shares a particularly impactful initiative, “I implemented an appreciation program where supervisors nominate their team’s best audit packet. After that, newer auditors vote on the best package. While reviewing the audits, they learn about working with contractors and familiarize themselves with the overall structure and composition of the audit. After the winners were decided, I would award the team and lead auditors for their work with a trophy. This initiative promoted learning, recognition, and innovative collaboration in the office.”

Kong’s dedication to supporting leadership development extends beyond audit work. As a mentor and coach, he provides guidance, help with resumes, and interview practice to help his team members excel and advance their careers. His commitment to nurturing future leaders reflects his belief in the importance of planting seeds of opportunity and facilitating lasting growth.