Managing Director, Axcela Corporation
Chris Albright and his partners founded Axcela in 2008. The company provides corporate English training to businesses in the technology and software consulting businesses, hospitality, energy, and other industries where clear and concise communication in English is essential to building corporate value. Axcela’s clients are some of the most highly regarded corporations in Vietnam.
In February of 2015, Axcela opened its first language center for the general public in the Phan Xich Long area of Phu Nhuan District. The school’s students range in age from 25 -70 years old, with most students in the 30 – 55 year age range. Mature adults have a different way of learning languages than kids, and also have different objectives. Axcela excels at teaching English to our adult students.
Prior to founding Axcela in 2008, Chris was a Director at Navigos Group, the holding company for VietnamWorks, where he ran the training services business unit for 3 years. Prior to that, he was Corporate New Business Manager for Apollo English Language School, for the whole of Vietnam for 2½ years.
Before moving to Vietnam, Chris spent his career in the banking and finance industry. After graduating from the Wharton School with an MBA in Finance, Chris worked at First Interstate Bancorp in Los Angeles, and then at U.K – based Kleinwort Bensen, two firms that were instrumental in the creation of the financial derivatives market. Chris left the derivatives trading business in 1995, and spent 8 years in the investment management business, first at the Union Bank of Switzerland, then went to The Northern Trust Company in Los Angeles. In 2003, he moved to Vietnam in pursuit of a career in education.
In addition to being Managing Director at Axcela, Chris serves on the team that manages Loyola University Chicago’s activities in Vietnam. Chris serves as Coordinator for Loyola’s Vietnam Study Abroad program, in which 20 or 25 undergraduates from various U.S. universities spend a semester in Vietnam, studying the culture, history, literature, and language of Vietnam.
Chris attended Stanford University, where he graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.
Vision for AmCham
My vision for AmCham will continue to focus on two themes, Inclusion and Education.
Inclusion – I would like to be a leader in the continuing effort by AmCham to bring more members of the Vietnamese business community into AmCham, members who become active and view AmCham as a practical benefit to both their professional and personal lives. I want to encourage cross cultural connectedness between the Vietnamese members/prospective members, and AmCham’s American and other western contingents. The cultural divide still remains too wide, and I want it to narrow. Vietnamese business people need Americans who are not only trusted business partners, but trusted friends. And vice versa. Events planned to facilitate the creation of personal and commercial relationships across the cultures, if effective, would be invaluable, and a good starting point.
Education – Education is my field, both at Axcela and Loyola University Chicago. Everyone knows that the most effective agent of lasting positive change in any society is education, both liberal arts as well as more practical job-focused education. I believe that given the reality of education policy in Vietnam, the focus at AmCham needs to be on vocational and professional education, and building links between industry (AmCham and other Cham companies) and Vietnamese vocational and professional schools.
Specifically, I want to create corporate programs offering paid internships to seniors and new graduates, which, like the AmCham Scholarship Program, will help make the job market in Vietnam more efficient. One such initiative is currently in progress involving the U.S. Consulate, a group of Vietnamese alumni/ae from U.S. universities, and the Education Committee.
I also want to continue to work to grow the AmCham Scholarship Program, and the programs affiliated with HEEAP, the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program, and various scholarships and programs aimed at raising the presence of Vietnamese women in engineering and the technical fields.
Finally, Loyola University Chicago, where I am part of the Vietnam management team, has been involved in the planning for the Fulbright University in Vietnam. Together with Loyola’s continuing work on launching a two-year Loyola University program in Vietnam, with credits transferring to Loyola Chicago and other U.S. universities, I look forward to continuing to be active in broadening and strengthening the ties between American higher education and the people of Vietnam.