Kim is one of the most genuine and considerate people I know. She reliably enters zoom calls with flair, asks careful questions, and holds compassion for so many people in her heart daily. She thrives on context, and gracefully honors the complexity of the human experience — both individually and globally. Her work through GaneshSpace is necessary and unique, and I’m so excited for you to know her.
What are you most excited about for this year?
I’m most excited about our GroupSpaces program. It’s a 6-week immersive program that is designed specifically to provide you with a space to be seen and heard, tools to embark on your healing journey, and a community that is for systemic change. We’ll be diving deep looking at our identities, power and privilege and how we can look at the world as interconnected and honor our intersectionalities.
How do you define leadership?
I was in corporate for 10+ years, rising through the ranks, managing and leading a lot of team members and also working under a lot of different managers. The managers I remember the most are the ones that were leaders — the ones who saw past just a regular assignment and bottom line, but could see the humanity in a project or even a budget and not get stuck in the weeds. Not everyone has the capacity to both see through the forest while still being present with the trees and that to me is what outstanding leadership is — trusting, letting go and compassionately steering folks in the right direction when needed.
Do you currently employ a team? If so, what are their roles?
At GaneshSpace, we have a founding team. These are my collaborators and fellow teachers who have had the lived experience of being marginalized and doing the deep work to heal so we can show up more compassionately and equitably for everyone in the world.
What’s one (yes, just one) thing you’re really good at?
Being playful. I love bringing levity to a situation, especially in the work we are doing we sometimes need lightness to balance out the dark.
What 3 words describe your personal style?
Trying not trying.
What are your favorite clothing brands?
I just kinda buy whatever feels good for my body! I take a Bruce Springsteen approach and try not to focus on labels!
Where did you grow up?
Houston, Texas — like Beyonce, not sure if you’ve heard of her? #Htownvicious baby!
How do you recharge?
I try to recharge and reset everyday. I love going out and taking long walks in nature, floating on the water, lying on the grass, listening to insects and birds, reading, sleeping and watching the Property Brothers remodel homes. And TBH, part of the practice of recharging is me doing a whole lot of nothing — it’s actually called aimlessness in Buddhist tradition and it is a practice of doing exactly what the name reflects, a lot of nothing!
Do you have any morning or evening rituals?
I have a morning mindfulness practice that consists of a 5-10 min sit with my partner and where we pull cards to start our day with a little dose of magic. I try my best to not schedule back-to-back meetings so I can have some breath during the week even if it’s a full work day.
No evening rituals really — other than the fact that I really practice being present at dinner with the person I’m eating with. That includes listening to jazz typically and turning off all devices.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Spend quality time with my partner, my cats, and friends (when it’s COVID safe).
What’s in your 10-year vision?
I’m really working to create a simpler life for myself. I run multiple businesses and am trying to strike a balance between making sure I’m supporting myself financially and living comfortably while not being at the behest of capitalism and the desires that are attached to it at the same time.
Who do you look up to?
My mom; she is a powerhouse. The definition of someone who is a super human — a survivor and also somehow still laughs and is silly every day, all at 5 feet tall.
What’s your go-to morning beverage?
If I’m feeling fancy and want to walk to the coffee shop, I usually get a double cortado. Yes, that’s four shots of espresso. If I’m home, then it’s typically me grinding my kona beans and making a pot of black coffee.
How do you like to express your creativity?
I’m a writer. I always have been and always will be. Words are the vehicle in which I express myself and also in which I want people to understand what I am trying to say.
Where do you like to go to find inspiration?
I am constantly astounded by nature. Mother Nature truly encompasses resilience and beauty and darkness, all the things we humans also experience. It’s my personal mission to try to experience them with as much grace as she does.
What personal boundary do you always make sure gets honored?
Right now, it’s my time. Especially during COVID it’s so easy to get sucked up in the calendar of things, to be chained to your desk, to look up and realize all you’ve done all day is type. As I get older (and hopefully wiser), my intention is work to live and not live to work. I am tired of squeezing in life into my work and am creating a boundary for myself and with others where I am prioritizing living and being present above all else.
Kim Thai (she/her) is an Emmy-award-winning producer, writer, activist and mindfulness teacher. She is the founder of GaneshSpace, a community organization dedicated to creating personal and collective change through the practice of everyday mindfulness. As a queer Asian woman and a proud kid of Vietnamese refugees, she shares Buddhist teachings to help people find the freedom and power that lives within themselves.