Spotlight: Catherine Nguyen
“My goal was never to only make money. It was to bring dance music to another level.”
Catherine Nguyen, Executive Director of Entertainment and Marketing at Beta Nightclub, has always loved electronic dance. Despite growing up in a Catholic home and attending the all-girls St. Mary’s Academy in Cherry Hills, she knew her future career would not be a traditional one.
Instead of medical school, her interest was in business. She acknowledged the entrepreneurial spirit of Asian immigrants who opened businesses for survival, including her Vietnamese parents who have been in the restaurant industry. She received a full-ride scholarship to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder’s business school where she graduated in marketing and with an Entrepreneurship Certificate.
While at CU-Boulder, she dated boyfriend and now husband, John Le. Known as DJ Dragon, Le was also into music and would go on to form Triad Dragons, a music event production company, in the late 90’s with two of his colleagues.
Nguyen recalls the hard work in the early stages of Triad Dragons, putting flyers on cars to promote DJs and parties. The company now produces the largest electronic music festivals including Global Dance Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival.
In 2007, Nguyen was working with Brad Roulier marketing events at The Church and Vinyl. When the opportunity came for Roulier to buy Rise Nightclub located on 19th Street and Blake in downtown Denver, he knew he wanted Nguyen on board. Roulier changed the name to Beta and reopened in March of 2008.
They embarked on a $3 million project to renovate and redesign the space, installing a Function 1 system, one of the highest quality sound systems and utilizing acoustic paneling, used jeans and ‘green’ paint.
“Club Culture Evolving,” the club’s slogan, implies Beta’s ability to evolve in order to remain competitive.
“We are not competing against just those in our industry,” Nguyen said. “We will be second to none. We don’t care if that means competing against Wal-Mart. We aim to have top of the line service.”
Beta’s goal is to be the #1 nightclub. Currently, the club is recognized as #14 in the world and voted #1 Best Dance Club in North America by Denver media.
“We have a good relationship with the police and our neighbors,” she said. “We want to clean up the scene so people don’t just associate dance music with drugs.”
“Drugs are everywhere but we have to go above and beyond to change those perceptions.”
Nguyen said that although parents correlate money with success that does not mean you will not make money in something you love. The advice that shaped her is that your parents are always going to love you.
“I’ve carried this in my heart so I just do what I love. If I’m really good at what I do, the money will come.”
Nguyen feels a sense of responsibility to young girls—and guys—to be a role model that exhibits you can do what you love despite what is expected of you.
In her free time, she loves to travel with husband. And what is on her iPod? Everything, including U2 and Adele. In fact, her dog’s name is Bono.
Lastly, she said, “I want to put Denver on the map in the world. We have something special here.”
“It’s exciting to see people embrace this culture.”