Alistair Thornton is Co-Founder of YCW. Originally from London, he was based in Beijing 2008-2013, where he worked in economic research. He has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013.  He works in product strategy at Facebook.

Raffaello Pantucci is Co-Founder of YCW. Based in London, he is a Director of International Security Studies at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), where he focuses on counter-terrorism and China’s relations with its western neighbours. His work can be found at

Sue Anne Tay is Global Director of YCW. Based in London, she is Director for China and RMB Internationalisation at HSBC, where she designs and implements the bank’s global strategy for RMBI business, and drives a range of China outbound initiatives. She also created Shanghai Street Stories, a documentary platform on the city’s heritage architecture and urbanization trends.

Lea Yu is Director of Digital Operations of YCW. She is based in San Francisco and works in Product Operations at Facebook. She previously worked as a journalist and private equity analyst in Beijing.

Karsten Luc is Head of Social Media of YCW. At Think Asia Group, he consults on digital developments and data analysis in Southeast Asia. As Chief Digital Officer at AKRYL, Luc manages digital projects for private sector clients and government institutions. He is a former visiting academic fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), and completed his Magister Artium at Free University of Berlin and Technical University of Berlin.

Karen Schuster is Director of Social Media, Asia, of YCW. She is based in Singapore, and currently works at Unruly, a News Corp company, on the insight and data team.

Julia Voo is Global Head of Mentorship Programme of YCW, overseeing YCW’s mentorship initiatives across the chapters. She was the Head of Business Environment Strategy in the Trade Policy team at the British Embassy. Julia moved to Beijing in 2011 and previously worked at the Delegation of the European Union to China and the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy.

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Kevin Kerrigan is Co-Head of YCW Beijing and leads the YCW-Carnegie Tsinghua Mentorship Programme. He is a strategic Risk and Media Affairs Research Consultant for China-i, specialised in advising Chinese organisations on “going-out” and Belt and Road strategies. He previously worked for the UK Permanent Representation to the EU on a host of issues, including EU-China relations. He has a Masters in International Relations from the LSE.

Anna Brachtendorf is Co-Head of YCW Beijing. As a Project Manager at Friedrich Ebert Foundation she specialises in social security, labour relations and gender equality. Before moving to Beijing in 2017, she studied Political Science and International Relations in Shanghai, Paris and Nanjing and holds two M.A.s from the Universities of Konstanz and Warwick.

Adam CR Schmelzer is Director of YCW Beijing Operations and a Beijing-based associate with TransAsia Lawyers. Prior to legal study, he obtained a master’s in international trade in conjunction with Tsinghua University and worked with the US-China Business Council in Beijing. He returned to China in 2016 after time in Boston and Washington, D.C.

Rosie Levine is Director of YCW Beijing. Rosie grew up between Beijing and Boston, and upon returning to China in 2014, has worked extensively in the cultural heritage sector in Beijing. She is the Program Director at the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) and completing her Masters in History & Archeology at the Yenching Academy at Peking University.

Thena Lee (Jianya Li) is Director of YCW Beijing. She is the Senior Government Relations and Partnership Coordinator at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. Prior to joining Carnegie, Lee served a project manager on the Tianjin Airport Economic Area Administrative Committee. She has also worked at different foreign policy think tanks in Washington DC. Lee received an MA. in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from George Washington University and a LL.B. in International Politics from Central China Normal University.

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Nihal Kutlu is Head of YCW Shanghai. She is a PhD student in International Politics at Fudan University, Shanghai. Prior to that, she lived in Beijing for two years and received an MA in Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy from Tsinghua University.

Rose Martin is Director of YCW Shanghai. She is a Sustainability Consultant for CR, where she helps multinationals develop their environmental and social sustainability strategies in China. She studied Chinese Studies at the University of Edinburgh and Chinese Translation at SOAS. Before moving to Shanghai, she lived in Gansu, Nanjing and Beijing.

Nathan Lawes is Director of YCW Shanghai. He is an Industrial Internet of Things consultant at IoT ONE, having previously moved to Beijing to work for an initiative of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders. He studied International Relations at the University of Exeter and the University of Hong Kong.

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Natasha Khan is Head of YCW Hong Kong. She is a journalist with The Wall Street Journal. She previously spent six years reporting for Bloomberg News, where she was named a finalist for a Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 2015 for stories on cancer and bankruptcy in China. She was also part of the Bloomberg team that produced the George Polk award-winning investigation in 2012 that revealed the hidden wealth of China’s ruling elite. Natasha holds degrees in law and business administration from the University of Hong Kong.

Chi-Jia Tschang is Co-Head of YCW Hong Kong. She is involved in regional risk analysis and crisis management functions at Goldman Sachs.

Jens Schott Knudsen is the in-house counsel for Zuru Toys. He has served as a lecturer at several law schools in China including Tsinghua University where he taught American contract law and civil procedure. He is also a photographer; his work can be found at

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James Tunningley is the Head of the Young China Watchers in London. He is the Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary at the UK Government’s Department for International Trade. He is on the Young Leaders Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Pacific Forum, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Belt and Road Initiative, Centre for China and Globalisation in Beijing. He previously held positions at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), China-Britain Business Council and Emerging Strategy in Shanghai. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford.

Bin (William) Xu is Director of YCW London. He works as a strategy and investment advisor in the Life Sciences and Technology space across Europe and Asia. Having previously held positions in M&A Advisory and Equity Research, William is increasingly focusing his effort on fund-raising and ensuring commercial success for earlier-stage, fast-growing ventures. He holds an MBA from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and an MSc from Imperial College London.

Julia Chen is Director of YCW London. She currently works for the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Previously, she studied Mandarin at Fudan University, Shanghai, and worked for the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCCE), an environmental NGO. She holds a BA from the University of Oxford.

June Sun is the Director of the YCW London Mentorship Programme.She works as an international development consultant at Vera Solutions. She has previously worked on China-UK relations for the British Government. She holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and an MPhil from the University of Oxford.

Michael Yip is Director of Partnerships for YCW London. He advises the British Government’s export credits department on the financing of international trade. He also organises the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime. Previously, he was awarded Fellowships by the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Commonwealth Society for his 2015 voter turnout campaigns in the British Chinese community. He holds a BA from the University of Warwick and has also completed the academic stage of legal training in England and Wales.

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Victoria Lai is Head of YCW New York. She is an analytical lead for Google. Previously, she was an economist and editor for the Economist Intelligence Unit’s China service. She was based in Beijing between 2008-11.

Grace Hsieh is Director of YCW New York. She is the Founder of Graceful Brand Stewards, a company that manages marketing programs for global brands on Chinese digital and social media. Her background includes roles in global brand strategy and management at Landor, mcgarrybowen, Hill & Knowlton, and Marc Jacobs. Grace is also the former President of the Yale Club of Beijing.

Michael Laha is Director of YCW New York. He is a U.S.-China Dialogue Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and holds a M.A. in East Asian Languages and Culture from Columbia University and a B.S. from Tufts University.

Charlie Patterson is Director of Membership for YCW New York. He was a Fulbright fellow studying urbanization and aging in Xi’an between 2014 and 2015. He works as a consumer insights strategist at VaynerMedia.


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Fred Tsai is Head of YCW San Francisco and launched YCW SF in 2015. He is Senior Director of Strategy at Previously, Fred was based out of China for nearly a decade where he served in a number of senior roles at Dell, including as Director of China Strategy. He began his career in investment banking at Deutsche Bank in San Francisco. Fred is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Angela Stanzel is Co-Head of YCW Berlin. She is Policy Fellow in the Asia & China programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Prior to that, she finished her PhD on China-Pakistan relations and has worked for the International Affairs Office of the Koerber Foundation in Berlin, for the German Marshall Fund in Brussels and for the German Embassy in Beijing.

Mareike Ohlberg is Co-Head of YCW Berlin. He is a research associate at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in the Research Area Politics, Society, and Media. Prior to joining MERICS, she held postdoctoral appointments at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University and at the Cheng Shewo Institute for Chinese Journalism in Taipei.

Ferdinand Schaff is Director of YCW Berlin. He is senior manager for China at the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA). He started working on China at the APA in 2015 after an internship at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). Ferdinand studied China studies and economics in Cologne, Beijing and London.

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Ai Ghee Ong is Head of YCW Singapore. She is an alumna of the Johns Hopkins SAIS and Hopkins-Nanjing Center. She was previously with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat in Singapore. She is working for her family business and is concurrently co-founding a tech start-up. In her spare time, she paints portraits of political leaders here.

Peidong Yang is Director of Partnerships, YCW Singapore. He is a sociologist based at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. Originally from China, and educated in Singapore and the UK, Peidong is interested in social, cultural and political issues in contemporary Singaporean and Chinese contexts. He is the author of International Mobility and Educational Desire: Chinese Foreign Talent Students in Singapore (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Weng Hong Chan is Director of Operations, YCW Singapore. He is a graduate from the Singapore Management University (SMU). He is currently working in dispute resolution at an advocacy organisation. He loves history and is a keen follower of security and economic developments around Asia Pacific.

Jiaxin Lu is Director of Membership, YCW Singapore. She is currently working as an economist at Continuum Economics. Originally from China, Jiaxin was educated in Singapore and the UK. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from The London School of Economics and Political Science. Jiaxin has previously worked as a teaching assistant at LSE Confucius Institute for Business London.

Pearlyn Chiang is Director of YCW Singapore. She is an investment professional and an entrepreneur. An alumnus of New York University and University of Pennsylvania, she has lived and worked in multiple countries and is a keen follower of political, business and economic development issues in the Asia Pacific and the US, as well as science and technology developments. In her spare time, she organises professional development talks for the CFA Singapore Society and conducts professional level classes for various corporates and industry bodies.

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Chiara Zannini is Co-Head of YCW Brussels. She works at Polint, a UK-based EU Consultancy operating in Brussels, specialised in EU Public Affairs and EU-Asia Relations. She is also Associate at the European Institute for Asian Studies. She holds degrees from Bologna University and SOAS, University of London in Chinese studies and Chinese Politics.

Jessica Mitchell is Co-Head of YCW Brussels. She is an innovation systems Policy Analyst for the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. Prior to this she was the Science & Innovation Attache at the EU Delegation to China in Beijing.

Lei Zhang is the Director of  Membership, YCW Brussels. She is a lecturer and researcher in law at Free University of Brussels (VUB). Prior to this, she was a journalist and director with the China Central Television Station in Beijing and a legal consultant with law firms in Belgium.

Marta Irene Garda is Director of Operations, YCW Brussels. She works in Trade Defence in the Directorate for Trade at the European Commission. She has studying and working experience in China and holds degrees from Venice and Milan Universities in Chinese studies and International Relations.

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Will Heidlage is the Head of YCW DC. He is a Research Director with BowerGroupAsia, an international government relations consultancy. He has lived in Beijing, Hangzhou and Nanjing and received an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Andrew Coflan is Director of YCW DC. He works as an analyst specializing in the Chinese economy and financial system. He is an alumni of the Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies program and of Teach for China.

Katie Lebling is a Director of YCW DC. She is a Research Analyst at the World Resources Institute where she works on international climate policy. She has previously lived and studied in Beijing and Nanjing and has an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Rachael Burton is a Director of YCW DC. She is a Deputy-Director at Project 2049 Institute and received her BA from George Washington University.

Marcus Chiu is Director of YCW DC. He completed a joint master’s degree in international affairs at the London School of Economics and Peking University, and currently works at Gartner in Washington, DC. Prior to this, he briefly worked at the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

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