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. He is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore. His work can be found at

Sue Anne Tay is Global Director of YCW. She is the Head of Strategy & Planning for HSBC in Singapore and previously Director for China and RMB Internationalisation for HSBC Group in London. She is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Sue Anne had created Shanghai Street Stories, a visual documentary of city’s heritage architecture and urbanization trends.

Lea Yu is Director of Digital Operations of YCW. She is based in San Francisco and is a product manager 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.

Anna Brachtendorf is Global Head of Mentorship Programme of YCW, overseeing YCW’s mentorship initiatives across the chapters.  She is also 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.


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.

Thena Lee (Jianya Li) is Co-head of YCW Beijing. She is the Deputy Communications Director 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.

Adrian Aldana is a Director of YCW Beijing. Living in Beijing since 2017, he currently works as the Program and Outreach Coordinator for the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. He received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago and is now pursuing his MBA with the Quantic School of Business and Technology.

Saeger Godson is a recent graduate of Tsinghua University’s School or Public Policy and Management where he mastered in sustainable development. Since then, he has been studying Mandarin fill time at Tsinghua University in the hopes of achieving fluency. Saeger first got involved with YCW through the mentorship program and is very passionate about engaging Beijing’s student population.

Yunxin Fan currently works as a journalist and researcher in Beijing. Previously, she has worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) as a consultant. She obtained her master’s degree in statistics from Harvard and her bachelor’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. Before moving to Beijing in 2018, she has lived in Boston, Atlanta, and the Bay Area.

Lucas Tcheyan is a research analyst at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing. He writes on Chinese foreign policy issues, including Asia-Pacific secuirty developments, U.S.-China relations, nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula, and China’s development policy. Prior to joining Carnegie, he was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs based in New York City.

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Sam Silverman is Head of YCW Shanghai. He is a product manager at General Motors for infotainment and connected vehicles. He is most interested in the future of joint venture companies in China and how they will adapt against competitive Chinese companies. Sam studied Chinese Language and Literature at Hamilton College with concentrations in Chinese Politics and International Relations.

Stephanie Sam is Director of YCW Shanghai. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Birmingham, and a master‘s degree in Political Science from Shanghai Jiaotong University. Stephanie previously worked at the British Embassy Beijing in the immigration department and is currently the Head of Placements at CRCC Asia, a global internship provider.

Marthijn Voerman is Director of YCW Shanghai. He is General Manager China at Unilac Holland, a Dutch dairy company. His main fields of interest are doing business in/with China, history, and international relations. Marthijn graduated with a master’s degree in International Business & Management from the University of Groningen.

Chloe Kamps is Director of YCW Shanghai. She is the Alliance Manager for Viva BioInnovator, a Chinese biotech VC where she creates outreach partnerships and searches for new therapeutic innovations. She is also a co-founder of the Sipping Science Society and a board member for the Rotaract Clubof Shanghai. Chloe received her Bachelors and Masters from Florida State University, where she concentrated on Economics and International Affairs.

Rilly Chen is Director of YCW Shanghai. She has worked across China, Southeast Asia and the UK, building on her passion in the digital and ecommerce space. She is currently working on Ant’s overseas investment portfolio after joining the company on Alibaba’s global talent leadership program. Rilly read History at the University of Oxford and welcomes coffee chats on the topics of Chinese companies globalizing.

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

Laura Ann is Director of YCW Hong Kong. She is a business analyst at the Risk Advisory Group, where she leads pre-investment due diligence and market entry studies on the Asia-Pacific region. She holds a masters in Social Policy from the London School of Economics, and a bachelors in International Relations from Tufts University.

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Michael Yip FRSA is Co-Head of YCW London. He is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, where he researches how legal systems are shaping and being shaped by the Belt and Road Initiative. Michael is also a Research Associate in the China, Law and Development programme at the University of Oxford. Previously, he was a British civil servant, covering portfolios relating to international trade, infrastructure and finance during Brexit and COVID-19. Michael has a background in international affairs (BA, Warwick) and English commercial law.

Sarah Montgomery is Co-Head of YCW London. Sarah works at Everledger, executing the technology company’s expansion into China. Through studying and working in China, Sarah has developed a deep interest in the intersection of China, sustainability and technology which she is pursuing through her work at Everledger, which uses blockchain, AI and IoT to build more trust and transparency in global supply chains. Sarah studied Chinese, History of Art and Business at Durham University. She has obtained HSK Level 6, previously studied at Peking University and as a Huayu Enrichment Scholar at National Taiwan University.

Di Fu is Director of YCW London. She also is an Investment Executive at CDC Group, UK’s development finance institution. She focuses on investing in private equity and venture capital funds across South Asia and Africa to build private markets and generate positive long-term socio-economic impact. Prior to CDC, she was a macroeconomic research analyst covering Latin America at Credit Suisse. Originally from Shanghai, Di has lived and worked in New York City, Dakar, Paris, and London while traveled extensively across Latin America, South Asia, and Africa. She has obtained her M.A. in International Development from Sciences Po, Paris and her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics with minors in Economics and Hispanic Studies from Columbia University.

Ankur Shah is Director of YCW London. He studied Chinese and Russian at the University of Edinburgh, before working for the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme in Paris and on the Russia desk of a political risk consultancy in London. Ankur is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and a former National Geographic Young Explorer. He has written for The Economist, Foreign Policy, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and others.

Cameron Hunter is Director of YCW London. He currently works at the Great Britain China Centre (GBCC) managing high-level political dialogues between the UK and China. This complements his role as coordinator of the All Party Parliamentary China Group (APPCG). Prior to this, Cameron spent three years as a global mobility adviser at the University of Sydney and two years as a board director for United Nations Youth Australia. He has a BA (Lang) in Chinese Studies from the University of Sydney and master’s degrees from Renmin University of China and King’s College London.

Rose Martin is the Director of the YCW London Mentorship Programme. She is a Senior Consultant at Impactt Limited, an ethical trade and supply chain consultancy. She works with brands, investors, and sourcing teams across the garment, food, and construction sectors to manage risk and drive improvements in their global supply chains. Rose studied Chinese at the University of Edinburgh and Chinese Translation at SOAS. Before moving to London in 2018, she lived and worked in Shanghai, Gansu, Nanjing and Beijing.

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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 Program Officer 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.

Rosie Levine is Director of YCW New York. Rosie grew up between Beijing and Boston, and from 2014-2018 worked in the cultural heritage sector in Beijing. She holds an M.A. in History & Archeology from the Yenching Academy at Peking University. She works at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Charlie Patterson is Director of Membership for YCW New York. He works as a data engineer at Myers Holum, a Google Cloud consulting partner. Between 2014 and 2015, he conducted research on rural-urban elder migration in Xi’an and Nanjing via a Fulbright fellowship.

Jace Gilmore is Director of Mentorship for YCW New York. He is an executive for Brunswick Group, a corporate strategy firm. Previously, he was in China from 2015–2018 and was the content manager for the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. He holds an M.A. in Global Studies from Missouri State University and a post-graduate certificate from the US Naval Postgraduate School.


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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.



Mareike Ohlberg is Head of YCW Berlin. She 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.

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. Pearlyn sits on the Society Engagement Committee of the CFA Asia Pacific Research Exchange and is a member of the Gerson Lehrman Group Expert Network. In her spare time, she organises professional development talks for the CFA Singapore Society, conducts professional level classes for various corporates, universities and industry bodies and is an active participant in the Hwa Chong Alumni.

Wataru Kawai joined YCW Singapore team in late 2019 having been an avid attendee of YCW events for many years. He strives to maintain his deep interest in Chinese politics and international relations which he attained while studying at SOAS, University of London, and Tsinghua University. In his day job as a lawyer at Hogan Lovells, he specialises in corporate investigations and dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific region.

Geoffrey Lien Zhou Han joined YCW Singapore team in 2019, and he works as a consultant with Accenture, a professional services firm. He holds a master’s degree in international business from the University of Warwick and a bachelor’s degree in business and management from the University of London.

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Chiara Zannini is Co-Head of YCW Brussels. She works at Europtimum Conseil, a EU Public Affairs Consultancy operating in Brussels, where she specialises in EU politics and EU-Asia Relations. She holds degrees from Bologna University and SOAS, University of London, in Chinese studies and Chinese politics.

Grzegorz Stec works as EU-China Analyst at the Brussels office of the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). He is an alumni of the University of Oxford, Peking University (Yenching Academy), and Jagiellonian University in Kraków, where he studied international relations, anthropology, and China studies.

Alessandra Capriglia works for the China IP SME Helpdesk, coordinating activities to inform European SMEs on IP protection when doing business in China. Previously, she was based in Beijing and worked for Innoway, a Chinese SOE in Zhongguancun Science Park, where she contributed to the execution of international startup acceleration projects, and managed international cooperation on startup support. Alessandra holds a BA degree in Chinese-English intercultural mediation (La Sapienza University of Rome) and a double MA degree in China and International Relations (Aalborg University and University of International Relations in Beijing).



Will Heidlage is the Head of YCW DC. He is a 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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