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.



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.

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Stephanie Sam  is Head of Chapter 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 currently works as the Communications and Business Manager at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China in the Government Affairs department, where she covers advocacy for Energy, Environment and Petrochemicals with EU delegations and Chinese governmental bodies. Stephanie previously worked at the British Embassy Beijing in the immigration department.

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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Leadership team to be announced.

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Michael Yip FRSA is Co-Head of YCW London. He is also a Research Cluster Lead at the University of Oxford, where he researches banking agreements between China and overseas governments. Previously, Michael was a British civil servant, covering portfolios relating to international trade, infrastructure and finance during Brexit and Covid-19. Michael also worked at the World Bank and was a Yenching Scholar.

Cameron Hunter is Co-Head of YCW London. He currently works at the Department for International Trade, having previously worked on UK-China engagement at the Great Britain China Centre and the All Party Parliamentary China Group. Prior to this, Cameron was a global mobility adviser at the University of Sydney and a board director for United Nations Youth Australia. He studied Chinese and Politics at the University of Sydney, Renmin University of China and King’s College London.

Sarah Montgomery is Director 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.

Eloise Evans is Director of YCW London. She is also a British civil servant. Prior to this, Eloise spent two years at the Great Britain-China Centre (GBCC) covering work streams including political dialogues between the UK and China, and improving cross-Government China capabilities. Eloise graduated with a First Class honours degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Manchester and spent a year studying at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Whilst at university she was president of the Chinese Studies Society and undertook a three month internship at the Manchester China Forum.

Chris Sargent is Director of YCW London. He is Account Manager at MHP Communications, where he delivers policy and public affairs programmes for clients such as AstraZeneca and Takeda in their global operations, with a primary focus on China. Chris previously co-led the British Chamber of Commerce in China’s policy research, informing UK and Chinese government trade policy. He has also worked for the UN in Beijing, and read Chinese and French at the University of Exeter as well as Peking University.

Hugo Briggs is the Director of the YCW London Mentorship Programme. Hugo is the Director of the London YCW Mentorship Programme. He is an Account Manager in London at one of the world’s leading communications agencies working across a variety of corporate, public affairs and international affairs briefs. Hugo previously lived in Beijing, initially studying Mandarin at Beijing Language and Culture University on the British Council Generation UK Scholarship before joining the BCW Global team in China. He also holds a BA in Politics from Durham University.

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Elaine Chow is Head of YCW New York. Elaine currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of The China Project, a China-focused news, events, and business services platform. After an early career in journalism, in which she served as Asia Editor for tech website Gizmodo and Managing Editor of English-language China news website Shanghaiist, she went into digital marketing in Shanghai and Beijing, helping multinationals with China-specific needs. She holds a BA from NYU and an MBA from the University of Cambridge.

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.

Varda He is Director of YCW New York. Varda currently works as a program assistant at Rendr Care, which provides healthcare to NYC’s Asian-American community. She also serves as a research fellow at Gender IDEAL, a nonprofit organization that focuses on advancing reproductive rights and maternal health in the workplace. Varda holds an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS and a B.S. in Business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington.


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Michael Kehoe is Head of YCW San Francisco. He is a Senior Strategy and Operations Manager at Udemy. Previously, Michael led global operations at OnePiece Work, an incubator serving cross-border startups and investors between the US and China. He also co-founded BitTiger, an online learning platform for Chinese speaking students to learn computer science. He began his career in management consulting at Deloitte Consulting.

Wilson Ho is Director of YCW San Francisco. He currently works as a product solutions associate at SF Express, a Chinese logistics company. Previously, he was also a Global Operations Associate at Flexport. Wilson is most interested in U.S China technology, logistics, and e-commerce trends. He holds a B.A in International Relations from University of California, Davis.



Ferdinand Schaff is Co-Head 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.

Michael Laha is Co-Head of YCW Berlin. He is a member of the 2021-22 cohort of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation German Chancellor Fellowship based at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin, Germany. He conducts research on innovation policy and the role of China in the transatlantic relationship. Previously, Michael worked at the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations where he most recently was a Senior Program Officer. He holds a M.A. from Columbia University and B.S. from Tufts University.

Aya Adachi is Director of YCW Berlin. She is also an Analyst at Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), where she researches China and Japan’s foreign economic policy-making, Free Trade Agreements and trade relations in East Asia. Previously, she has worked as a consultant in the field of regional economic cooperation for the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and completed her PhD at Ruhr University Bochum and University of Duisburg Essen. She was a visiting fellow at Waseda University and the German Institute of Japanese Studies (Max Weber Foundation) in Tokyo and Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University in Suzhou and studied International Relations, Economics and Politics of East Asia and Mandarin Chinese at University of Groningen, Ruhr University Bochum and Zhejiang University of Technology.

Anika Laudien is Director of YCW Berlin. She is Project Manager in Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Asia program. Since the beginning of 2015 she has been part of the team which analyzes the changes taking place in Asia in order to develop recommendations for German and European policymakers. She has studied Chinese and Economics in Bremen and Shanghai, as well as European Studies in Hamburg.

Joshua Webb is Director of YCW Berlin. He is a trade policy adviser at the British Embassy in Berlin with a focus on geo-economics. Prior to joining the Embassy, he was a Programme Manager responsible for China and the Indo-Pacific at Körber-Stiftung (2017-20) as well as a Programme Coordinator with the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House (2014-17). Joshua studied international politics and history (with a focus on East Asia) in Bremen 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.

Max Chou is Deputy Director of YCW Singapore. Max is a country and macro analyst at Morgan Stanley. He graduated from Johns Hopkins SAIS and Boston College and is a CFA charter holder. He is interested in the interplay of economics, capital markets, policy, and political economies.

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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.

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 of Partnerships with Protocol, a media company focused on the technology industry. He was previously with BowerGroupAsia, an international government relations consultancy. He has lived in Beijing, Hangzhou and Nanjing, received an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS and BA from Pomona College.

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.

Ann Listerud is a Director of YCW DC. Ann is an Intelligence Analyst at Strider Technologies. She previously worked as a Senior Asia Analyst at Sayari Analytics, a researcher for the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, and Trivium China. She is the Events Director for LACHINET.

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