Past Events


October, 2018

A Fireside Chat and Book Launch with Enoch Li, Founder of Bearapy
In Enoch’s latest book, “Stress in the City”, she ends with, “Thank you, Depression”. Most might find it strange, that someone would be grateful for an experience of despair, lethargy, and irrational hopelessness. However, for Enoch, depression was her wake-up call, and she has been able to turn the pain and agony into a new life, new career, new mindset, and most of all, a mission and purpose for her life.

In this event, Enoch shared with us some of the things she learnt through her journey from a bottomless pit to mental resilience, from meaninglessness to building her own business, and from wanting to have it all to really “having it all”. Then we opened the session up to a fireside chat to have a more in-depth conversation with her.

As Enoch sometimes jokes, depression also gave her not only a husband, but a story to write the book she had always wanted to write.

Published by Trigger Press, Stress in the City is released in the UK, US, Australia, and Hong Kong, and soon to arrive in Mainland China (Amazon CN, DangDang, JD, Duokan, Baidu).


September, 2018

Viva’s 10th Anniversary Party
Time flies by and it is hard to believe that Viva turned 10 but we were more than ready for a big party to celebrate our milestone!

Viva was born in Beijing and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as the first international professional women’s association here. We stopped and took a special look at the past 10 years… the charities we’ve supported, the events hosted and and most of all our incredible members and where they are now.

We also used the evening to take a look at the future and what the next chapter will be for Viva.


August, 2018

How Resilient Are You? Building Your Inner Strength with Dalida Turkovic
Stress and setbacks are a part of life, and you can’t avoid them. A series of small challenges, or a traumatic situation, can be hard to deal with. If you know you can cope with adversity, that can give you the confidence to get through tough situations.

According to a survey of 835 British employees on what is the biggest drain on resilience, 75% chose “Managing difficult people or office politics at work” followed by stress through overwork and withstanding personal criticism. In the same research, it was noted that 90% of respondents chose ”myself” as the source of resilience, a bit over 50% pointed to their relationships and 10% chose “my organisation” as an answer.

Resilience enables you to better cope with challenging situations, and helps with your mental wellbeing.

On August 29th we took an in-depth look at the topic of resilience and Dalida shared the key factors that define well being as well as strategies and tools for overcoming difficult situations.


May, 2018

What Are Multilateral Development Banks & How Do They Support Economic Development? with Asia Development Bank’s Fiona Connell
What is US$1.7 Trillion annually?

“The estimated amount developing Asia needs to invest per year in infrastructure until 2030 to maintain its growth momentum and the regional lender’s targets on poverty and climate change.”

This is the number reported by Asia Development Bank’s President, Takehiko Nakao, during their annual meeting in Manila in early May, 2018.

On May 30th Viva took a closer, and timely, look at the role of development banks in building economies with Asia Development Bank’s Fiona Connell.

As Principal Counsel for ADB, Ms. Connell shared her insights as we discussed the role of development banks in supporting economic development. What sort of women-led initiatives does ADB support? How does ADB partner with foreign governments? How do country members within developing banks collaborate? What is the development needs of the Belt and Road initiative and are they feasible?


April, 2018

The Pitch with Beijing Makerspace Co-Founder Joanna Wei
China’s high tech sector is home to a number of pioneering women that are leading the innovation charge. We’re delighted to host this month Joanna Wei, one of China’s most recognised women in technology, who is described as “a global bridge between China and the United States”.

She discussed her role as an angel investor and the importance of that first pitch. What sort of questions does she ask? What is she looking for in a company as a potential investment opportunity? What difficulties do Chinese companies have for entering the US market?

In her BBC interview, Joanna shared that “People think we can’t have a Chinese Steve Jobs, but I don’t believe that. I believe if these kids can keep thinking and making things, they can create something like Apple in China.” Joanna’s personal story mirrors the high speed growth and innovation in China’s high tech sector and we’re excited to have this dynamic woman join us on April 25.


January, 2018

From Vision to Reality ~ 2 Women Helping Others Become Healthier
Sandrine Delabrière and Stella Chan Marinaro are two friends that share a passion for cooking, the Mediterranean lifestyle and the desire to help others become healthier.

On January 31 they talked about their experience working in collaboration with a friend and the process of taking an idea and turning it into reality. In addition, they shared with us tips for a healthier diet based the the Mediterranean way of living and eating plus will give us a glimpse into the cookbook they’ve created.


November, 2017

Viva’s Annual Holiday Party
Kick-off the festive season and toast the year that was with friends plus participate in our traditional sugar cookie decorating event! This annual activity is a favourite of all and a chance for some to relive their childhood too.

It’s a joyful evening filled with lots of laughter, drinks, food and of course decorating!


October, 2017

Sport Through My Eyes: Global Perspectives, Local Realities

The Alibaba and International Olympic Committee (IOC) partnership deal estimated to be worth over US$800 million… “This is so much more than about marketing or sponsorship,” said Michael Payne, who was part of a team that put the deal together with Beijing-based sports consultancy Shankai Sports. “It is potentially the single biggest, groundbreaking partnership the IOC has done to date.”

On October 25th, we’ll get a rare insiders look at the fascinating world of sports with Shankai Sports Senior Vice President Anne Kelly Aikman. Anne will draw on her 25+ years of experience on the business side of sport and from her involvement in global events such the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, America’s Cup, etc. in her talk “Sport Through My Eyes: Global Perspectives, Local Realities”.


September, 2017

Viva’s Annual Speed Networking Evening

How do you meet 20+ innovative, brilliant and professional businesswomen in one hour?

You come to Viva’s Speed Networking event armed with your business cards and your elevator pitch trimmed down to 1.5 minutes! You’ll have an opportunity to meet a diverse range of women from CEO’s to diplomats to business owners to marketing professionals and so on.

Our popular speed networking session is an opportunity to meet people new to Beijing as well as reconnect with others.


August, 2017

An Evening with Cape Verde Ambassador Tania Romualdo

A voice for women’s rights and an advocate for equality we are pleased to have as our special guest speaker, Ambassador Tania Romualdo.

Ambassador Romualdo has had a very successful career. As a single mother she has balanced life as a mother and the demands of a senior diplomat. She is a true advocate of women and the importance of equal opportunity for women. She will share with us her story, one that blends success, challenges and even times of facing adversity.

In our conversation with the Ambassador she shared, “We may face tough competition in our careers, but we do not need to be like a man to be successful. It is important to enjoy being a woman, focus on our goals no matter how our society may be biased against women”.


June, 2017

An Evening with Michelle Garnaut: Founder & CEO of the M Restaurant Group

One of China’s most successful restauranteurs, Michelle has built an iconic brand that has stood time in an industry known for change.

Michelle has always balanced the demands of her career and company with giving back to the community. She is the Founder of the Village People Project, a supporter of the arts and literature including the Shanghai Literary Festival and M Literary Residency and is behind the Mentor Walks Asia concept which is now offered in China and Australia.

On June 12th, Michelle will share with us the story behind her fascinating journey in the restaurant world and about some of the charities that are close to her.


May, 2017

A Diplomat’s Life & Career: A Moderated Panel Discussion

This month we’ll take a close look at the life of a career diplomat. We’ll examine the career choices, the postings, the opportunities and unique challenges faced by individuals that choose the foreign service.

We’re delighted to welcome a fascinating group of individuals currently serving their respective countries plus several spouses… in many cases the spouses are high powered individuals who reinvent themselves to enjoy fulfilling careers and lives abroad.

Introducing Our Panel Members…

Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Lithuania Ina Marčiulionytė
Hedvig Berry Wibskov, Spouse of Senior Diplomat with the Danish Embassy
Sofia Ericsson, Spouse of Senior Dipolmat with the Australian Embassy
Catorina Knox, Commercial Counsellor for Energy, British Embassy
Aristidis Catsambas, Plant Finance Manager, P&G Beijing & China ESS Fabric Care


April, 2017

Women in the Entertainment Business: How Much Has Changed?

April is the Beijing International Film Festival and in keeping with the spirit of filmmaking, we’re excited to host a special event with one of China’s leading, and few, female film directors, Ms. Rain Li.

Plan to join us for this fascinating evening as we discuss women in the film business, China’s maturing entertainment industry and what the future holds.

Ms. Li’s insider look into the world of film not only here but Hollywood and London will provide for an engaging conversation about the business side of this multi-billion dollar industry.


March, 2017

An Inspirational Evening with Dr. Catherine Sozi, Country Director for UN AIDS

Plan to join us for a fascinating conversation with Dr. Sozi who will share her personal story in public service, about her global journey with UNAIDS, that has made a truly significant difference to the lives of thousands, and much more.

A passionate, brilliant and truly inspirational woman!


February, 2017

An Evening with Author Lijia Zhang

Having just returned from her New York City book tour, Lijia Zhang will stop by Viva for one of her first Beijing events to discuss her highly acclaimed debut novel Lotus.

Lijia will share with us the fascinating back story behind Lotus, the unique challenges in shifting from non-fiction writing and much more!

Known for her memoir Socialism is Great, her columns in leading newspapers such as The Guardian and appearances on BBC and CNN, she is a long time supporter of Viva and our mission.


January, 2017

Detoxification 101: How to Survive & Thrive in Beijing

Come learn about the amazing things your body does to detoxify, to keep you healthy and safe. Learn the basics about the detoxification process, and what you can do to optimize your body’s natural ability to purify itself.

Naturopathic medicine offers a complementary or alternative approach to many common challenges people face, such as digestive issues, mood disorders, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and hormonal imbalances. Treatments include, but are not limited to, dietary modifications, nutraceuticals, botanical medicine and homeopathy. Even patients with difficult cases can often see some improvement in their condition by using naturopathic treatments. (Liangmaqiao)


October, 2016

Guest Speaker Dalida Turkovic on Mindful Decisions

Viva’s program has been designed to enable women to learn from a wonderful network of women.

We’re excited to have our long term member and Mentor Dalida Turkovic as our Guest Speaker discussing Mindful Decisions.

“As mentors we are called in at times of important life changing moments when our mentees deal with confusing situations and need to make important decisions. Mindful awareness gives us access to a whole range of inner resources for conscious decision making.”

This year we have a lineup of 15 amazing women from a wide range of experience and industries. We are proud of the fact that this will be our 7th year of running the Mentorship program. We have planned the evening to also provide you with an opportunity to meet this year’s lineup of Mentors.


September, 2016

Viva Speed Networking

Viva Beijing Professional Women’s Network is pleased to announced the Viva Speed Networking and Mentorship Program are coming back!

Speed networking has been one of the most popular Viva events and this year it will take place at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing (Liangmaqiao)


August, 2016

Giving Back

After a month long holiday VIVA is back with an exciting fall line-up.
This month’s theme is “Giving Back”. Viva was established with the goal of bringing Professional women together around the theme of Learning, Connecting, and Inspiring.

Another important goal is to give back to our community. This year we are pleased to share that we will make a donation to EGRC, Educating Girls of Rural China.

We are pleased to share that the Founder and President of EGRC, Tien Ching and one of the students will be our August guest speakers.
Tien Ching is the Founder and President of Educating Girls in Rural China.

As a young student, Tien Ching grew up in Beijing and attended a privileged girls-only school where the daughters of Mao, Deng and other high-ranking communists’ officials also attended. Because of the Cultural Revolution, along with millions of other young people, her dreams and opportunities were shattered. Instead of going to university she was sent to Gansu province and worked in a factory for eight years. In 1983 she moved to Canada and has made Vancouver her home ever since. She owned and managed an art gallery for over 20 years. She has two children both of who have graduated from Canadian universities.
Ten years ago Tien Ching founded EGRC. Her dream has always been to find a way to give girls from rural China the gift of education which she did not receive.
Since 2005 EGRC has awarded a total of 512 university and high school sponsorships and the students have achieved 100% graduation rate. Not only does EGRC help to provide the financial means for these well deserving and promising students’ educations, but in the last years, mentoring programs between graduates and younger students have also been set up in order to foster a spirit of connectedness between these young women.
Join us to hear Tien Ching’s inspirational story and continuous belief that educated women raise educated children.


June, 2016

Three Weddings and A Divorce

Join Lars Ulrik-Thom, the founder of Beijing Postcard on June 29th. Lars will share the life stories of three Chinese women which illustrate the incredible change the role of women has undergone in Chinese society. It tells of how the custom of foot-binding was abandoned and condemned by revolutionary slogans that projected model female workers to the fore, but the idea of the good-natured communist woman now seems distant, having been replaced by the high stilettos of ‘modern society’.

“Three Weddings and a Divorce” is a portrait of three women all living in Beijing. Grandmother Wang – with bound “Lily-feet”, 63-year-old Liu Xiao Bing – whose life was heavily affected by the Cultural Revolution, and 34-year-old successful business woman Xie Rui. Together, they can account for the last hundred years of Beijing’s history.

Beijing Postcards has been following the lives of these women for about four years. During this period a great deal has changed, “Three Weddings and a Divorce” has now become “Four Weddings and a Divorce”!


May, 2016

Get Your Ideas Flowing

Do you sometimes feel stuck when you would love to be more innovative? Do you find it difficult to get inspired on how to create new ideas for your tasks and challenges? This could be in your personal or professional life. Then you should consider showing up to this event.

On May 25th, Bettina Elbæk Pedersen will demonstrate how you can always come up with numerous good ideas and also improve these ideas to an unexpected level.

Being able to generate great ideas is not only for professional innovators. It is just as useful for writing, setting personal goals or even planning an event.

Fascinated by the conception and birth of ideas, Bettina has worked with this theme for more than 20 years. Danish native, Bettina holds a M.Sc. Engineering and is experienced with product development and design management for leading Scandinavian design brands such as Bang & Olufsen (HiFi), Fritz Hansen (Furniture) and Louis Poulsen (Lighting).

Bettina believes anyone can generate great ideas and is excited to share her experiences with you.


April , 2016

Elisabeth Koch, Chief Creative Director of Elisabeth Koch Millinery Ltd.

This April, Viva is honored to have Elisabeth Koch as our guest speaker to share her experience of being an entrepreneur. We would see and understand life of an entrepreneur as well as the challenges Elisabeth is facing, how she overcomes the obstacle, find the joy along the journey and what keeps her motivated.


March, 2016

Supporting Educational and Economic Empowerment for China’s Women

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Viva Beijing Professional Women’s Network and AmCham China brought together a distinguished panel of companies and organizations contributing to the empowerment of China’s women in meaningful and important ways.

This was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the truly effective CSR programs of IBM and Walmart, how Educating Girls of Rural China has changed the lives of the young women they have supported, and how Viva Beijing has inspired young women through professional development and mentoring programs.


Cindy Jensen, Founder and Managing Director of BOLDMOVES China.

Tien Ching, Founder and President of Educating Girls in Rural China.

Lin Gao, Manager, Corporate Learning Solutions at Intellect Associates.

Yang Song,  Senior Program Manager, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs at IBM China.

Fiona Lang, CSR Director of Corporate Affairs at Walmart.


February, 2016

Play your way out of adversity!
Most people regard play as an activity reserved for children, but indeed, a playful attitude could benefit adults in everyday lives. Enoch will share with us the power of playfulness – from creativity, self-reflections, to stress management, she will use her own story to illustrate how learning to play again helped her out of clinical depression and suicide attempts. Play propelled Enoch to not be ashamed to be herself, and to tear away the images she once felt she had to concoct according to society’s expectations and to gain external approval.


January, 2016

Book lunch with authors Edith Coron and Anne Garrigue

Behind the headlines, a new breed of internationally minded Chinese, and Chinese-influenced foreigners, have made China what it is today.They range from world famous figures such as the artist Ai Weiwei to anonymous line managers on factory floors; whatever their field of work they are the hinges on which the door to tomorrow’s world is opening. Never before has anybody written about them, the key role they are playing in the shadows or the way in which their personal stories mirror the wrenching changes in relations between China and the rest of the world.This is the first book to plunge into their lives to explore how they are changing themselves and the world that we live in.

We discussed how these people are quietly shaping our future with the authors, Edith Coron and Anne Garrigue.


December, 2015

Christmas Gathering & Cookies Making

After long and cold weeks, we are finally welcoming the holiday season.
It’s the time of the year that we come together to celebrate, to harvest, to remember, to give back and to spend quality time with loved ones.
Viva members and friends got together to thank each other for the remarkable support in 2015 and celebrate achievements in a fun and festive way.
Christmas Gathering & Cookie Making”  took place at Lily American Diner San Li Tun


September, 2015

Speed Networking. Meet more. Faster.

Speed networking has  been one of the most popular Viva events and this year it took place at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing on September 23rd. 20 plus women got together for the fun filled evening. Best way to practice your elevator pitch, learn from others and about them.  Great opportunity to meet and talk for many people and find like minded ones!


July, 2015

Viva Social:Tea and honey tasting

Shangrila Farms & Red Wall Garden team up to present a night of various tea and honey tastings. Experts will walk us through some background information on each tea and honey, discuss good pairings, and walk us through some DIY suggestions for great summer drinks!


June, 2015

Practice of Mindfulness with Dalida Turkovic

Viva was proud to have Dalida Turkovic as a guest speaker on Wednesday, June 24th. Dalida is well known not only in the VIVA community but also in the Beijing business circles. In 2002 she founded her own coaching and consulting company, Small Steps (China) Ltd., with the aim to assist performance enhancement and facilitate change through coaching and consultancy using holistic approach. In 2013 she co-founded DAO Leadership with focus on developing authentic leaders.

She shared with the group the practice of Mindfulness. It was an opportunity for us as leaders, parents or simply as an individuals to  learn how to improve focus at times of change, enhance creativity and creative problem solving and embrace flexibility. Dalida also shared with us her own experiences of her many years living and working in China.


May, 2015

Talk with Edith Coron, Author and Coach

A global nomad by choice, she studied journalism in the U.S.A. and has lived and worked in North and West Africa, the U.K, Latin America, Israel, Russia and France; she has been based in China since 2006.

Cultural complexity is a daily, family affair for her. She and her English husband of 30 years have raised their two “third culture” sons on three continents. On the professional front she is now playing an active role in the encounter between China and the world. Multinational corporations and international organizations turn to her to coach their executives and their teams.


April, 2015


Tien Ching is the Founder and President of Educating Girls in Rural China.

As a young student, Tien Ching grew up in Beijing and attended a privileged girls-only school where the daughters of Mao, Deng and other high ranking communists’ officials also attended. Because of the Cultural Revolution, along with millions of other young people, her dreams and opportunities were shattered. Instead of going to university she was sent to Gansu province and worked in a factory for eight years. In 1983 she moved to Canada and has made Vancouver her home ever since. She owned and managed an art gallery for over 20 years. She has two children both of who have graduated from Canadian universities.

Ten years ago Tien Ching founded EGRC. Her dream has always been to find a way to give girls from rural China the gift of education which she did not receive.


January, 2015

From Startup to Successful Sale – One Woman’s Story of Success 

Shannon Byrne Susko’s business success makes for an usual story. Starting Paradata, her first tech company, was, in her own words, like the blind leading the blind – her business partner was only 15! However, with a lot of hard work and a little luck, she matured as a leader and successfully sold it 5 years later.

She started her next business, Subserveo, just to see if the first business success was a accident or not!  She soon realized that the disciplines and best practices she had employed while running Paradata were in fact, excellent levers for growth and differentiation. She and her partners reached for excellence – never compromising on their values: ‘Have fun at work every day and then get to spend more time with the family’.

Come join this vibrant, humble young woman and learn the secrets of how to build a great company – and most importantly – how to exit successfully.


December, 2012

Viva Holiday Event – Cupcake Decorating Party

What better way to ensure you’re the hostess with the “moistest” this holiday season than with beautifully decorated AND delicious baked treats? VIVA is delighted to invite you to a special holiday event, where we will get some hands-on cupcake decorating training from the team at Lollipop Bakery. Once you have got the basics down, you will be split into teams for a friendly frost-off. There are fabulous prizes to be won by the craftiest among us!


October, 2012

Speed Networking

Join us for our annual speed networking event, where when the bell rings two women have 3 minutes to present themselves and explain what they do. They could be master or PhD students, entrepreneurs, CEOs, marketing managers, sports specialists, language experts, coaches or from many other domains.

Viva is full of inspiring women hoping to meet their next business partner, provider, soul mate. This event is a hit every year and open to members only. Don’t forget your business cards!


December, 2011

Viva Christmas Party!

VIVA Presents: For One Night Only, a performance by the Women of Beijing Improv! Up for a chuckle-icious Christmas? Join the women from Beijing Improv for an evening of mirth and merriment that will get the most bah-humbuggy Ebenezer Scrooge ebullient. This year, VIVA is proud to present a one night only all women Beijing Improv performance bonanza. Catch up with old friends, meet newones and be thoroughly entertained!
Beijing Improv – which has just celebrated its fifth birthday – is a a group of people from around the world and from a whole range of backgrounds who aren’t afraid of the unknown.  An audition-only group, current Main stage members come from 8 different countries and many have played improv together for years. Re-interpreting life in ever-changing Beijing through spontaneous and humorous stories and scene-work, Beijing Improv’s monthly shows have sold out the 250-seat Peng Hao theater for the past three years straight, and the (free!) Wednesday night workshops are jam-packed with improv enthusiasts.  Beijing Improv’s players are all volunteers and donate all the profits from their shows to community NGOs. More info at

Check out photos from the event on our facebook page ( or in the Photos section of our website!


November, 2011

An Evening with Elina Nikulainen

“Missing” Girls: Causes and Consequences of Son Preference in China An estimated 117 million women across Asia are “missing” and in China alone more than 20 million men will have problems if they wish to marry, the result of the much discussed sex ratio at birth imbalance. Elina Nikulainen of the United Nations Population Fund ( UNFPA) will introduce to VIVA the latest discussion and newest findings on this situation. What do these figures actually mean? How will the sex ratio imbalance influence the lives of both men and women? What does it say about the current status of women in China? What can be done now to correct the situation? She will present how efforts to empower women and improve gender equality are key to ending son preference in China.

About Elina Nikulainen

Ms. Elina Nikulainen is in her second year in China as Programme Officer for Gender at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Her portfolio focuses on gender-based violence, sex ratio at birth imbalance and masculinities. Before coming to China she worked in Viet Nam for UNESCO and UNODC and prior to that in the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland and the Finnish Embassy in the United States. She holds an MA from the University of Turku, Finland.


October, 2011

Speed Networking

How do you meet 20 innovative, enthusiastic, brilliant businesswomen in one hour? You come to Viva’s speed networking event armed with business cards and your elevator pitch trimmed down to a mere 1.5 minutes!

Join us for our annual speed networking event.  When the bell rings two women have 3 minutes to present themselves and explain what they do. They could be master or PhD students, entrepreneurs, CEOs, marketing managers, sports specialists, language experts, coaches or from many other domains– Viva is full of inspiring women hoping to meet their next business partner, provider, soul mate. This event is a hit every year and open to members only.


September, 2011

Building an Icon: Anu Leinonen

The project architect behind ‘ the giant underpants’, Anu Leinonen will share the story of creating the design and overseeing the construction of Beijing’s iconic CCTV tower. Through the initial process of the bid to the finishing phases, Anu was right at the heart of the project, working closely with the international construction firm, Chinese contractors and sub-contractors, the client and the Chinese government.

Anu will share her insights from working as an architect in one of the fastest growing urban landscapes in the world, the challenges that China faces as the population moves to the cities and the trends that are developing.

About Anu Leinonen

Anu Leinonen has worked for over twelve years for the well-known Dutch architectural practice OMA /Rem Koolhaas. She is the project architect for the CCTV headquarters project, relocating from Rotterdam to Beijing in 2004 to follow the project through construction phase. As an associate of OMA she has recently been responsible for designing a number of competitions in Asia, including KT headquarters in Seoul, China Mobile technological center in Beijing and the Bund Financial center in Shanghai. Anu Leinonen also participates in voluntary work, providing architectural design consultation for several non- governmental humanitarian organizations in the Philippines and China. She is actively participating in the heritage protection of the Beijing Hutongs.


August, 2011


Paloma Sanchez, just back from her latest trip to Ethiopia and Madagascar to buy opals and sapphires, will recount why she chose Beijing to launch her own jewelry brand. Sanchez has something of the intrepid traveller in her, visiting some of the globe’s most dangerous countries to buy her precious stones direct from the mines. Hear how a woman gemologist organizes her trips to mines, factors in the security elements, negotiates with oft uneducated mine-owners, and then slips back into her role as designer and retailer of one-off jewelry pieces in Beijing. Her story is an inspiration to artists who wish to channel their creativity into a business venture and budding entrepreneurs who are not sure how to take that first step.

Jewelry designer  and entrepreneur Paloma Sanchez, a native of Spain, came to Beijing in 2006.  She owns the Paloma Sanchez jewelry shop in the Nali Patio, Sanlitun. She is a lawyer and a certified GIA (Gemological Institute of America) gemologist and jewelry designer and has worked in both retail and the business of global luxury brands including Carrera y Carrera, Hublot, Cuevo & Sobrinos and Patek Phillipe  She searches for specimen-quality and exquisite stones all over the world to create her signature and unique jewelry. You can see more of her work at her website


July, 2011

An Evening with Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt of the International Crisis Group

From instigating provocative maritime clashes in the South China and East China Seas to abetting violent North Korean attacks against South Korea and denouncing U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region, a newly assertive China has emerged out of the global financial crisis. Has China abandoned its so-called taoguang yanghui (“low profile”) foreign policy introduced by Deng Xiaoping in the early 1990s?  While Beijing made some important contributions to regional and global security, stability and governance from 2006-2008, what is behind the more assertive behaviour we have seen since?  What international fallout will we see in reaction?  And how can we expect China to use its strengthened power position in the coming years?  Join Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt to explore these questions and more.

Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt joined the International Crisis Group (ICG) in October 2007 as North East Asia Project Director and China Adviser based in Beijing where she undertakes research and analysis on the role of China in conflict areas around the world. From 2006-2007, Stephanie was an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Prior to that she worked for the United Nations where she was responsible for cooperation with the Government of the People’s Republic of China and a number of conflict and post-conflict countries in Africa. Previously, Ms. Kleine-Ahlbrandt was seconded by the U.S. Department of State to the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996), investigated genocide and other human rights violations for the United Nations in Rwanda (1994-1995), and worked with the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Council of Europe (1993-1994). She is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


June, 2011

An Evening With Critically Acclaimed Author, Susan Conley

Susan Conley’s New York Times Magazine Lives column about living in China and contending with the H1N1 epidemic got the attention of a lot of readers. Now she’s written a debut memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune, which chronicles the years she and her family navigated the capital city of Beijing. The book traces practical concerns of her small boys – how do you make new friends when you don’t speak the language? – as well as the larger spectre of cancer when Susan is diagnosed with breast cancer in Beijing.

An O Magazine Book Selection, The Foremost Good Fortune is a wry and poignant memoir full of insight into the trickiest questions”how do you talk to children about death? When is it okay to lie? In the end The Foremost Good Fortune is also a celebration of family and a candid exploration of mortality and belonging.

This event is held in conjunction with the American Chamber of Commerce.


May, 2011

Viva Annual General Meeting

This is a Viva members-only event. Our Annual General Meeting is an opportunity for members to reflect, share and plan for the following year. We will elect new Executive Committee Members and review our finances. We will share about our charity selection for our profits.


April, 2011

Slurping Soup and Other Confusions

Our April event looks at how the six authors of a new expat resource overcame the typical writer’s block to write about coping with the family challenges of living internationally.Two of the Beijing based authors will introduce their just-published resource “Slurping Soup and Other Confusions: True Stories and Activities to Help Third Culture Kids during Transition”. They will highlight their personal writing process, share readings, and explain the crucial need for support for third culture kids and their parents.

“Slurping Soup and Other Confusions” was written by Maryam Afnan Ahmad, Cherie Emigh, Ulrike Gemmer, Barbara Menezes, Kathryn Tonges & Lucinda Willshire. See for more info.

About our Speakers
Kathryn Tonges is an Australian National Instructor for Dr. Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training. She has lectured in children’s services for 20 years and coordinated a family support programme. She has two sons and lives in Beijing.

Cherie Emigh is a teacher and anthropologist from the United States. She has three children in International Schools in Beijing and is an active member of the PTA as well as running the Beijing based Cub Scouts of America program. Cherie is also a Parent Effectiveness Training instructor.


March 2011

Food Safety in China

In our March seminar, Marie-Paule Benassi will outline key policy issues surrounding food safety in China, including looking at how is China dealing with food safety and the cooperation between the EU and China to raise standards. She’ll also look at ways in which we can live more healthily in Beijing, international standards and seals of approval to look out for and the safety of China’s organic labels.

Marie-Paule Benassi

Marie-Paule Benassi is 1st counsellor, Food Safety, Health and Consumers at the EU Delegation in Beijing. She is in charge of developing the cooperation between the EU and Chinese authorities and businesses on public health, food safety and consumer protection policies.

Her main task is to contribute to the safety of imports into the EU market and to promote EU standards for products sold on the Chinese market. Previously, she was in charge of communicating about these three policies at the European Commission HQ in Brussels.

Marie-Paule graduated in Economics and Law from Sorbonne university in Paris. She has been working for the European Commission for 20 years mostly in international trade matters.


February 2011

Viva Speed Networking

This is a members-only event. Our hugely popular annual speed networking event returns. This is the perfect opportunity to become better acquainted with others involved with Viva, to make useful connections and new friends. With more than 140 members, and more joining every month, there are plenty of professionally minded women like yourself to meet. Bring along your name card, polish your elevator pitch and enjoy a drink with new friends. Join us for what promises to be a fun and interactive event.

Please note – registration closes at 5pm on Monday 21 February for this event.

Please note that our February event is exclusively for members only; to find out more about joining Viva, please check the MEMBERSHIP page.


January 2011

Cash for Canvas: Art as an Asset Class

Art is becoming a new investment hot spot in China and the red hot market was recently featured in China International Business with the cover story featuring Soetheby’s Patti Wong. As a follow-up to Viva’s November event, join us on January 19th for a special presentation with visiting scholar and former Executive Director of the UBS Art Collection for a unique look at this hot topic – art as an asset.

Talk Overview

The 2009 downturn of the world’s economy was a problem for many investors. Workforce cuts are growing, and several big-name reliable companies in the stock market (at least for the last century or so) were crumbling.

This recession has completely changed the playing field when it comes to investments. Commodities that were not considered viable stock in the past are slowly gaining attention, and some people are even looking at investing in art. The presentation will outline how the economy affects the art. It will give an overview about the history of art as an investment and a closer inside into the topic “art as an asset class.”

About our Speaker

Dr. Petra Arends, is a qualified lawyer with a PhD in copyright law and has worked for many years as a private banker advising individuals and families in the structuring of their personal wealth. From 2003 to 2009 she was the Executive director of the UBS Art Collection and member of the UBS Brand Management Team. She developed a concept to market the bank’s extensive art collection around the word and organized several exhibitions around the world (MoMA NYC; Tate Modern London, Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland; Mori Art Museum Tokyo; NAMOC Beijing; Shanghai Art Museum; Guangdong Museum of Art etc.)


December, 2010

Viva Christmas Party

This is a members-only event. Join the Viva team and members for our festive get-together at Terra on 8 December. This month, our speaker will be Lexie Morris who left a successful career in corporate strategy in the UK to go it alone in Beijing in setting up a cupcake bakery. Lexie will talk about her motivations for her career change and offer advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

About our speaker

Lexie Morris upped sticks and moved to Beijing from the UK in late 2009 to set up the Lollipop Bakery. Fresh from Cambridge with a BA in Oriental Studies (Mandarin), she launched herself into a job in corporate strategy in London only to discover that it was not her cup of tea at all. Eighteen months later, armed with a business plan and a clutch of recipes tested on colleagues at her firm, Lexie made the leap, handed in her resignation, and came to China to follow her dream.

Members-only event

As every year, our Viva Christmas party is a members-only event. If you are not yet a member, it’s not too late to join – visit the MEMBERSHIP page to sign up online and you can pay the annual fees (just RMB 350) when you arrive at the party.


TERRA is a cevicheria & bar owned and operated by female restaurateur, Gaby Alves from SALT. TERRA is Gaby’s third restaurant in Beijing and serves contemporary cuisine with Peruvian inspirations. It offers a full ceviche menu as well as al a carte options. For VIVA’S Christmas, Gaby has selected a delicious range of healthy canapés including TERRA’S ceviche, cassava croquettes and traditional mini-empanadas.


November, 2010

The Art of the Matter

British national Karen Smith came to Beijing in 1992 to explore what was happening with the new art scene in China. Today, almost twenty years on, she has become part of that scene; twenty years in which Chinese art has emerged on the international stage. In that time, Karen has become a writer and a curator of Chinese art, and continues in a role that she describes as a ‘cultural bridge’ between China and the outside world. Karen is currently working on a series of book projects that feature the works of China’s leading contemporary artists, and through her personal initiative, the Intelligent Alternative, she also puts her energies to supporting young and emerging artists.

Karen will talk about the role she has carved out for herself, and why all good things must come to an end.


October, 2010

Creativity at Work

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein
Speaker: Jasmine Keel
According to the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, CEOs believe that, “more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision, successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”

With knowledge now being a commodity, companies are now having to rethink the way in which they work and the way in which they can maintain a competitive edge. Thus enters creativity. Creativity is a highly valued skill yet learning how to develop creativity is a new concept.

In this high-energy and inspirational seminar, Jasmine Keel will share some insights in how you can develop idea creativity as opposed to artistic creativity:

– Tapping into your inner Creative Resources
– Releasing blocks to your Creativity
– Building a Creative Thinking culture at work

This seminar will go beyond the familiar tricks and tips of how to be more creative in the workplace and dig deeper into what your full creative potential might be.


Septiembre, 2010

Stress Management

Beijing is an exciting, dynamic place to live and work, with a rhythm all its own, but the downside can be the additional stress of life here. Although many articles have been written, documentaries aired and seminars offered, stress management is still a source of confusion and mystery. We ask ourselves; “Why, after using every stress management technique at my disposal, am I still so stressed out?” Join us and learn about the real source of your stress and identify the subtle stress hints you get before the stress takes over, then learn the techniques, thinking and attitudes that will give you true power over your stress.

During the September Viva seminar we will cover the following:
* The truth about the origins of stress.
* Identify the full scope of the physical, emotional and relational outcomes of stress
* The lies that lead to out of control stress
* The physical approaches to avoiding, stopping, reducing, eliminating and/or managing stress
* Build the personal foundation that is needed to make stress management successful

Speaker: Stephannie Tebow


August, 2010

Views from the Field: Women and Humanitarian Aid

What does it take to be a humanitarian aid worker? What’s life like in the field and what are the challenges particularly faced by women? Two representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross give their perspectives from their experiences in countries around the world as different as Liberia Afghanistan and China.

What is ICRC doing in China? How does it cooperate with the Chinese Red Cross? The event will also shed some light on the work of an international organisation in China and its cooperation with local partner organisation.


Zofia Chlapowski is currently the Head of Administration at the Regional Delegation for East Asia Regional of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She joined the ICRC in 2004 after three years in private banking. Over the past seven years, she has been posted to Ethiopia, Liberia, Congo (Brazzaville), Nepal and now China.

Cynthia Lee is Communication Delegate for the ICRC’s Regional Delegation for East Asia. For the past five years, she has specialized in communications for the non-profit sector on a wide range of humanitarian and development issues, living and working in Afghanistan and Botswana. Prior to her experience in the field, she worked for several years as a news journalist.


July, 2010

MadWomen! A Perspective on Images of Women in Advertising

This is a Viva members-only eventJoin us on Wednesday July 28th for our summer members-only event, and it will be a special one!

Viva member Kathy Wood of Saatchi & Saatchi will lead us through a look at the range of images of women used in advertising today. What do they represent? What’s the research behind them? As the global planner at Saatchi & Saatchi for Procter and Gamble, Kathy will share her perspective with us and lead us through in a discussion of some of the trends in advertising today in China as well as globally. We’ll take a look at different campaigns and what they represent.

Ever wonder what goes on in one of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies?

For this event we’re on the move and the event will be hosted in the penthouse of the Saatchi & Saatchi offices.

This unique space is featured in leading architectural and design magazines for its contemporary design. A special thanks to Saatchi & Saatchi for hosting us this month and we’re excited to share with our members this incredible inside look into the world of advertising.

Please register early as we are asking for your input prior to the event. Kathy is going to address our comments and thoughts based on these two questions:

1. Overall please share what you think of images of women in advertising
2. Please give an example of an image you like and one you don’t like

Not a member of Viva? Now’s a great time to join as we host a number of special events for our members as well as offer other services such as our popular mentorship program.

About our speaker

Having started her career as a media auditor Kathy soon moved to the glamorous world of the advertising agency as an account planner. She has worked at several international agencies including Young and Rubicam, Publicis and now Saatchi & Saatchi. Clients include Unilever International, Colgate Palmolive, Pirelli, Danone, Kraft Jacob Suchard, Campbell’s, Müller, Lancôme, and Coca-Cola

In 2006 Kathy moved to Beijing with her partner for “an adventure” and shortly afterwards became the Regional Planning Director across Asia for Saatchi & Saatchi on Pampers. She was promoted to the role of Planning Director China P&G Brands early in 2010 (Olay, Head and Shoulders, Crest, Ariel, Safeguard)

Kathy won Gold in the IPA Effectiveness Awards, the top UK competition for advertising effectiveness. She has also won Gold twice in the Campaign Poster Effectiveness Awards.

Kathy loves travel, living in China, Tim, reading and her collection of shoes!


June, 2010

Optimal Energy Through Your Workday

Do you:

– Frequently eat lunch on the run and need some ideas for better nutrition?
– Do you feel sleepy shortly after lunch?
– Must have coffee in the afternoon?
– Find yourself craving something sweet late afternoon?
– Get so hungry at dinner/lunch time that you’d lose your cool?

Then join us for the Viva June event, where nutritionist Olivia Lee will outline how food choices can have a significant impact on your energy levels through your day and affect your work. Pick up some valuable nutrition tips for eating out that can help keep your energy on track and learn how to choose the more nutritious items on a menu – even where you thought there may be none! Olivia will also look at how organic the organic produce available in China really is, and as always our presentation will be followed by Q&A, networking and drinks.

About our Speaker
Olivia Lee is a Singaporean mother with an MSc in Nutrition from the US and a certification in counseling from Singapore. Olivia’s coaching programs are designed to help people make good nutrition choices become truly ingrained in their lives for long-term success, and to achieve a better sense of life-long wellness.


May, 2010

Viva AGM and Birthday Celebration

Please note this is a members-only eventJoin us on Wednesday 26 May as we celebrate two years of the Beijing Professional Women’s Network. This FREE, members-only event will take place at the Westin Chaoyang Hotel and is a great opportunity to vote on the available committee positions, and network with other members over a glass of wine and a slice of Viva birthday cake!


April, 2010

Helping Rural China Escape Poverty

Sara will share insights on the microfinance landscape in China, the regulatory outlook of non-profits, and the social impact of helping people to help themselves.

The number of people living below the poverty line in China is larger than the entire population of Russia. Enter two young American girls who founded Wokai (“I Start” in Chinese) in 2007, now a media darling that is termed the “Facebook for Farmers in China.” With the rural population left behind in China’s runaway growth, Casey Wilson and Courtney McColgan identified microfinance as the only viable solution to narrowing the rural-urban income gap. Wokai’s online peer-to-peer fundraising portal allows individual donors outside of China to finance micro-entrepreneurs to start small businesses, and Wokai partners with local NGOs in Sichuan and Inner Mongolia to manage local operations. Since its website has gone live in November 2008, Wokai has raised over RMB 1 million that is helping over 300 micro-entrepreneurs.Wokai’s success has been followed
by Bloomberg Asia, CCTV News, Phoenix TV, China Daily and CNBC, and many others.

Sara Jane Ho received a BA in English and Government from Georgetown University and is headed to Harvard Business School this fall. Prior to volunteering for Wokai in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York, she was an investment banking analyst at Perella Weinberg Partners and Morgan Stanley.


March, 2010

‘Think Like Chinese’

Whether you’ve been in China for decades of just got off the plane, this is a must attend seminar.

What are the core differences in how Chinese think, and how do those differences influence the way that Chinese people communicate and conduct business?

Our China expert for this seminar will be Helen Zhang,the author of the highly acclaimed book “Think Like Chinese” which serves as an in depth guide to help more people understand China and the Chinese people.

Copies of Helen’s book will be available for sale at the event.

About the Speaker

Helen grew up in Beijing China, then worked and lived in Sydney, Australia for 8 years (in management consulting, investment banking and wealth management) before returning back to Beijing in 2002 with her family.

Since 2005 Helen operates a China based strategic consulting business in Beijing. Her main focus has been advising multinational corporate and overseas government clients on various China challenges at the senior executive level, also consults to Chinese businesses going global.

Helen holds an MBA, a Master of Business in Finance from Australia and a BA (English Language and Literature) from Peking University, China.


February, 2010

Viva Speed Networking

This event is for members only. Join us for Viva’s annual speed networking event and meet others in your sector or industry.


January, 2010

New Year, New Challenges

“Talent acquisition is the singular most critical role all of us play in the development of our organizations; without utilizing and celebrating the passion of your workforce, no growth is achievable, no vision is attainable. Employee engagement and development is everybody’s responsibility, from the President and COO down.”

So says Susie Bates, VP of Recruitment at United Family Hospitals. At our first event of 2010, Susie will share some of her experiences of her 30 years of hands-on experience in the HR arena in Beijing, looking at the fascinating evolution of the role of HR Manager in foreign companies over that time; she will hold an interactive discussion on the skill sets that companies look for when interviewing for key roles within organizations operating in China today, and take questions from VIVA members on their job search and recruitment issues.

Speaker: Susie Bates, VP at United Family Healthcare


December, 2009

Viva Christmas Party!

Please note this is a members-only eventCome and celebrate the holiday season with Viva. Our guest speaker (and Viva member) Tina Redshaw will share her experiences of working in Asia, including her four years as British Ambassador to Timor Leste, a colourful and fascinating new nation that few people have visited.

Enjoy a glass of champagne, thanks to Links Moving Asia and East Meets West Fine Wines. Win fabulous prizes in our raffle, including:
– return business class airfare to Bali on Garuda Indonesia
– one year gym membership from Westin Beijing Chaoyang
– full body massage from Heavenly Spa at Westin Financial Street
– dining vouchers from Agua, Mughal’s and ROOMbeijing restaurants
– Pakistani cooking classes for four people at The Hutong

Pre-Event Mentorship Session
A mentee information session will be held before this event for those interested in taking part in our new mentorship program. This session will be held before our Christmas party at The Westin Beijing Chaoyang, commencing at 6pm sharp, and will be your chance to meet the mentors and learn more about the programme.

Contact Katja ( to register your interest to become a mentee and reserve your seat for the information session.

Full details of the mentorship program, including profiles of our mentors and the application form, are now available on this website for members. Click to view. Please note that you will need to log in to access this information. If you cannot view this section, please check that your membership is up-to-date.

About the Programme
Our mentorship programme provides Viva members with an opportunity to learn (and gain insight) from their mentor’s life experience and professional knowledge. The programme is exclusive to Viva members only. All mentors are members of the Viva and have volunteered their time for the programme. Viva members can find more information here: (please note only logged-in, paid-up members can view these pages).


November, 2009

Impossible is Nothing – Transform your Work and Life!

Why do we too often achieve only a fraction of our potential? What do you really wish for your life and career – and how can you make that happen?

In this stimulating and interactive talk Sarah will share:
– Practical strategies for overcoming engrained and limiting ways of thinking
– Inspirational stories of people (famous and ordinary) who’ve transformed their lives
– Resources and tips for living a life and career on full throttle.

You will leave with a new sense of what is possible for you, personally and professionally. Come and have fun!

About the speaker:
Sarah Cooper is fascinated by the limits we place on ourselves and by what triggers and sustains transformational change. Through her business Cows From My Window, Sarah helps mid-career professionals though radical career and lifestyle transitions. Her clients’ impetus for change is a desire to follow a passion, express their creativity or help people or society in some way  and at the same time lead a richer, more family-friendly lifestyle.

You can find out more about Sarah’s coaching, workshops and teleclasses, and read her blog, at


Nomvember, 2009

*NEW DATE & PLACE: The Woman of the House: From Single Mother to CEO

This is a members-only event. As a young single mother from Utah with limited means, Fredy Bush seemed destined for a life of struggle and poverty in her native land. But with her two young children in tow and a commitment to provide for them, Ms. Bush made a bold decision to seek her future in Greater China. Today, as CEO of Xinhua Sports & Entertainment Limited, a leading sports and entertainment media company in China, Ms. Bush looks back on her journey and reflects on the challenges she faced in performing her roles as a young single mother, business leader and philanthropist in a foreign land.

We expect a high turn-out for this event and therefore will start promptly at 7pm. Please note that, on this occasion, we will close the doors at 7 and will be unable to admit latecomers so recommend that you arrive in good time.

This event is not open to the media.


September, 2009


Viva is very excited about launching our first mentorship program. Our guest speaker Cindy Jensen has been a long time advocate of mentoring. She describes her first experience of having a mentor as “being blessed with a mentor who influenced her career”.

This seminar will provide practical information and tools for individuals who are considering a mentor for their own personal or professional development. In addition Cindy will share how organisations can initiate and develop a Corporate Mentorship programme including examples of companies that have been successful in branding their programmes. The second part of her talk will be dedicated to the launch of the Viva mentorship programme and how you can get involved.

Some discussion highlights are:
– How to identify a potential mentor;
– As a mentee, how to take leadership and initiative in the mentorship relationship;
– How to identify if you are ready to be a mentor.

About the Speaker:
Cindy Jensen is General Manager of BOLDMOVES CHINA, a consulting firm specialising in talent management with an emphasis on leadership training, change management and executive coaching.An entrepreneur with experience of working with MNCs, Cindy is also Vice Chair of the Canada China Business Council and a current student of the Rutgers EMBA program. Cindy has been living in China for over seven years.


August, 2009

Personal Branding

Tracy Driscoll, recruiter, career coach and communications specialist will present a talk on Personal Branding, outlining the reasons why more professionals are starting to pay attention to this topic today and why those who aren’t should be. Do you know how you are perceived? When was the last time you updated your resume and thought about personal presentation? Do you have an elevator pitch? And how could this knowledge help you achieve your goals? These questions and more will be explored.


July, 2009

Generation Y Women in the Workforce

Hannah Seligson is the author of two books and many articles on issues relating to young women and their careers. For her latest book, “New Girl on The Job”, she interviewed over a hundred women about their experiences in the workplace. During a special trip to China, she will share her insights on ‘Generation Y Women in the Workforce’. Join us if you are a Gen Y woman or if you want to deepen your understanding of this upcoming generation.


June, 2009


Being an entrepreneur is a state of mind, not a job description. Entrepreneurs drive business opportunities from nothing, whether independently or from within massive organizations. Your core expertise may be operations, sales, research, people or finance, but if you have the spirit you can be an entrepreneur. Sarah has experienced building, selling and closing her own companies, as well as being a hired gun to more traditional corporations. By leveraging her personal entrepreneurial style, she’s been able to drive significant new revenue models in a variety of industries and countries by always playing the customer advocate. Join us to learn how she did that, while raising three children and participating in numerous philanthropic organisations.

Sarah Bajc is currently Senior VP for hiSoft, a post in which she drives growth strategies to enable this global software outsourcing company to reach the worldwide top 10 ranking in the next few years. Before joining hiSoft, she drove domestic R&D partnerships for Microsoft in Beijing. Prior to that, Sarah ran US operations of an Israeli software quality firm, where she helped take the firm public in London. Before that, she founded four companies. Sarah began her career in Management Consulting.


May, 2009

Viva AGM and 1st Birthday Party

Wednesday 20th May sees Viva turn 1 year old! Join us for our annual general meeting (AGM) where we will hold elections for committee positions, including those of President, Programme Manager, Events Manager, Marketing Manager, Membership Benefits Manager and Secretary. Voting will be followed by a speech by King King Wang, Vice President at J.P. Morgan and Chase and an active member of the Dandelion Project, a grassroots organization of professional women in China who network and provide financial support for Chinese charities.The Dandelion Project capitalizes on international and local resources, and its expertise to ensure measurable improvements for women and children in China. Following this, it will be time for birthday celebrations, with cake, wine and networking.


April, 2009

Viva Speed Networking

(Members-only event)

Connect with like-minded people

This event will make it easy for you to meet fellow Viva members who share your professional interests. We have created 7 sub-groups based on industry – these include a legal and financial services sub-group, and one for people in the arts and creative fields, amongst others. At the event you will choose your 3 preferred groups and spend 15 minutes talking with each in turn. Following this there will be free flow networking.

Come along and get to know Viva members better than you ever have before!

Please note that our April event is exclusively for members only; to find out more about joining Viva, please check the MEMBERSHIP page.


March, 2009

MBTI: Who am I? Who are you?

Through this brief introduction to the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) the world’s most widely used personality indicator, you will start to understand and appreciate yourself and others better. Join us for this fun and interactive session to find out how you can communicate more effectively and build better relationships.

About the Speaker
Rosemary is a certified practitioner of MBTI, the world’s most widely used personality indicator, and has been applying Personality Type theory to her work for almost ten years. Rosemary has more than 20 years experience in corporate communications and organizational development. She has helped organizations through major change initiatives, designed and delivered leadership development training programs, lead corporate identity renewals and strategic marketing programs, and managed cross cultural education projects. Rosemary has lived and worked in Canada, Germany, Thailand, England and China.


February, 2009

CSR as Business Strategy

Ms Clare Pearson, CSR Manager of international law firm DLA Piper in Asia, will present the current trends in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in China and explain how CSR can represent a valuable competitive advantage during economic downturn.

Ms. Clare Pearson, is the CSR Manager of international law firm DLA Piper in Asia (Bangkok, Singapore, HK, Shanghai, Tokyo and Beijing). A UK qualified lawyer, her role involves advising clients on issues relating to corporate governance, supply chain management, environmental degradation and community/government relations. She provides a combination of legal advice and recommendations as to best practices in each field. Further responsibilities include establishing partnerships with government charities in China, sitting on clients’ ethics committees in Beijing and assisting with the international integration of DLA Piper’s Asia offices. She has worked at DLA Piper for ten years.


January, 2009

Viva January Event

Join us for our first event of 2009 with guest speaker Roberta Lipson, CEO of Chindex International and Chairman of the Board of United Family Hospitals. Roberta has a unique story to tell and we are thrilled that she will spend an evening sharing her trials and tribulations, disappointments and triumphs of business based in China.


December, 2008

Socialism Is Great! Book Talk* Members Only Christmas Special

Please note that this is a members-only event”Socialism Is Great” is a spirited memoir by a former Chinese factory worker who grew up in Nanjing, participated in the Tiananmen Square protest, and ended up an international journalist.

Lijia Zhang worked as a teenager in a factory producing missiles designed to reach North America, queuing every month to give evidence to the “period police” that she wasn’t pregnant. In the oppressive routine of guarded compounds and political meetings, Zhang’s disillusionment with “The Glorious Cause” drove her to study English, which strengthened her intellectual independence—from bright, western-style clothes, to organizing the largest demonstration by Nanjing workers in support of the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.

By narrating the changes in her own life, Zhang chronicles the momentous shift in China’s economic policy: her factory, still an ICBM manufacturer, won the bid to cast a giant bronze Buddha as the whole country went mad for profit.

Written in English, “Socialism Is Great!” is a testament to Zhang’s personal triumph over the controlled existence that was supposed to be her destiny.


November, 2008

How to Build Trust Across Cultures

Our speaker for the November event is Edith Coron, a global leadership and intercultural communication specialist based in Beijing, China. Edith provides a wide range of international corporations with coaching services and training programs in Global Competencies, Intercultural Awareness and Multicultural Team Building, amongst others. She has studied in the intercultural field with leading theoreticians and practitioners and is certified to deliver the Cultural Orientations Indicator® and trained in the REN Coaching Model© (coaching adapted to Chinese values).


October, 2008

Communicating in the Midst of Conflict

You may have learned how to be assertive and to be a good listener but how do you react to defensive responses? Communications training often overlooks this difficult area of conflict. This will be the focus of Kathryn Tonges’ talk in addition to understanding how to get your needs met without being a dictator or a doormat.


September, 2008

Viva supports the Women in Business Conference

Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Women

Are Women Leaders Born, Made or Do They “Make” Themselves?

Beijing’s First Annual Women in Business Conference will be a salute to the most successful business women in China. Throughout history, women have risen to the top of society becoming renowned leaders and thinkers. Today we can find women in the top layers of business, government, academia and almost everywhere we look, but we might have to look hard. In most fields women are unrepresented, and those who have in fact made it to the highest levels are rare. Women have made many substantial contributions to the world we live in, but the playing field is not level.

Women at the top have a certain quality and mindset that provides the fuel for their success. What are these character traits that drive successful women to the top? Is it realistic to think that all women can have these same opportunities if they are determined work hard? Or are there other factors that contribute to the success of super-star business women?


Diversity Programs The costs, benefits and “how-tos” of organizing

Work / Life Balance How do the most successful women achieve an effective balance?

Women Entrepreneurs What can they teach corporate executives about becoming even more effective?

Business Creativity Hear and learn from case studies of how women have made substantial contributions to their companies and their industries

Leadership Styles How do men and women differ in their leadership styles? How can we leverage our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses?

Boardroom Access For the senior-most women, gaining a seat on the corporate board is an important career goal. Planning for this can’t be too early, we need to start now. Strategies for being invited to join the board will be explored.

Financial Sector in Crisis Rarely seen in the industry, women are in fact major players in Finance. What do top-tier women predict will be the implications of the global credit crisis in the near term, the long term?

See for more information
Click on the banner to register and receive your 25% Viva member discount


September, 2008

Effective Networking for Women

Would you like to get more from your time spent networking? Our guest speaker, Angela Keane, will look at practical strategies to help you feel more confident and maximise the results of your networking.

Ms Keane is a senior training and coaching executive, drawing on over 20 years corporate experience spanning the UK, pan-Asian and global media markets. Ms Keane now runs her own training, coaching and facilitation business, which focuses on effective business communication, cross-cultural training and executive coaching. Clients include Boston Consulting Group, Novo Nordisk, Bayer, Siemens, European Union, The British Council, Nokia, Coca Cola.


August, 2008

VIVA Summer Members-Only Party!

The Hutong, a traditional hutong courtyard located close to the Lama Temple.

(This event is for VIVA members-only) Come and celebrate summer with the VIVA team and members! Our special members-only evening will start with champagne and snacks served on a beautiful hutong rooftop terrace and will be followed by a class in Chinese dumpling-making in The Hutong kitchen. This is a great chance to meet your fellow VIVA members in a relaxed and informal setting.


July, 2008

10 Strategies for Developing & Retaining High Potential Staff

Recruiting and retaining good staff is a universal problem and is particularly challenging in China. At this Viva event, guest speaker Stacy Palestrant, Executive Director of CHINA 2024 (a project of the management consulting firm Katzenbach Partners) will speak on “10 Strategies for Developing and Retaining Your High Potential Staff”. To be followed with networking, drinks and canape’s.


June, 2008

Analysing Financial Statements: A Brief Overview

Viva and Rutgers joint event

What are the strengths and weaknesses in your financial statements? Learn tips and techniques from Rutgers professor Suresh Govindaraj as he presents “Financial Statements: a brief overview” showing you ways to understand and analyse the performance of business corporations from different industries. Followed by networking, drinks & canape’s.

Top 3 benefits of attending:

– Learn tips and techniques to analyse performance of business corporations
– Learn how to integrate knowledge from different areas to solve business problems
– Knowledge gained will serve you well in starting your own business, running a company or managing your investments (including pension plans or retirement funds)

A student view of Prof. Govindaraj:
“I will never view a financial statement in the same way again. His courses changed all that. His approach is totally case-based, with cases (all financial statements from actual companies) sometimes just a few weeks old! Suresh is totally brilliant.”


May, 2008


Join us on the last Wednesday of this month for our first event of the year! Come along to hear Jeanne-Marie Gescher OBE, founder and CEO of Strategy Consultancy CGA ( ), speak on: “China – A Proxy for the Planet?” She will share some perspectives on China’s challenges, promise and direction in the context of planet, people and markets. Following the presentation, there will be networking, drinks & canapes.