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Lean In Beijing meets with Ambassador-at-Large for Women's Issues Catherine Russell

Ambassador Catherine Russel with Lean In Beijing

Selected members of Lean In Beijing, and affiliated Lean In Circles across Beijing, met with Ambassador-at-Large for Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell, in Beijing on Tuesday, May 20. Looking to engage young Chinese women business leaders, entrepreneurs, and business students, Russell held a Lean In-style roundtable to discuss their challenges and concerns.

Carrie Huang, a Renmin University Senior majoring in Business and founder of the Lean In Organization at Renmin University, had this to share:

“I’ve never before joined a group like Lean In which empowers girls and women so much to achieve our ambitions and goals with the support from one another. In traditional Chinese education, somehow we are always told to compete with others instead of gaining encouragement and cooperation in a team, so I think encouraging a circle-style environment can help us connect with female friends and peers using a positive and supportive system. Since Renmin University consists of almost 70% of female students it becomes more necessary and significant for us to spread these inspiring ideas on campus.

 

“[S]omehow we are always told to compete with others instead of gaining encouragement and cooperation in a team, so I think encouraging a circle-style environment can help us connect with female friends and peers using a positive and supportive system.”

 

“We set up Lean In open sit-in Circle meetings, inviting female students with the same interests in certain topics to form a group, where they can experience how circle works and what they can acquire in it. We also held 1-day coding program last month for female students to learn about how to code, which attracted almost 80 women! Even though there are still few students who aspire to lead a circle meeting, most of them told us they feel more confident and comfortable dealing with the challenges they meet with the peer support. Besides, I find that the positive power and encouragement from female role models plays an important role in young girls’ self development and confidence.

 

“With the great help of some of the professional ladies from Lean In Beijing, we have been trying to build a bridge between female students and mentors, a sharing platform for female students to get inspired by amazing professional ladies. For me personally, in these few months leading a team to construct the Lean In community on campus, I do feel this is what I would do if I weren’t afraid. Not only because it gives me a chance to practice my leadership skills, but also I learn to stick to what I really want to do with firm mind. Fear is always there and I may fail sometimes, but I know my friends and extended Lean In family will pick me up always.”

Other attendees included Gladys Chen, Founding Member of the Lean In Organization at Tsinghua University, Allison Ye, aspiring entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Lean In Beijing, Zhang Chao, aspiring entrepreneur and Founding Member of Lean In Beijing, Nini Suet, serial entrepreneur, Founder, President & CEO at Shang Learning, Yolanda Wang, Founder and Chief Editor of Lean In Beijing’s ThinkTank Newsletter, and Carol Li Rafferty, Founding Member of Lean In Beijing and Asia Pacific Counsel for Vermeer Corporation.

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