Having community service experience back in college, I always find it extremely satisfying and fun to help people in need. I still regularly participate in some charity programs on weekends, like visiting sick children, the disabled and elderly. But most of them are short- term programs requiring several hours top of commitment. Although they are more sensitive to my schedules, my contribution there is relatively limited.
With a 2-month break coming, I was looking for something “big”. But again, all I could find were nothing different from what I had been doing. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me about VA, a company helping social ventures, NOGs and charity foundations set better strategies and maximize their social benefits. After a glimpse of its website, I got a clear picture of VA, and more importantly, I noticed that they were offering long-term internship. I had not hesitated a second to send out my CV.
Then I started my first assignment at VA in November, a journey to the disaster areas of 512 earthquake, the rural and mountainous area in Sichuan and Gansu. Those areas are probably among the poorest in China. Although aids have been sent to them in the post-earthquake reconstruction, some counties are still suffering. The hospitals in big cities are way too far for the villagers because of the poor transportation, while the hospitals nearby can't provide sufficient medication.
We evaluated the medical environment in more than 18 counties, over 120 hospitals, and advise One foundation on how to improve those hospitals nearby. We tried to figure out their demand on training and medical devices, based on interviews with the directors of the county health bureaus and hospitals, visits in person to the hospitals and patients’ feedbacks.
There were plenty of memories I would never forget. Some were less joyful, like bumping along the mountain roads that only jeeps could travel, getting stuck in the muddy roads for hours, shivering in the cold winds, being mistaken for liars by some patients; while some were great fun, like the joys and extraordinary views along the trip, delicious local cuisines and most importantly, that I helped hundreds of thousands of people there live better. Imagine that when I went back in years, life there would be totally different because of my efforts.
I got some other assignments in Beijing and Xi’an afterwards helping village women and immigrant workers. The internship at VA gives me not only the opportunities to contribute, which I would probably never get on other occasions, but also great stories to share. Although it is a combination of challenges and joys, it's totally worth it.
Maria Pang joined VA Fellowship Program as a Business Development Fellow in September 2010. At this role, Maria is responsible for new business development focusing on CSR practice and international partner development.
Maria is currently a senior student double majoring in English and Economics in Tsinghua University. In school she is a straight A student and she was the president of Foreign Language Association. Maria has working experience as an intern in both public and private sectors, including Honeywell Aerospace, National Broadcasting Company (USA), International College Zhejiang University as well as Hangzhou East Software Park. As an exchange student, Maria also had a wealth of international experiences in Australia, United States, Mexico and in Hong Kong.
Maria has great enthusiasm for charity and NGOs. With her talents in communication and project management, she looks forward to seeing her impact on philanthropy.
Consultant at VA, Ye was a consultant in Boston Consulting Group. Her experience mainly focused on consumer goods industry. Meanwhile, Ye was also involved in the development of social impact practice area for BCG.
At BCG, Ye has worked with both international and local companies
- Mainly served consumer goods industry, e.g. apparel/fashion, beverage companies
- Helped to develop strategies covering topics of branding, market entry, channel development, retailing, organization etc
As for social innovation strategy, Ye has supported several consultancy projects studying business models incl. microfinance practices
- Developed partnership business model (to involve non-profit and for-profit institutions) addressing social issues while simultaneously generating commercial benefits
Ye holds a B.S. degree of Finance from Fudan University’s School of management, and is a MBA candidate at The Wharton School , University of Pennsylvania (enrolled by 2011)
From March of 2013, I joined in the Fellowship Program, responsible for the investigation and evaluation for social enterprises. During the past 3 months, I worked on 18social enterprises in succession, learning their programs, evaluating theirbusiness models, and trying to provide advices.
The enterprises I contacted focus on different fields. However, the entrepreneurs have something in common. That is the undivided attention to social problems and great passion for their careers. Besides, I’m also attracted by their amazing thoughts about business models. With these feelings, every effort I made in my work brought me great sense of achievement.
In three-month time, this program taught me a lot. When countless young people, including myself, dive for business area for high income, Venture Avenue told me that our value should have contained richer contents.
Lynn is currently a senior student in Zhejiang University, major in Economics, minor in English.
Prior to VA, Calvin has been with a domestic NGO evaluation center as an analyst. He has rich evaluation experience, for example:
- 2013 China social organization grading (nearly 100 organizations) in a city; responsible for evaluation indicator design, field visit, evaluation report writing
- Assessment of a social organization incubation base; responsible for coordinating interim and final evaluation
- Impact investment evaluation of 25 social projects in a city
- Evaluation of 38 community social organizations in a city
Calvin holds an M.S. degree in Philosophy from zhongshan University, and a B.S. degree in Social Science from Nanjing University
Ada Xie joined VA Fellowship Program in April 2017 as an analyst in impact investing. Prior to joining VA, Ada worked for United Nations, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bain & Company. She has diverse experience in the industry. Her major responsibility includes impact investing analysis，foundation establishment and operation and partnership management with international organizations.
Ada has strong passion for the combination of philanthropy and business. She is seeking wider applications and practice of impact investing in China, which can create sustainable business benefits while solving social problems.
Ada Xie graduated from University of Southern California with a dual degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She is admitted into The Silver Scholars Program at Yale University and is now an MBA candidate at Yale School of Management (enrolled in 2017). The program admits at most 20 students globally each year.
I graduated from Tsinghua University with English and Economics dual degree. I have three-year work experience in a technology consulting company, first as Big Data Analyst in Shanghai Office, then as Product Manager in New York office. I am going to continue to pursue MBA degree in University of California Berkeley, U.S. in 2018 Fall.
Philanthropy is a seed buried in my heart. Influenced by my doctor parents, I always eager to do things that can generate more positive social impact. I volunteered in Africa in university and created an online philanthropic project platform after my graduation. During my stay in the U.S., I was attracted by the concept of Tech for Good – using technology to empower philanthropy and obtain sustainable development, and intended to make it happen in China. However, without enough knowledge about current Chinese philanthropy landscape, I decided to learn from the basic. Then I found VA’s fellowship program, a perfect choice for my two-month gap.
I was very lucky to participate in a family foundation strategy project. I played a major role in the human resource part throughout the whole project and developed monthly news watch for the foundation customer. At the meantime, thanks to VA’s culture of flexibility, I learned a lot about different philanthropic topics by supported several projects related to impact investment, social financing, etc.
What impressed me most is VA’s value service - how to thoroughly dig out group values and clearly identify them. Philanthropy is by nature a domain strongly driven by values. Only with shared values can an organizations effectively carry its mission, unite people and make profound impact. Yet, values are often deeply buried under the daily activities and very difficult to tell. With methods such as sand play and WeValue workshop, VA guides the participants to 360° talk to themselves and expose their real thoughts to further benefit themselves and their organizations.
I am honored to be a part of VA, a family with ideas and actions. I hope that we have the opportunity to continue to empower Chinese philanthropy together in the near future.Ada Xie joined VA Fellowship Program in April 2017 as an analyst in impact investing. Prior to joining VA, Ada worked for United Nations, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bain & Company. She has diverse experience in the industry. Her major responsibility includes impact investing analysis，foundation establishment and operation and partnership management with international organizations.
Sherry Shou joined VA as a PTA in July 2013. At this role, Sherry was involved in social enterprises evaluation projects, through which she gained first-hand experience and insights about social entrepreneurship in China. After undergrad graduation, she joined Unilever management trainee program, and later worked for NetEase and Mercedes Benz. Her experience mainly focused on commercial brand management.
Sherry has strong passion for the synergy of philanthropy and business. She rejoined VA as a fellow in 2019, and actively involved in various projects including strategic planning, impact evaluation, fundraising and INGO project evaluation. She learned a lot from these projects covering topics such as woman health, rural education, social assistance and climate change, and gained many valuable insights from different players in the philanthropic sector. She looks forward to seeing her impact on social innovation in the long run.
Sherry graduated from Renmin University of China with a dual degree in International Politics and Journalism. She is now an MBA candidate at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (enrolled in 2020).