Julie-Anne Nichols, Deputy Consul-General, Australian Consulate-General, Guangzhou Senior Trade Commissioner, Austrade GuangzhouMs Nichols has held a range of Australia and Asia-based private and public positions. Over the past decade, her career has focussed on international trade promotion and facilitation, working for State and Federal-level Australian government agencies. Prior to joining the public service, Julie-Anne worked in consultancy and business development roles in Australia, China and Indonesia for Australian and international-based companies.
Julie-Anne holds undergraduate qualifications in International Business and Chinese language from Griffith University and an MBA from the Queensland University of Technology. She is married with three young children.
Julie-Anne assumed the position of Senior Trade Commissioner, Guangzhou in late March 2013. Her posting to Guangzhou will see her celebrate a personal milestone of 20 years of engagement with China, much of which has been spent in-country.
Ms Maree Ringland, Counsellor, Public Affairs and Culture, at the Australian Embassy in BeijingMs Maree Ringland took up her role as Counsellor, Public Affairs and Culture, at the Australian Embassy in Beijing in February, 2016.
In her 12 years in between stints in China, she worked on bilateral trade negotiations with China (2005-2008), served as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Chile (2009-2012), edited the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report (2013) and returned to trade negotiations, this time with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) (2013-2015).
She has a Masters in International Relations from Monash University and a Combined Asian Studies/Law Degree (with honours) from the Australian National University. She speaks Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish.
Mr Kevin Li, President of the ACAA South China CommitteeMr Kevin Li, President of the ACAA South China Committee and former Chairman of the Executive Board, Australian Chamber of Commerce – South China. He is also Executive Director of the Concorde Investment Management Group of Companies. Kevin is an alumnus of Victoria University.
Ms Ella Rong, Exams Associate Marketing Director, British Council China
Ella Rong is working for British Council China as Exams Associate Marketing Director. She plays a key role in the development of the China marketing strategy, branding and promotional programs. Ella puts all of her efforts in promoting IELTS mission, helping candidates to understand IELTS exams and smoothly integrate into overseas life via preparing IELTS and improve their English communication skills. Ella also developed CSR programs such as ‘Outside world’, ‘the test shaped by your needs’ to support students in rural area and disabled candidates to deliver the equal opportunity and social responsibility of British Council. By managing ‘IELTS Star’ program, Ella keeps inviting outstanding IELTS candidates to share their test preparation and overseas experience to more Chinese students.
Prior to joining the British Council, Ella worked at OgilvyOne, and accumulated solid experience in advertising and marketing.
Ella holds a Master degree from The University of Melbourne and was living in Melbourne for 4 years, she always feels grateful for the experience in Australia.
Mr Darren Burns, President, Weber Shandwick China
As President of Weber Shandwick China, Darren Burns is responsible for delivering business growth and setting the strategic direction for the agency in one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic markets.
Whilst successfully steering Weber Shandwick’s operations in China to profitability and growth, he has ensured that the agency remained committed to contributing to local communities and charitable causes. Through its “Access to Opportunity” platform launched in 2014, the agency is championing inclusivity and opportunities for young people and disadvantaged communities in China, working with the China AIDS Walk, Chunhui Children, and Save the Children on various initiatives. These efforts have helped place the agency at the top of R3’s 2015 China PR Scope agency ranking for “strength in corporate social responsibility” and earned Save the Children the Gold Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year - in Asia (China, Japan and Korea) at the 2015 International Business Awards.
He joined as Managing Director of the firm’s Shanghai and Guangzhou operations 2006. Before that, Burns was Managing Director of GolinHarris in Taiwan were he led global award-winning campaigns for Yahoo!, Kimberly-Clark, New Zealand Meat and Wool, and Merck. He started his career in Asia as a journalist and marketing consultant in 1996.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Darren is a regular industry commentator in Chinese and regional press and was named Most Influential PR Leader of 2014 at the China Business & Media Leaders Forum.
Ms Lei Cheng, Anchor of CCTV-NewsOriginally from Hunan, Cheng Lei is a Chinese turned Aussie, accountant turned reporter and multi-award winning television anchor and producer. Beijing based, Cheng Lei is a Certified Practicing Accountant having graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Queensland (UQ) in 1995.
Cheng Lei began her professional career in Australia, holding accountancy and business analyst roles with Cadbury Schweppes and ExxonMobil immediately following University. She returned to China in 2000 as Business Analyst for Luneng Finemores Logistics – a Sino-Australian logistics joint venture. It was here she garnered a taste for the stories behind China’s fast-changing economy and began reporting on China’s business and economic issues spending 9 years as the China Correspondent for CNBC Asia from 2003. She began her media career at CCTV-News in 2002 and returned in 2012. As a bi-lingual television journalist and anchor, Lei has continued to bring Chinese business news to global audiences and global business stories to Chinese viewers in both English and Mandarin. The UQ Commerce Degree proved the perfect grounding enabling her to accurately interpret the market and the essence and rationale of business globally and within the Australia-China relationship.
She continues to be an Australian government accredited translator between Chinese and English. Among her translation achievements are the Communicate in Chinese series of textbooks, CCTV, Ride with Mr Wright, The Travel Channel in 2014 and monthly articles in the China Tourism magazine, HKCTP.
A frequent visitor to Australia, where she previously lived for sixteen years, she is a sought-after Master of Ceremonies and Host for major events including the Australia China Alumni Awards 2010, 2012 and 2013. She also hosted the Gala celebrating 40 years of Australia-China education ties in Canberra in 2012, the Australia China Business Awards in Beijing in 2013, the American Express China Business Travel Forum from 2005 and co-hosted the APEC Women Leadership Forum this year. She remains a successful and popular Host and media interviewer in both Australia and China.
Ms Cheng continues to contribute to promoting cross-cultural understanding, building lasting friendships, academic and business partnerships and professional educational opportunities across China and Australia. Cheng Lei has volunteered her teaching services and experience at numerous community associations and schools. She has also continued to give presentations in career guidance for the young.