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Every good story has a beginning, a middle and a twist!
Just like every other China expat story, Ashleigh Au arrived in China as just another wide-eyed 20-something Chinese language student. She quickly set her sights on skyrocketing economic growth and the prospect of exciting, off the beaten path, professional development. She planned for grad-school, gaining China work experience, and a bright and sunny future.
Unexpectedly, the next decade would turn into a whirlwind of surprises. Landing a job to work for celebrity entrepreneur billionaires and getting “knocked-up”by a younger boyfriend threw her blueprint to the wind.
What was meant to be a "China stint" quickly turned into a decade of challenging “China-life”, a roller coaster of navigating love and marriage, mothering, and navigating a demanding career as a business executive.
Ashleigh is now a Beijing-based Communications and Public Relations Consultant. She recently dedicated seven years of her career to SOHO China, where she led international facing public relations, and directed the SOHO China Scholarships a $100 million philanthropic initiative.
Over dinner Ashleigh will share how her career in PR taught her the power of storytelling and perception, tools that have propelled her professional and personal growth. She will also open up on the pros and cons of spending a decade in China as a young woman professional as she divulges her real-life “Ugly Betty” transformation from awkward to awesome in a Chinese corporation, and the struggle of making “Women Can Have It All” in Beijing, a reality.
Ashleigh Au is a Communications and Public Relations Consultant based in Beijing. She recently served SOHO China for seven years as Special Assistant to CEO and Secretary of the SOHO China Scholarships. During this time Ashleigh led international public relations for China’s best-recognized real estate development company with 5.5 million square meters of iconic properties, while directing publicity and communications for China’s foremost woman business leader and celebrity entrepreneur. As Secretary of the SOHO China Scholarships, Ashleigh steered the US $100 million philanthropic initiative to provide financial aid to Chinese students at top international universities.
Ashleigh holds a BA from the University of Toronto in East Asian and Latin American Studies and a Graduate Certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. She serves as Advisor to the Canada China Business Council Beijing and Advisor to G(irls) 20, a social enterprise dedicated increasing female labor force participation around the world. Ashleigh is fluent in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. She lives with her husband and two sons in Beijing, China.