Board of Directors
Miki Cutuli Valdivieso, Executive Director of Community Center Shanghai since June, 2023
Miki is an Italian-Spanish citizen, who has been living in Shanghai for six years. A mom of three kids, she is an active part of the community offering parenting support from pregnancy to teenage years.
Miki graduated in Marketing from the Universitá degli Studi di Milano, Italy and holds two Masters in Education specializing in the Montessori method. A long-time expat, she has lived and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Thailand, and China growing professionally and gaining experience as the Head of Business and Marketing Director in previous roles. She loves traveling and is a big picnic fan. You can spot her around the most natural areas of Shanghai playing with her kids or enjoying the best brunches in town as being a foodie is in her DNA.
Miki is a certified positive discipline educator, doula, lactation consultant, holistic sleep coach, and NLP coach. In China, she has served as a business consultant and school principal, creating connections, supporting families, and individuals during their journey in the country we call home.
Tess Robinson, Chair of the Board
It is the Fit the Counts! Tess Robinson is the Founder and Managing Partner of TEAM Education Consulting Company. Tess has been assisting students in preparing for and applying to boarding school, college and universities in the U.S since 1998. Due to the unique circumstances of college admissions for international students, Tess developed a family-based counseling practice in Shanghai in 2011. Student admissions since then include, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Amherst, Swarthmore, Pomona, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania and many others. Prior to TEAM Education, Tess worked professionally in the fields of finance, marketing and consulting. She has worked as a tutor and volunteered in schools in the US to help students achieve their personal bests since her college days. Tess is a graduate of Harvard Business School where she earned a M.B.A. and Stanford University where she earned an AB in International Relations. She has also earned her certificate in College Admissions Counseling at University of California, Los Angeles. Tess speaks English, French and Spanish and is conversant in Mandarin Chinese.
Tess has served as the Chairman of the Board for the Community Centre Shanghai for five years. She served as the president of the Yew Chung International School parent organization (POP) for 9 years. She is a member of both NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors) and IECA (Independent Education Consultants of America). She has lived in Shanghai for over 13 years with her husband and three sons, who attend Pomona College, Stanford University and Yew Cheng International School, respectively.
Jon Brantingham, Executive Committee
Jon Brantingham was born and raised in Taiwan and is the fourth generation in his family to live and work in China. As CEO of Brantingham Manufacturing (China), he has developed a thriving business that exports to markets in three continents. He and his wife Judy, are parents of four active boys and one daughter. Jon plays basketball and golf when time allows. Jon serves on the board of Concordia International School Shanghai, and relates to prison ministry project in Taiwan that he helped to start and develop.
Jon has served on the CCS board since 2003. As the longest board member for CCS, he has assumed different roles, including chairman, Vice chairman, and Executive Committee.
Regina, an avid explorer and super connector, is always on the lookout for new experiences in the city she’s called home for 14 years. Born in San Francisco, she moved to Shanghai from Chengdu in 2009 where she pursued her career in brand innovation with Diageo and other premium lifestyle brands.
An action-driven executive with 25+ years of experience, she is a can-do community builder with a mission to unite and connect across diverse groups and around urgent topics. A mother of 2 girls, she has been engaged in the international community as a business professional, parent leader, fitness enthusiast, world traveler, art, fashion, and dining expert. She has been the face of stigma-breaking campaigns around mental health as much as the she’s been the go-to person for advice on how to live your best life in Shanghai.
Her alma maters include the University of California at Berkeley, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and the Harvard Kennedy School, earning her B.S. and double Masters MBA | MPA degree, respectively. She has lived and worked in the US, China, Thailand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the Philippines.
Steve Winkelman serves as the Head of School at Concordia International School Shanghai. Since July 2021. Steven Winkelman is a U.S. citizen who graduated from Concordia University Texas with a degree in Secondary Education specializing in Science and Physical Education. Early in his career, he worked in several private schools in the U.S. as a middle school Science and P.E. teacher. He received a Masters of Education from Saginaw Valley State University in Educational Leadership. Steve has served as the founding Head of School at Concordia International School Hanoi from 2009 – 2021.
Over the past 27 years Steve has served as a teacher, administrator and new school developer in both the United States and Vietnam. As the founding head of Concordia Hanoi, Steve was intimately involved in all aspects of the school’s development including the design and construction of a purpose-built campus, recruiting teachers and staff, developing curriculum and programs, and strengthening community and government relations. He has extensive experience in school development, educational consulting, government relations, and strategic planning in both the United States and Asia. Throughout his career, Steve has served on multiple not-for-profit boards including the past seven years as a board member for the American Chamber of Commerce.
Steve married Amy Black 26 years ago and the couple has two college age children, Joshua and Elizabeth. The family enjoys traveling and hiking in the mountains of Colorado during the summer. During his free time, Steve enjoys training and participating in triathlons. He has completed multiple short and Olympic distance events and is hoping to complete an Ironman 70.3 in the next year.
Ioana has been based in Shanghai since June 2003. She joined the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (European Chamber) in 2004 and served as General Manager of the Shanghai Chapter from October 2009 to October 2022.
She was responsible for implementation and development of European Chamber objectives, visibility, membership and advocacy activities on a regional level in Shanghai and neighbouring regions on behalf of the Chapter’s over 600 member companies. Ioana was also a member of the Management Committee of the European Chamber and involved in the overall strategic planning of European Chamber Government Affairs activities at national level, including annual Position Papers, Business Confidence Surveys and other Chamber publications.
Nigel is originally from Australia, a father of two children, and has been residing in Shanghai since 2020. He is a registered psychologist and serves as the Director of Student Support Services at the Shanghai American School Pudong campus. Nigel has extensive experience implementing sustainable changes within international school communities, particularly in areas such as student wellbeing, safeguarding, and inclusive support systems for all learners. He has also previously served on the CCS counseling committee.
Ruth de Pater
Ruth de Pater is an American who has spent the majority of her life in China. Soon after graduating from university with a degree in International Studies, she moved to Yunnan in 1997 to study Chinese language and work. In 2002, she relocated to Shanghai and has been here ever since.
Ruth is an ICF accredited life and leadership coach, specializing in cross cultural dynamics and transitions. She supports a variety of clients across the globe, most of whom are in an expat setting.
Over the years, Ruth has been involved in various charity projects, including serving orphans, the homeless, and people with disabilities. She has been actively engaged in community events, international fellowships, and blood drives. She regularly speaks at seminars on topics related to active listening, personal growth, and relationships. Ruth loves travelling, good food, meaningful relationships, and including others. She is married cross-culturally to a Dutch citizen, and both of her kids were born and raised in Shanghai.
Melissa Lam has been one of the pioneers of Education First (EF) China and has helped the company develop since its startup phase in a number of executive positions. Melissa joined EF in 2001 and has been based in China since 2005.
Melissa currently coordinates the shared services teams for EF China and heads up operations for the English Courses Adults division, managing over 750 service staff and teachers. In addition, she is the chief representative for EF China.
EF is the world’s largest privately-held education company with 20 business units that offer a range of programs including language training, educational travel, academic degrees and cultural exchange. In China, EF has grown from a startup to an enterprise with 20,000+ employees in over 60 cities in the last 20 years and has become one of the most recognized brands amongst Chinese consumers.
Prior to joining EF, Melissa worked in the investment banking division of Credit Suisse, an international financial services company, in corporate development at Oak Industries Inc., a NYSE-traded telecommunications component provider, and was a Research Associate at Harvard Business School. She also taught finance at the Boston University School of Management.
Melissa is a graduate of Wellesley College (BA) and Harvard Business School (MBA). She was awarded a Magnolia Silver Award by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government in 2018.
Emeritus Board Members
Patrick Hopkins came to Shanghai nearly 20 years where he founded a health insurance service company with his wife. It was a pioneer in the field in China. The firm merged with a Paris based MSH International in 2009 and became MSH China. Patrick continues to serve MSH as a Senior Advisor.
Patrick might be best described by the moniker of the “Old Asia Hand”. He studied in the early1970’s in Tokyo at Sophia University where he received both his Bachelor and Masters degrees in East Asian Studies. He has been in Asia ever since. First with an NGO in Indonesia and later Pakistan doing economic development and refugee work. In the late 1980’s a career change landed him in the financial services industry where he earned the CFP designation while base in Manila.
Patrick is an active Rotarian. He was a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Shanghai and was a Past President of the Rotary Club of Pudong Lujiazui where he is a Board Member. The Rotary International motto of “Service Above Self” is his guiding principle. Patrick’s wife Céline and 13 year old son are with him in Shanghai. His 2 older children are studying at Universities in the United States. Patrick has been on the board of Community Center Shanghai since 2016.
Emily Sargent-Beasley serves as the Shanghai American School, Pudong Head of Campus. Her professional life here in Shanghai brings her great joy as she engages in a community that is passionate about learning. Her international career includes serving as the Assistant Superintendent at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel and as the Curriculum Coordinator at the American International School Chennai, India. Prior to her international move, Emily served on the faculty of James Madison University in Virginia. And, like many educational leaders, began her career in the coveted role of classroom teacher.
Zhen Zeng-Liao is currently Director of Marketing and Operations for a startup agricultural company, Innosus Technology Shanghai. From 2016 to 2019, Zhen served as Executive Director of Community Center Shanghai.
Born and grew up in China, Zhen pursued graduate study at The University of Michigan with a Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Driven with purpose living principle, Zhen’s professional life spans in many different industries and roles. She worked at Fortune500 companies such GE Plastics, The Dow Chemical Company, and Dow Corning Shanghai; Zhen also has years of NGO and volunteer management experiences.
Zhen is a mother of 3 children. Zhen appreciate whole-child education philosophy, she believes the best education is to inspire children to thrive in their own strength and take action to better our society.
Mark Fischer has been building successful sports and media businesses in Asia for more than 25 years.
He is currently CEO of Eastbridge Sports Management, a Shanghai-based agency providing sports marketing, management, and advisory services to brands, rights holders, and related entities seeking growth opportunities in China and other key markets in the region.
Mark has long been a pioneer in bringing global sports properties to Asia. His leadership in this area has included the following roles:
- NBA China Managing Director: built from a two-person office to a valuation of $2.3 billion in less than five years.
- UFC Asia EVP & Managing Director: created the promotion’s regional footprint and grew audience and revenues each more than 10-fold.
- East Asia Super League (EASL): established commercial operations for this emerging regional basketball club championship.
Prior to joining NBA, Mark spent nearly a decade in sales and marketing management roles in Asia, first in Taiwan and later in Beijing, for several electronics and media entities.
Proficient in Mandarin, the Boston native earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor’s in History from the University of Michigan. Mark is passionate about creating value, not only for his business constituents, but also for charity and community initiatives. He currently serves as board member or advisor for a half-dozen community service organizations.
Dean Larson is a multinational senior executive with over 25+ year’s international experience concentrated in the finance and strategic leadership areas. He is currently Group CEO of Modern Chemical Group in Bangkok, Thailand after previously serving as President and Co-Founder of a global executive management consulting firm and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) across multiple organizations, industries, and geographies. Dean, an avid Huskies fan, received a BA from the U. of Washington and an MBA from The Wharton School at U. of Pennsylvania. He and his wife of over 30 years have raised 3 global daughters who reside in the U.S. A principle-centered leader, Dean’s focus is on teaching and mentoring others while expanding the gospel of Jesus at every opportunity.
Dr. Nathan D. Showalter
Nate is an American who has lived half of his adult life in Asia (Hong Kong, Taipei, and Shanghai). Previously, Nate has worked in community and leadership development roles in Africa, Asia and North America, and has worked and traveled in more than 50 countries and six continents. He enjoys biking, reading, writing, learning about the history and culture of China, and traveling to new places with family and friends. Nate and Chris are parents of Eli who graduated from Concordia International School Shanghai in 2007. Nate served as Executive Director of Community Center Shanghai from 2003 – 2009 and later served on the board until 2017. He now lives in Hong Kong.
Dr. Christina Showalter
Chris and her husband Nate moved to Shanghai in 2003 and served as co-Executive Directors of Community Center Shanghai until 2009. During these years they grew the Center beyond Pudong, and expanded its reach into counseling, charity projects, newcomer orientation, and various fundraising initiatives. Chris served on the Community Center Board from 2003 to 2009. Earlier Chris worked for World Vision in Asia and the US and after moving to Hong Kong with Nate in 1988, she pioneered World Vision’s first development projects in China. After leaving World Vision, she developed a private practice in training, consulting and executive coaching. She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in the US. Chris currently continues her leadership development work in China and Asia from the Showalter home in Hong Kong.
Dr. Mary Scott
Dr. Mary Scott is the Head of School at Concordia International School Shanghai. Mary, her husband Dan, and daughter Anna moved from Irvine, California to Shanghai in 2016. Previously Mary served at Concordia University Irvine. During her career in education Dr. Scott has taught courses in exercise and sport science, education, health and leadership. She has mentored student teachers and built university academic programs in athletics, leadership and international studies. Mary held several administrative positions in Irvine including Athletic Director, Vice President of Administration and Executive Vice President of the University. Dr. Scott holds a Bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago, a Master’s degree from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York and an Ed.D from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She has written chapters in several books on higher education and women’s leadership. Mary has a passion for learning. She loves working in a school and finds conversations with colleagues and students invigorating. When she’s not in school, Mary can be found with her family. They love to travel, read, play games, and watch movies together. Mary and her husband enjoy golfing and scuba diving together.
Dr. Fenny Ang
Dr. Fenny Ang joined the CCS board in 2019. She is an Associate Certified Coach (International Coaching Federation) and an accredited Cultural Intelligence (CQ TM) Facilitator. She serves clients in Shanghai and across the region in executive coaching, cross-cultural coaching, transition management, leadership development and team development. As part of her coaching repertoire, she also provides life-coaching services to individuals who are interested in personal development or are at the crossroad of life changing events impacting their studies, careers, relationships and self-identities. She is a Path TM leader with the LBJ Ministries, and work with people to find and live their mission and vision statements. Prior to Shanghai, Dr. Ang has lived and worked in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and USA. She has worked in Human Resources and management consulting for the past 20 years. She held senior regional HR positions in Reckitt Benckiser and World Vision, and had senior consultant roles with IBM and Accenture. Dr. Ang obtained her PhD in International Business from University of South Australia and received her M.A. in Educational Leadersihp from Western Michigan University. She currently is a board member of Tirzah International, a Christian NGO, which works alongside local partners in Africa, Asia and South America to champion against modern slavery, oppression and poverty of women worldwide.
Stella Si served as the Executive Director of CCS from July 2011 to December 2015. She graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and received a Master’s Degree in Communications from Penn State University. She has worked in New York for over 18 years in the fashion, PR and merchandising. Stella returned to Shanghai with her husband’s expat assignment in 2005, and worked for CCS as the Marketing Director from 2007-2009. She initiated the CCS Gala, Spelling Bee, and the Bazaar. Stella then became the General Manager of E&A Shanghai Branch, a Fashion PR Agency that serves luxury brands in China, with clients such as Calvin Klein, Dsquared, Dolce Gabbanna, DKNY, and Armani Exchange. Ms. Si is married to Dr. John Hu and they have two children.