Congratulations to the Winners of the Women Leadership Awards 2017!

IPWS Announces the Winners of the Women Leadership Awards 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to our winners, our finalists and the nominees of this year’s Women Leadership Awards. The WLA recognises professional women who have emerged as leaders in their field. As leaders, these inspiring women (and since 2016, men supporting women) have made a marked difference in our community and have forged paths for others to follow.

From over 75 nominations, the Women Leadership Award Jury selected 12 finalists and on Friday 2nd June at the IPWS Leadership Summit powered by IE Business School, we announced the following winners!

Business Leader of the Year:

Veronique Toully, VP, Head of Operations China, SEAK and Australia, UCB

Young Business Leader of the Year:

Michelle Li, Founder and CEO – Sorority China

Entrepreneur of the Year:

Cathy Hsu, Co-Founder – Jiliguala

Social Contributor of the Year:

Shari D. Rosen PhD, Program Director – The Essential Learning Group (ELG)

Innovator of the Year:

Michelle Li, Founder and CEO – Sorority China

HeforShe Man of the Year:

Jochen Christian Müller, Director Purchasing Automotive Greater China – Schaeffler Group Greater China


The Jury shared how they decided upon the winners, after a lengthy review, interview and scoring process using the award criteria.  

Veronique Toully – Winner – Business Leader of the Year (Award received by Grace Xiao, Veronique’s UCB colleague)

Veronique Toully came to Shanghai, China in January 2013 as managing director of UCB China. She joined UCB in 2004 and was appointed Managing Director of UCB Australia in 2010. She was previously Vice President G3P – Global Patients, Payers and Providers – in charge of Global Outcomes Research & Pricing/Reimbursement strategies, Market Research and Marketing & Access Innovation in UCB global headquarters in Brussels Belgium. Prior to joining UCB, Veronique had 10 years of consulting experience in pricing and reimbursement for drugs and medical devices, as well as working for leading Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms. She is a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine with an MBA (HEC, Paris) and a Diploma in Health Economics from the University of York (UK). She has two daughters with whom she has done extensive travelling in Asia Pacific exploring local cultures and understanding people during her 4-year in China as the head of China operations.

Veronique is a scientist who has transitioned to world class business women after a successful career with UCB. She is truly a business leader in her field, and has engaged in the community as such. Veronique is smart in bringing high stakeholders together, strategic influencing, with a business edge, while being passionate about her sector.

In her role as Head of Operations China, SEAK and Australia, UCB, Veronique is a significant role model for her team and has inspired her colleagues to submit her application without her knowing. Great presence. Humbled, gravitas of senior leader, she recognizes cross-sectoral business advantages and takes good edge out of it.

Michelle Li – Winner – Innovator of the Year and Young Business Leader of the Year (above right)

Michelle Li is the Founder and CEO of Sorority China. Born in Beijing, China and transplanted to the opposite end of the world to Eugene, Oregon, at a young age she experienced the diverse and polar opposite lifestyles of the East and West. After university in the U.S. where she was a member of a sorority, Michelle returned back to China to begin her career in the corporate world, where she was involved in the roll-out of Mercedes-Benz China dealer wide training and customer satisfaction programs. Transitioning to management consulting fields, Michelle was the Head of China for U.K. based CEO development firm where she co-authored a business leadership book based on candid interviews with over 150 Chinese entrepreneurs and CEOs. Her last role she was responsible for leading Chinese capital overseas investment in the fashion, retail, and consumer wearable early stage and PE deals. Ten years later, Michelle dreadfully blew out the candles on her 30th birthday cake and began the current and most exhilarating phase of her life. Entrepreneurship in China has brought her more wrinkles and sleepless nights than imagined, and finding the right people, partners and projects to work on has been more of a long marathon than simply business. However, her belief in the support and freedom a young woman should have while working and living in China has been her driving passion for Sorority China.

The Jury found Michelle to be Impressive across both categories. She has such passion and is able to see what she accomplishes and can communicate this very well. Through her work as Founder & CEO – Sorority China, Michelle knows the small vs big picture and she keeps herself in constant movement. The jury recognises her creativity, and how she can understand the audience and offer what it wants, but also reaches a huge trendy market. In both categories, Michelle has addressed a social issue tackled with business mindset. She shows Charisma and has Innovation against odds through creative leadership, and the Jury congratulations her on turning the impossible into things possible.

Cathy Hsu – Winner – Entrepreneur of the Year (above left)

Born in Taipei, raised in Shanghai, Cathy sees China as a second home. After graduating from New York University, she worked for PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin in San Francisco. In 2008, Cathy brought Max’s Slide, Inc. to Shanghai and set up its only international division. She quickly grew the team from 2 to 25 in less than year, and together, they released one of Slide’s leading products, SPP Ranch. In 2009, Slide was acquired by Google. At Google, Cathy led the product marketing efforts for the Slide business unit. She also became a mother, and itched to try her hand at entrepreneurship. In 2014, Cathy left Google to build Jiliguala. Today, Jiliguala has more than 6 million registered users and growing.

By founding Jiliguala, Cathy has taken a leap but also has a strong long term vision for her company. Jiliguala is an English learning app dedicated to helping kids in China realise their full potential to learn the English language. The jury acknowledges that through her company, Cathy has achieved a lot. She is a sharp and fast thinker, aligned with her industry trend, and her app has a high potential market value. She is naturally curious and an eloquent communicator.

Shari Rosen – Winner – Social Contributor of the Year (above middle)

Dr. Shari Rosen is a Speech-Language Pathologist, Founder of The Essential Learning Group (ELG), Program Director at ELG, and Board Member of Xiersen Service Center. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, in which she researched early communication for at-risk toddlers who had low birth weight and were premature. She began her career working with physically challenged children, teaching and supervising at Emerson College and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Later, she worked at the University of Washington, Seattle, at the Center for Human Development and Disorders, where she supervised graduate students and participated in comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluations. Dr. Rosen moved to Shanghai in 2003, where she began to provide support services, working as a volunteer to empower students, teachers and parents. She soon became frustrated with the lack of services for children with special needs in Shanghai, and decided to stay in China to help create change. In 2006, she founded ELG, a social enterprise dedicated to providing high-quality special education, developmental, behavioral and mental health services. Dr. Rosen also helped found Xiersen, ELG’s sister NGO for Chinese families and children with special needs. As Program Director at ELG, Dr. Rosen is responsible for overseeing ELG’s daily programs. Besides managing teaching staff, she is also in charge of communicating with the ELG Clinic team, training staff and parents, and connecting with outside resources. She is a member of the Special Education Network in Asia (SENIA), the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), and the International Association of Special Education (IASE). She was the recipient of the inaugural SENIA Advocacy Award in 2013.

Shari is passionate, strategic, inspirational, and has built great foundations and role models for Chinese people through her work at The Essential Learning Group. The Jury found Shari’s communication consistent and she has constructive engagement with Chinese officials to be a great strength. She is empathetic, focused on attracting good talented team to scale her business, exceptional mission and story. Courageous, what she does has an impact in China

Jochen Mueller – Winner – HeforShe Leader of the Year (above right)

Jochen Christian Müller is a highly respected leader in the automotive world. He draws upon more than 15 years of experience with Fortune 500 company profiles from different industries (Lufthansa Group, Bosch-Siemens, Schaeffler AG). In his latest role as Purchasing Director Automotive Greater China, he leads 5 cross-cultural and cross-functional teams to revamp the sourcing opportunities for his organization, in order to drive overall organizational value add bottom-up. He holds a Master Degree from FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) in Economics and Logistics, graduating with summa cum laude, in 2002. In his free time, he loves to travel the world with his mountain bike and his wife as well as photographing. He believes in creativity being the heart of innovation, which is truly reflected in his life style. Currently, he and his wife are completing their family project, adopting their Chinese foster daughter.

The Jury found Jochen strives proactively for salary equity, he sees gender injustices in his workplace. Jochen created cross-cultural programs that allows more Chinese women to go abroad at their HQ to learn further. These cross-cultural programs for both the company and as global leaders, also it creates good precedent for others within the company.

Congratulations to all and thank you for your contribution as leaders in the community!