WOW: Promising female professionals honored for their work in Beijing

Photo: in courtesy of Rachel Rubble
To mark the International Women’s Day on 8 March, the 6th annual Wonderful Outstanding Women (WOW) Awards Gala Dinner and Ceremony was held on Wednesday night in Beijing, where 55 talented female professionals in a wide range of sectors won awards for their outstanding contributions. talked to several WOW winners and nominees in the educational, fashion, and media sectors to learn about their perspectives about work and life in Beijing. 
The In Side Out duo put on a performance. Mark Levine is a respected professor at the Minzu University and an eclectic guitar player, and Fu Han is a Chinese artist from the Tu minority with an erhu.Levine and Fu have worked on some new and old tunes composed by Levine, and the result is a perfect union of soothing western-style guitar balladeering with the poetic naturalness of Chinese minority folk traditions. As Levine put it, “The crisp western guitar and melodious two-stringed er-hu could create layers of harmony that amuse and delight.” Photo: in courtesy of Fu Han
Rachel Rubble, a popular anchor with China Global Television Network (CGTN), won the award under the media category. Before working for CGTN, China Central TV’s English news channel, Rubble worked as a presenter for a global news network in the US. “I applied for the job (with CGTN) just on a whim. I thought it would be fun to do it for a year; now I’ve been here for over three years,” she told In her view, there is no big difference between being a presenter in the US and in China, because “newsrooms (in the two countries) are in very similar type of environment.”

“The big challenge is that the news we cover could be from anywhere in the world, so my job is to be an expert on everything that’s happening. We could be covering stories in North Korea, Syria or America. So, I have to know enough to be able to talk about these stories to a global audience,” she said, adding that one difference her CGTN job has is that she’s now got a “definitely larger audience”.

Monica Maria Dierks, an international communications consultant and coach hailing from Germany, has started to live and work in China since 2008. She told she feels honored to be nominated for the media WOW. Dierks has written a book titled Cultural Differences between East and West in both Chinese and English after learning Mandarin in Wuhan and Beijing for several years. “I work to build a bridge between European and Chinese companies, because cultural differences make it hard for them to build connections,” she said, stressing that medium and small-sized European companies are more severely affected by cultural issues. 

Colin Friedman and Monica Maria Dierks Photo: in courtesy of Monica Maria Dierks
When asked about her life in Beijing, Dierks, who had lived in Brussels for nearly 20 years, admitted that the pollution in the capital city is not that bad. “In Brussels, every day is rainy. Here in Beijing, we still have some days with good weather and clean air.”

Marie McPhee is the winner of WOW award under the educational administrator’s category. She works as MYP Coordinator, as well as Science Teacher at CISB, a Canadian international school. “The community here in Beijing has a lot of international schools, and so it’s a great network of people here in Beijing, and they share with me resources, and positive and innovative ideas. Working here in Beijing is amazing because you’ve all these educators, administrators, parents and students from all over the world all coming to the city and work togather,” she told 

Colin Friedman and Marie McPhee  Photo: in courtesy of Marie McPhee
The WOW Award is known for recognizing achievements in the fashion and a number of creative industries, and Snow, an independent designer whose Chinese name is Xu Jingxue, has been nominated for both the fashion and creativity WOWs. As one of the most celebrated young designers in Beijing’s fashion scene, Snow has her unique perceptions about the burgeoning industry in China.

“You know, different from luxury brands like Christian Dior and Chanel which boast over 100 years’ history, Chinese designs started to bud since the 1990s when private companies were allowed to prosper. Till now, many domestic designers in the country are still copying westerners,” she said, encouraging young designers to “derive nutrition” from the country’s several thousand years’ rich cultural history in a bid to work out unique designs featuring oriental characters. 

Snow and Mark Levine Photo: in courtesy of Snow, or Xu Jingxue
Colin Friedman, the founder of FCGroup, started to organize WOW Awards ceremony since 2012. When asked what the most rewarding part of WOW effort is, the veteran event organizer said it’s that more and more people are coming now. “At the beginning our site would be quite small, and now…you can see it,” he said, pointing to the Dini’s Restaurant ‘s hall that hosted nearly 100 guests.

“Victims of gender discrimination lose motivation and morale necessary to perform their jobs effectively. And this problem leads to a loss in productivity,” wrote one WOW supporter, “This is the reason why we started the annual awards for wonderful and outstanding women in Beijing.”

Photo: in courtesy of Cesar Casellas of Beijing Experience
Photo: in courtesy of Cesar Casellas of Beijing Experience

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