Board and Consulting team

Hua Dan Board of Directors

Jonathan Palley, president of council
Jonathan Palley
Jonathan Palley is an entrepreneur, technologist and actor.He’s co-founded two online-learning companies: Idapted, a VC-funded, China based distributed learning platform and Virtual FlashCards, a very early memorization system that he grew to 1M users in the early days of the internet. He is a partner at Brainpage, a big data technology company in Beijing and co-founder of Spire, a new digital health venture. He has also been invited to speak on the topics of innovation, technology and education at major conferences in the U.S. and China (including SD2C, China’s largest software development conference, Pearson’s global summit on technology in education, the British Council’s symposium on education, etc).

A trained actor, Jonathan was a founder and director of Beijing Improv; growing the organization into the largest improv theater group in Asia and training thousands of people in improv theater skills. He has performed on stage over 50 times in the U.S. and China and lead nearly 150 improv workshops. Most recently, he was a principal actor in a multi-million USD musical theater production that toured China.

Ding Li, member of council
Ding Li
Ms. Li Ding is the Vice President of NPI – one of the leading NGO supporting organizations in China since May, 2008. She is in charge of NPI PR & Communication Dept, and R&D center, responsible for New Program development including Social Entrepreneurs Institute, Venture Philanthropy Fund and Social Innovation Park etc,. Ms. Ding has more than 11 years of working experiences in multi-national companies and over 8 years in China’s emerging Third Sector. From 2009 to 2012, she is one of Chinese trainers for Social Entrepreneurship skills training program organized by British Council.

From Apr 2005 to Apr 2008, she was working for Conservation International China Program as Business Partnerships Program Officer in charge of engaging top enterprises towards eco-friendly business operation and direct investment on conservation programs. Before that, Ms. Ding Li was working for Unilever China as Marketing Controller for 2 years; she also served as Senior Product Manager and Brand Manager for L’Oreal China and Danone Group.

Ms. Ding is the member of Committee of the Pudong New District People’s Political Consultative Conference of Shanghai. She also serves as a member of the Global agenda council on Social Innovation established by World Economic Forum.

Amethyst, member of council
Ding Li
Amethyst (Amy) Wytiu co-founded and is currently the Chief Operations Officer of Next Step China, a growing education management and consultation business focused on providing a worry-free experience for individuals who want to study, intern or teach in China. Since the beginning of Next Step China, Amy has been focused on operations management, customer service and human resource management. She has been focused on improving recruitment processes, daily office operations and training for the staff members of the growing company. She has also been involved in building on the service packages and products that are currently under Next Step China.
Aside from Next Step China, Amy has had a keen interest in training and has been invited to provide talks in the Philippines in managing a diverse office environment and doing business in China.
Prior to building Next Step China in China, Amy worked in the section commercial of the Mexican Embassy, UN-Habitat, and in the United Nations Development Programme in Manila. Majority of her previous experience in international development has been in events and conference coordination, monitoring and evaluation, donor management and building relationships between local and international partners in the public and private sectors.
Amy grew up in the Philippines and completed a bachelor degree in Marketing Management in De La Salle University Manila and her master degree in public management in Ateneo de Manila University.

Consultant Team

Elisabeth Hallett
Elisabeth Hallett
Elisabeth has lived in China on and off since 1981. Her first experience was as a university teacher in Xiangtan, Hunan province, and in the 1990s she worked in Beijing as a language consultant for the Foreign Languages Press and CCTV. More recent work has been senior editor for MWH, a multinational water engineering company in Beijing. She is currently part of the editorial team of a Chinese-English dictionary being compiled by the Oxford University Press. She has just completed two parts of a Master’s course in Education for Sustainability with the London South Bank University in which she focused her research on the development of a Beijing NGO. Elisabeth enjoys writing and reads widely.
Joshua Halpern
Joshua Halpern
Originally from New York, Joshua has lived and worked in Europe, Central America and now Beijing, China. In Spain, he worked as an academic advisor for the Fulbright commission and founded Idiomarts Education, S.L., which provides language education services through theater, film, juggling, painting, magic and music for young adults and professionals in Madrid. He has taught English through drama at the TASIS England school summer programs and was a guest communications lecturer for law students at Charles University, Czech Republic. While managing a USAID scholarship project at The Center for Intercultural Education and Development (CIED) at Georgetown University, Josh used theater exercises to help prepare rural community leaders from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti for long-term technical training in the United States. He has led community service summer programs in Costa Rica and managed the Latino youth life-skills programs for Identity, Inc. throughout Maryland, USA. He is also a founding member of the Beijiing Improv Troupe.

Currently he is the Director of Program Development for China Prep, LLC, a company dedicated to providing dynamic experiences in China for US high school students. Joshua holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Theater and English, a TEFL certificate from Cambridge University, and a graduate certificate in Business Administration from Georgetown University. He is currently working toward his dual-MBA degree from INSEAD and Tsinghua University. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing five-a-side football, skiing, tennis and travelling anywhere he hasn’t been before. He believes that theatre is undervalued as a tool for the healthy and sustainable growth of organisations and societies as a whole.

Consulting: Dr. Andy Hickson
Dr. Andy Hickson is a pioneering social theatre, anti-bullying and empowerment specialist, an actor, director, producer, writer, film-maker and anthropologist. He has had several books published and has contributed to a variety of magazines, newspapers and online journals. Andy has developed theories of dealing with violence and bullying in non-violent ways and creative empowerment programmes for children, young people and adults. He has worked in schools, colleges, youth centres, prisons, hospitals, theatres, work places and one the streets all over the UK and abroad. He produced the world’s first international anti-bullying festival and the first national anti-bullying conference for young people in the UK. Andy has had numerous media appearances including the BBC, CNN and MBC Television in addition to delivering keynote presentations at international conferences in Europe, Asia and South America. He is a member of the Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR), the Anti Bullying Alliance (ABA), the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Bullying and Equity. Andy was given the Anti Bullying Flame Award in 2013.