Journalist and author Lenora Chu and senior associate consultant at The Bridgespan Group Willie J. Thompson discuss how their exchange experiences have shaped their views of, and enabled them to speak effectively about, China.

Speaker Bios

Lenora Chu is the director of Total Action for Progress’s This Valley Works component. In this role, she is responsible for top-level management of twenty programs with more than fortyis a journalist and author of the award-winning Little Soldiers, a book about China’s education system. She is also a correspondent for the nonprofit news organization Christian Science Monitor where she covers Europe and Chinese engagement abroad, and a fellow in the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program. Her work illuminates the intersection of culture, education, and global competitiveness, a passion borne in part of growing up with Chinese parents in America.

Ms. Chu has appeared on NPR, CBS, BBC, and the CBC, and her articles and op-eds have been published in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among others. She holds degrees in engineering and journalism from Stanford and Columbia universities.

Willie J. Thompson is a senior associate consultant at the The Bridgespan Group where he works on impact investing, philanthropic prizes, and workforce development. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Mr. Thompson worked as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Taichung, Taiwan, where he was awarded ETA of the year. Willie is also an alumnus of the third cohort of Schwarzman Scholars.

Mr. Thompson was born in Selma, AL and grew up in Griffin, GA. He is a podcast host, an associate producer on two documentary projects, and in his spare time, can be found playing percussion, engaging in boisterous banter with friends, and honing his craft as a storyteller. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from Morehouse College, and a master’s in global affairs from Tsinghua University.