Caroline Watson is an actress, entrepreneur, speaker, writer, consultant, and guest practitioner. She is the founder of Hua Dan, a China-based social enterprise that uses participatory theatre as a tool for personal and social change amongst China’s migrant workers, and Scheherazade Initiatives, a global organization replicating the Hua Dan model in Europe and emerging markets, using theatre to empower migrant, refugee and displaced populations.
An engaging and inspirational speaker, Caroline weaves stories of her struggle and success setting up a social business in China and the subsequent growth of her model globally. Born in Hong Kong of British parents, Caroline returned to China in 2003 after her university studies in Britain with a vision of sharing her background in theatre with underserved women in China.
Speaking little Chinese, with no background in either business or non-profit management, but with a huge passion for sharing the transformative effect of theatre, from her home base in Beijing she set about growing the organization, in partnership with the migrant women themselves. Now based in France, she is working to develop the model of using theatre to empower migrant, refugee and displaced populations globally through Hua Dan’s sister organization, Scheherazade Initiatives.
Caroline knows how to follow a dream, despite the fear and huge adversity in a politically hostile environment. She is expert at living in and doing business in China and is a passionate advocate for the arts and women’s empowerment.
Storytelling is key to Caroline’s speeches and, as an actress and theatre practitioner, her talks often include a theatrical, narrative element and interactive participation with the audience. Caroline introduces her story with props, video and written materials as a stimulus for some of the larger themes in her talks, making them authentic, lively and fun.
Her areas of professional interest and expertise are China and the emerging world, facilitating personal and social change, innovation and entrepreneurship, theatre and the arts, corporate social responsibility, global leadership, women’s empowerment, diversity and inclusion, and the transformative impact of spirituality on leadership.
Caroline’s inspirational story and approach resonate with any individual or organization that needs a push and some motivation and guidance to follow a dream, aim higher, work harder, understand more and do more good in the world.
Using humour and a sense of fun, Caroline pushes the boundaries of thought, offering new paradigms for ways that we see and act in our world.
Caroline can deliver talks in English, French and Chinese.
- Corporations with an interest in doing business in China and the emerging world; and those seeking inspiration and insights into entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and creativity.
- Universities, colleges and other educational establishments keen to offer their students an inspirational world view and new ideas for career opportunities
- International organisations and non-profits working in the field of women’s rights, migrant and refugee populations and innovative forms of education and training