Caroline is a trained actress, social entrepreneur, speaker, writer and a globally-recognised expert in the use of participatory theatre and creative, arts-based approaches for transformative learning.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Caroline first came to global attention through her founding of Hua Dan, one of China’s first and leading social enterprises. Hua Dan uses the power of participation in drama-based workshops to reveal and develop individual and community potential. Hua Dan has a particular focus on working with China’s rural-to-urban migrant workers, particularly women, who work in the manufacturing and service industries, at the heart of China’s economic boom.
In founding Hua Dan, Caroline has pioneered the importance of participation in the arts and creative education in a country that has no precedent for anything other than a hierarchical, rote-learning education model; empowered female migrants from the countryside to lead and manage the organisation through a vocational training model; and refined a sustainable hybrid non-profit/for-profit business model for arts-based learning methodologies.
Caroline has received numerous awards for her work: Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Architect of the Future by the Waldzell Institute, Fellow of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Annenberg Scholar at Principia College and Social Entrepreneur in Residence at INSEAD.
Since relocating to Europe a number of years ago, Caroline has been developing the work she did in China into a globally-replicable model for using theatre-based approaches for the empowerment of migrant, refugee and displaced populations, through Hua Dan’s sister organisation, the Scheherazade Initiatives. Caroline also offers coaching and corporate consulting services for senior executives and government leaders through her innovative Act For Impact corporate leadership programme and ground-breaking ‘higher order’ personal leadership workshops at Love Not Fear.
In partnership with colleagues from the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Arts in Society, Caroline founded the Global Arts Impact Agenda that enables business and government to unleash the power of the arts for human development. GAIA is especially focused on the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through the arts. As part of this, Caroline is now establishing The Centre for Arts and Leadership, a cultural ‘tiers lieux’ (‘third place’) on the outskirts of Paris that brings together artists, entrepreneurs, global leaders and inspired individuals to use the arts and creativity to empower transformative leadership.
Caroline’s passion for empowering potential through creative education has also inspired her to co-found Écoles pour l’Avenir – Schools for the Future, that seeks to build a network of innovative, international schools in France.
Caroline’s remarkable Hua Dan story of setting up a social enterprise in China in the 2000s and the impact that it has had on her leadership journey and understanding of the world makes her an authoritative and inspiring writer and speaker on leadership, 21st century skills, China and the emerging world, innovation, education and schools for the future, the intersection of arts, tech and ethics, migration, social change and entrepreneurship, global governance, women’s empowerment, arts for social change and spirituality and leadership.
Caroline is a frequent writer and speaker and blogs on spirituality and transformative leadership on Huffington Post. She leads the Young Global Leaders Spirituality and Transformative Leadership Initiative and, in her spare time, also blogs about combining global entrepreneurship and parenting at Baby In A Backpack. Caroline also sits on the board of Glass Voices, an initiative to amplify women’s voices in the public sphere.
Caroline has been educated at Harvard, Yale, Oxford, INSEAD and Lancaster. She has lived and worked in China, Hong Kong, the Middle East, Mongolia, Spain, the UK, the US, India, Argentina and France. She speaks English, Mandarin, French and Spanish and now resides just outside Paris with her husband and their six children.