H-J Colston (Chinese Studies, 1993)
I graduated in 1993 in Chinese Studies from the Department of East Asian Studies (as was) and lobbied hard to keep the department from closing just when China was entering its phase of exponential development! Upon graduation, a few of us founded China Tuesdays in 1993, now known as the Chopsticks Club, and recognised in the China ‘space’ as a unique professionals’ networking club.
I then moved to Beijing to work in business development and marketing for a British joint venture company. On my return to London in 1997, I moved into direct marketing at Lloyd’s of London and took over the organisation of the Chopsticks Club. I’m also a director of L2 Language & Cultural Services Limited, which provides specialist cross-cultural and language training for China.
With Chopsticks Club alumni spread all over China, comprising 50% mainland Chinese and 50% British people passionate about China, we make an interesting group. Recognising that companies – Chinese, British and multinational – are finding it increasingly difficult to attract, hire and, most importantly, retain employees with China-related skills, we’ve set up regular China Skills Recruitment Events. These, together with cross-cultural training and Mandarin language programmes, and high-profile networking events, are all services that we provide to build opportunities for businesses and individuals hoping to succeed and to gain confidence in the China ‘world’.