Leadership Building | Gloria Ai: Telling the World Better Stories about Chinese Innovation

The semester’s first Young Professionals’ Series lecture was held on April 15. Yenching Academy invited Gloria Ai, bilingual anchorwoman at financial and economic events, founder of iAsk, and March 8th Red-Banner Pacesetter, to tell her story as a PKU and Harvard alumnus and successful CCTV anchorwoman. In Ai’s story, we saw a Chinese woman entrepreneur’s effort in media, finance, and public welfare.

Ms. Ai had a good talk with our YCA Scholars, who attended the lecture in person and online in the Round Table Room at Jingyuan Courtyard 3. She founded iAsk in 2014, a platform where Chinese entrepreneurs shared their stories with the world. iAsk is also a success in leveraging commercial sources for media transformation and tech innovation. Ms. Ai has anchored international economic events in China, including the World Internet Conference (Wuzhen Summit) and the Boao Forum for Asia. She is the goodwill ambassador of her hometown Huangshan and the founder of iAsk Red Charity, which advocates “Live Beautiful, Live Brilliant.” Ms. Ai said, “We help the ones in need. We start well and end well. We must have faith in changed choices; they may lead our life to something new. We are what we choose and believe.”

Our YCA Scholars raised questions after the lecture. Hiroki Mafune (Japan) from the 2020 Cohort talked about the different climates for entrepreneurs in Japan and China and asked for Ai’s perspective on government policy and the entrepreneurial environment. Ms. Ai highlighted that the entrepreneurial environment is, to some extent, a result of personal choices and efforts. She appreciated entrepreneurs’ firm resolve for self-improvement to adapt to outside changes like tightened ventures and listing policies for startups, believing in the vitality of such efforts. Ms. Ai advised on students’ career planning.

The event rounded off with a passionate discussion. Ms. Ai’s experience as a media worker in the financial and economic sector and a woman entrepreneur was inspiring for our Scholars in their career planning and leadership building. Likewise, Ms. Ai stood as an icon for telling the world about China’s stories of innovation.

Yu Haochen from the 2021 Cohort was excited, “I appreciated Ms. Ai’s lecture very much. I got a new perspective of what famous entrepreneurs did to start up and what we need to do for our career planning. We must emphasize our interests and what we can do for others.”

Liu Yishu from the 2021 Cohort found the lecture inspiring, “Ms. Ai is a wise woman and firm on her choices. She’s been working hard; I admire her and her efforts. We young students need to be positive and must work hard. We need a China-based observation of the world and have the voice of China heard and understood around the globe.”

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