Mr. O'Connell joined the board of the Chinese Culture Connection (CCC) in 2007. He graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in sculpture. He is President of O’Connell Design and Build Ltd., a Boston firm specializing in residential and historic restoration. Since assuming the board president position in 2009, Edward has been a great role model in leading the rest of the board members and the staff with our annual fundraising gala event. Besides the CCC, he has leadership roles in the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence Silk Road Program. Edward is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys sculling, hunting, and fishing, He and his wife Catherine (Chen) reside in Winchester with their three daughters: Cha- Ling, Barbara, and Mei-Chu.
Born and raised in Mainland China, Max moved to Boston in 2011 to pursue a master's degree at Boston College. After graduation, he stayed in Boston and called it home. Over the years, Max strongly felt the cultural complications of identity as a first-generation immigrant, as well as the urge for local communities to welcome and embrace the cultural diversity of its members. Aspiring to promote cultural harmony between Chinese Americans in Malden and the community, Max joined the board as our treasurer in the spring of 2018. His five years of consulting experience across various regions and industries prepared him for this role, and his passion for the Chinese community and the Malden community drives his devotion to this role. Currently, Max is an IT Compliance Manager at the TJX Companies, Inc.
Dr. Li, Feng
Dr. Li has a decade of experience in the biomedical research industry, and is currently providing consulting services about China's biopharma market for U.S. companies and non-profit organizations. Feng began his career at Informax. At Whatman, Schleicher & Schuell, and Corning Inc., he helped form the field application scientist group to provide technical support for the sales and marketing group. Dr. Li has been a commissioner of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (an NGO) since 2004, and was the Associate Director of the Boston Service Center from 2007-2009. He organized several charity events, including fund raising concerts, the New Year Blessing Ceremony, and a Health Fair. Dr. Li holds a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Cincinnati and a M.D. from Shanghai Medical University. He and his wife have lived in Malden for more than ten years, and both are committed to giving back to their community.
Michael Amaru is a technology entrepreneur with a background in creativity and marketing. He Co-founded Sensedriver Technologies in 2013 and Display.Stream in 2019 where he sits as the VP of Marketing. Michael's experience with technology startups, marketing, and venture capital brings valuable insights to the Chinese Culture Connection. Michael joined the board in 2020 and continues to advise on marketing strategies and leveraging technology for the benefit of the CCC.
Grossi, Marina E.
Ms. Grossi is a Senior VP at Citibank in Boston. She manages a specialized portfolio focused on the region’s many gasoline and heating oil retailers. Marina has studied Mandarin Chinese for many years, and her undergraduate work at Harvard University included a concentration in Chinese Studies, with courses taught by Fairbank and Reischauer, among the thought leaders in the field. She has an MBA from the University of Connecticut, and lives with her husband and two sons in Boston, Mass. Marina serves as Treasurer of the CCC.
Mr. Matthews possesses a BA in business administration & economics and contributes valuable leadership and organizational oversight to the Chinese Culture Connection derived from his 13+ years of experience in commercial real estate management & brokerage including private & public institutionally-owned office, multi-family, retail, and hospitality assets valued up to $100MM+ throughout the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest regions of the United States.
Barbara Chen O’Connell grew up in Winchester. After high school, she began learning Mandarin at National Taiwan University’s Chinese Language Program in Taipei for a year, and then studied Economics and Chinese at Tufts University. Ms. Chen O’Connell lived in Beijing for four years, working with the international business community at the American Chamber of Commerce, and acting as a part time translator and cooking class teacher at a hutong private kitchen for Imperial Chinese cuisine for fun. She returned to Tufts University to achieve a Masters of International Business with a regional focus on Asia from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2017. Currently, Ms. Chen O’Connell lives in Boston and is a operations manager at M Squared Lasers.
Overhott, William H.
Dr. Overholt is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University (2008-present). He recently served concurrently as President of the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong. He is the author of six books, most notably “Renminbi Rising” (2016); “Asia, America and the Transformation of Geopolitics” (2008); and “The Rise of China” (1993), along with books on risk analysis and strategic planning. Previously, he was Asia Policy Distinguished Chair and Director, Center for Asia Pacific Policy, at RAND Corp. (2002-2008). For 21 years he headed investment bank research teams, mainly in Hong Kong, for Bankers Trust, BankBoston and Nomura. At Hudson Institute, 1971-1979, he managed national security consulting projects and was Director of a business consulting subsidiary. He received his B.A. from Harvard and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale.
Thorsen, Linda J.
Linda Thorsen is a writer, historian, and instructor who currently balances various part-time work with community involvement. Her long-time passions include learning, writing, history, travel, and reading. The daughter of Swedish immigrants, she grew up in New Jersey and has also lived in Pennsylvania and Delaware. She and her husband Mark Bernstein have lived in Malden since 1989.
Ms. Thorsen’s career began with twelve years in software documentation, first as a software technical writer and then as a manager of writing teams. She later held roles in product management, product marketing, and marketing communications, and has worked independently since 2007. Over four decades, she has worked for seven software companies, a marketing consulting firm, and a PR firm—and as an independent consultant. In these various capacities she has helped businesses define clear and compelling company and product messages and deliver those messages through diverse written materials.
She was part of the founding team of local nonprofit Malden Arts and served on its board for ten years. She is currently Second Vice President of the Malden Historical Society, and has delivered several talks on Malden history. Since 2012, her community involvement has also included volunteer work on a number of political campaigns, from local school committee and city council races to presidential campaigns. She has been Chair of the Malden Ward 3 Democratic Committee since 2016.
Since 2010, Ms. Thorsen has also been a teaching assistant for evening on-campus and online college courses at Harvard Extension School covering various topics in world history, U.S. history, and historical methods. Ms. Thorsen holds a B.A. in English Literature from Swarthmore College, an Ed. M. (Master of Education) from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an ALM (Master of Liberal Arts) with a concentration in History from Harvard Extension School.
Jackie Wu is the founder and CEO of Corvus Robotics, a YCombinator and VC-backed robotics startup based in Boston. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, and holds a Master’s Degree in Robotics. Corvus Robotics employees over 20 people and serves in the public and private sectors. Jackie and his partners have been successful in launching a start-up and attracting capital from VCs and other investors in under 3 years. He grew up in Texas, and being Asian himself, Jackie has a personal connection with the CCC’s mission and purpose, and has a vested interest in advancing the organization’s agendas and objectives. As a Chinese American, he straddles both cultures and loves connecting with people over hotpot.
Mr. Brown recently completed a thirteen-year career as the Principal of the Malden High School, a culturally and racially diverse high school of over 1800 students. In 2015-16 Mr. Brown was recognized as the MSSAA Principal of the Year. Presently Mr. Brown serves as Executive Director for High School and Community Partnerships at Bunker Hill Community College.
Mr. Brown led many changes while at Malden High School that contributed to a steady increase in the graduation rate, a decrease in the dropout rate, and increased test scores. Under Mr. Brown’s direction, Malden High School became a leader in promoting the social and emotional well-being of each student.
Mr. Brown is active in the community, and serves on a number of boards and committees, including: the Leadership Council for Summer Search; the Board Governors of REL-NEI; and Malden Overcoming Addiction.
Dana and his wife Marie are the parents of Dana Marie, a teacher in the Malden Public Schools, and Jacqueline, a staff trainer for Jet Blue.
De Ritis, Anthony
Dr. De Ritis is a Professor and Chair of the Music Department in the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University. An active composer and entrepreneur, he is the founder and lead developer of the Online Conservatory, a collaboration between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Northeastern University. De Ritis completed his Ph.D. in Music Composition at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his M.M. in Electronic Music Composition from Ohio University under Mark Phillips, and his B.A. in Music with a concentration in Business Administration from Bucknell University. De Ritis also holds a certificate in Internet Technologies and a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in high-tech.
Howard, Richard C.
Attorney Howard served as theM Mayor of Malden from 1996 to 2011; during this time the city built five new K-8 schools, an all-day early childhood learning center, and was able to channel $60 million into the renovation of Malden High School. Mr. Howard has also overseen an ambitious plan to revitalize Malden Square. This plan includes retail, commercial, and residential development, a new Senior Center, plus artistic and cultural opportunities. An attorney, Richard holds undergraduate and law degrees from Suffolk University. He and his wife Lisa have three sons. He is currently the Town Manager of Winchester, Mass.
Paye, Gabriel DeBear
Gabriell DeBear Paye is a retired high school science lead teacher who taught in the Boston Public Schools and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. She has a strong commitment to multi-cultural education and hands-on science. She is also a writer. Gabriell wrote a high school curriculum where students experiment with and test for the medicinal, nutritional and other uses of plants from their own culture. She writes screenplays and has a project in development in Hollywood. Gabriell loves to travel, learn about other cultures, practice Taekwondo and spend time with children, plants and animals.
Victor Tang is a consultant to MIT Social Science Research Center. His interests are in Service Science, Executive Decision Theory, Innovation Science, Chinese History and Culture. He was VP of IBM China, executive in IBM corporate strategy, and systems development. He was Secretary General of the China & IBM Technology Cooperation Committee in Beijing. He was also IBM’s Technology and Client Relations Executive, for the International Olympic Committee, for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games. He has advised the UN, Taiwan government, and the Chinese government. He has published research papers and authored four technology-management books. One published by the Oxford University Press has been translated into Russian, Chinese, and Korean. His fourth book, Executive Decision Synthesis, was published by Springer, Heidelberg on 2018. He speaks English, Chinese, Spanish, and French. He has a BSEE, MS degrees from Purdue, MBP from Columbia, and PhD from MIT.
James Xu is a partner in Goodwin’s Technology Companies & Life Sciences group. Mr. Xu’s practice concentrates on capital markets transactions, focusing on initial public offerings, as well as securities law reporting and compliance. In his practice, Mr. Xu represents a wide variety of companies and investment banks in the technology and life sciences industries. In addition, Mr. Xu counsels clients in private financings, mergers and acquisitions, governance and other general corporate matters. He joined Goodwin in 2010.