3 - Elyse Ribbons - China Movie TV Radio - The Beertelligence Podcast

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“No one believed that a white (non-Chinese) girl wrote it”

Elyse, a self-proclaimed language nerd, has a very eclectic background spanning her 15 years in China. She has worked as a Movie & TV star in China, gotten a Masters in Peking Opera, written a play and been COO of a Chinese construction company (which meant she can drink Baijiu).

That’s not to mention her being cohost of one of China’s highest-rated nationally syndicated news radio programs called 老外看点 LaoWai KanDian(International Perspectives) as well as working at the US embassy, speaking fluent Mandarin and starting a theatre company all before entering Stanford Ignite Beijing to build a charity startup “GeiLi Giving”.


Through her career she followed a core theme of communication & bridge building, metaphorically and literally, striving to see other people’s points of view.

In this episode we discuss:
+ Being good at drinking & referencing Tang dynasty poetry
+ Translating for meetings with Bill Clinton
+ Traveling with 180 Chinese millionaires
+ Stanford Ignite Beijing
+ Teaching people how to hug in China (workshops)
+ Nano Wrimo (to write her novel)
+ Her dream of being Secretary of State
+ How former president Bush Senior (41) smoothed the path for Bush Junior in China before diplomatic meetings took place
+ The good & bad of philanthropy and how difficult it is in China
+ Moving from Detroit to small town North Carolina to a “Nerd school”, a public boarding school.
+ Playing Helen Snow in Red Star Over China
+ Doing stand up comedy in Mandarin & English
+ Why Chinese girls can’t talk about sex on stage
+ How acting helps in business
+ Her daily journaling habit

Mentioned in the episode:
Stanford Ignite Beijing

China Pacific Construction Group:

Nano Wrimo (national writing month):

Clinton Global Initiative:

The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
by Jacqueline Novograt

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristof (Author), Sheryl WuDunn (Author)

Heifer International (Chengdu):

Panda Conservation (Chengdu):

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Playing Helen Snow in Red Star Over China:

Kung Fu Komedy:

SOS Ventures / Chinaccelerator:

You can find Elsye online:
GeiLi Giving:


Google Elyse Ribbons or
Baidu 柳素英 liǔsùyīng (her Chinese name)


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