After growing up in China and graduating from Harvard with a master’s in theater, Yan was working at the Tony Award-winning Hartford Stage Company in Connecticut when she received a Rhodes Scholarship to read two more master’s degrees at Oxford. Focused on social anthropology and comparative literature, she researched the topics of aging and loneliness in anthropology and performance. Before coming to the U.K., she worked on more than 10 productions at American Repertory Theater, Hartford Stage, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, and more, and studied theater and literature in Russia, China, and Poland. She currently serves as Chief of Staff and Head of People for Masref, a Swiss digital banking startup providing financial services to people in distressed economies. Yan grew up bilingual in Mandarin and English. She has won national awards at every major English public speaking contest in China, and was awarded an emerging literary translator mentorship by the U.K. National Centre for Writing. She believes in the value and power of human connectivity, international exchange, and transcultural collaborations.