BBS Team

Business for Better Society (BBS) exists to make giving ethical and easy, while building partnerships for purposeful and sustainable impact.

NEREIDA FLANNERY

NEREIDA FLANNERY

Founder / Chairwoman

With over 20 years of experience in China, Canadian-born Nereida Flannery currently manages her own investments and acts as an advisor to several Foreign Based companies operating, looking to operate, or looking to source financing in China. Previous to this, Nereida was partner and co-founder of the Beijing-based investment bank, The Balloch Group, where she was Managing Director and lead business development activities, and was particularly engaged with the firm’s M&A mandates in the natural resources sector. The Balloch Group was acquired by one of Canada’s leading investment banks, Canaccord.

Prior to that she was VP of Business Development at Alibaba.com – Asia’s largest B2B online marketplace – and General Manager of their Shanghai office. She was also the General Manager of the Canada China Business Council in China (CCBC) where she represented Canada’s leading companies and established an extensive network of government relations in China’s central and provincial governments.

KELLY BRANTNER

KELLY BRANTNER

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Canadian-born Kelly Brantner joined BBS as the Chief Executive Officer in 2018.

Currently residing in Beijing, she brings over 20 years of operational and brand development experience to BBS.

Prior to joining BBS, Kelly was the Managing Director of Triticum Partners Ltd., an advisory firm that assisted clients, primarily from the education, entertainment and agriculture sectors, with their China strategy including market entry and partnership development.

Kelly has served on various boards in Canada and China. While in Canada, she was on the Executive Committee for the Globe & Mail Invitational for the Arts Umbrella Foundation that supported the music program of Grammy winner Sarah McLachlan. Over her 13 years in Beijing, she has served on the board of the Canada China Business Council, as an international advisor for the Chinese social enterprise Green Leader Adventures and as a two term President of Viva, Beijing Women’s Professional Association.

Katie McGowan

Katie McGowan

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Originally from Canada, Katie McGowan has spent the last decade in China and Hong Kong where she first arrived in 2007 to plan and execute the global Communications and Media operations of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Post Olympics, and after briefly running away to join the circus as a flying trapeze artist (we aren’t joking), she became established as a Communications and Business Strategist serving local and multinational entities looking to flourish in the Asia space. In this capacity her work has seen her maximising profitability, brokering M&As, and designing expansion and exit strategies in a variety of sectors from natural resources to healthcare to tech, with her strongest focus having been on China’s booming private education industry.

Before departing from Asia in 2017, Katie was an active advisor to the Canada China Business Council, four-years-running Chairperson of the International Communications Group in Beijing, a regular contributor to a portfolio of Chinese publications, and a devoted advocate for women in business. Now based in Victoria, Canada, she focuses primarily on facilitating joint ventures and continuing her philanthropic work around the world.

Josh Payne

Josh Payne

Board Member / OPERATIONS ADVISOR

Josh Payne is an experienced operations leader and cross cultural liaison with 20 years of experience in mining, construction and hospitality. Originally from Canada, he has traveled to over 130 countries and speaks English, French, Bahasa Indonesi, Japanese and Spanish. His most recent years have been spent in mining in both operations and consulting roles in Australia, India and locations throughout Southeast Asia. Included in this journey Josh has spearheaded the development of an extensive portfolio of “out of the box” CSR initiatives in some of the world’s most challenging locations, establishing a legacy of socially responsible business leaders in the natural resource sector.

GERARD WIENER

GERARD WIENER

Board member / BUSINESS & TECH ADVISOR

Gerard Wiener has 20 years of M&A, investment banking, transactional, and operational experience and has participated in, executed, structured and negotiated more than 50 M&A transactions across a broad range of geographies and industries. He was previously Vice President and Global Head of M&A for Nokia’s $15 billion smartphone division where he led the largest acquisition in Nokia’s history ($8 billion acquisition of NAVTEQ) and was responsible for accelerating Nokia’s entry into new business segments through non-organic growth initiatives, with an emphasis on new technologies, software, and Internet services.

Prior to this Gerard held various executive and operational roles at Nokia including Vice President and General Manager for a $250 million business unit within Nokia’s smartphone division. He was also Chief Operating Officer at Sega.com before structuring and leading the sale of that division of Sega Corporation to Nokia in September 2003. Gerard holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Melissa So

Melissa So

Board Member / Strategy Advisor

Melissa So has over 15 years’ experience in investment and business advisory, having previously worked in Beijing for three years and then in London for over 12 years first in a leading boutique advisory firm and then at two Canadian natural resources banks. In each of her roles, she has played an integral part or been a founding partner in establishing an Asia business for the firm. She has been engaged on a variety of M&A transactions and financings, with a focus on structuring complex long-term strategic partnerships and investments out of Asia.

VINA NADJIBULLA

VINA NADJIBULLA

Board Member/StRategic Assessment Advisor

Vina Nadjibulla is an international security and peace-building specialist with over twelve years of experience working at the United Nations in New York, as well as in United Nations missions in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic and the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to her work with the United Nations Department for Political Affairs, the Peace-building Support Office and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Vina has worked with several non-governmental organisations, including Women for Afghan Women and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.

Her areas of interest and expertise include strategic planning, policy development and organisational change management, as well as human rights and gender mainstreaming in fragile and conflict-affected states. She has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York.

BIMAN NAJIKA LIYANAGE

BIMAN NAJIKA LIYANAGE

Board member / INNOVATIONS ADVISOR

Biman Najika Liyanage is a researcher, innovator, and entrepreneur who has co-founded several technology ventures in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong focusing on mobile internet technology and smart wearable technologies. He has worked in many areas ranging from sensor design for UAV’s to fashion technology, cooperating with many fortune 500 companies including Microsoft, Intel and Tencent.

Biman’s work has been featured in national and international media including CRI, CCTV and STN. He is also a TEDx speaker, was selected by the St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland as one of the 200 future leaders of tech, and is nominated for Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30.

PHILIPPA NELSON

PHILIPPA NELSON

WOMEN’S ADVOCACY & MENTORSHIP ADVISOR

Philippa Nelson has over eight years of experience working with women’s rights social enterprises and NGO groups in Asia, as well as previous grant-review experience with TEAR Fund Australia. As a respected member of the Asian NGO community, she has been invited to participate in numerous conferences and forums including the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Trust Women and SparkHer. She is also founder and leading consultant of Australian based Social Action Resource Network, working with the strategic development of grassroots non-profit entities around the world and engaging as an independent advisor to various women’s rights NGOs throughout Asia.

Prior to this she spent six years developing and leading as CEO, the Starfish Project – a social enterprise fair trade jewelry company that works with trafficked and exploited women in Asia – and was instrumental in developing its branch model and legal standing in the PRC. Philippa holds her Masters of Enterprise from the University of Melbourne Business School.

MEKA JEGEDE

MEKA JEGEDE

INTERNATIONAL LAW ADVISOR

Meka Jegede is a current LLM and Wharton Business and Law Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Wharton Business School (Class of 2017). Prior to commencing her graduate degree, she was most recently In-House Counsel/ Senior Associate at the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. Meka obtained an MA in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford and is a UK qualified barrister. After receiving her qualifications at Oxford, she interned at UNESCO whilst also studying French at the Sorbonne before returning to London to practice commercial law at Henderson Chambers and 4 New Square.

She has also earned a BL from the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2014. Meka is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of International Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a keen amateur runner.

Cindy Jensen

Cindy Jensen

CORPORATE STRATEGY ADVISOR

Cindy Jensen is the Founder and CEO of INPOWER ONE, a management consulting firm with a focus in Strategy Development, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

She is a seasoned executive spending her corporate years working for PepsiCo Foods as part of the senior leadership team for over a span of ten years in multiple functions. She later joined TELUS Mobility as National Account Manager overseeing the company’s two largest retail corporate accounts.

Cindy has been based in China for over 15 years and works extensively throughout Asia Pacific working with leaders and their teams.

Throughout Cindy’s career, she has been an advocate for the development of women and has been a Mentor to women throughout her professional career. She has served as a board of Director for EGRC both on the national board and served as Chair on the Beijing Executive Committee board. She serves on the executive board of VIVA, a women’s professional Networking Association that was established as a platform to support the growth and development of women.

She has a BComm from Dalhousie University, Canada and her Executive MBA from Rutgers University, USA.

Lei Chen Wong

Lei Chen Wong

Wildlife & Environmental Conservation Advisor

Lei Chen Wong has over 10 years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector in China. She was the former Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute China (JGI China), an NGO focused on wildlife and environmental conservation founded by renowned chimpanzee researcher, Dr. Jane Goodall.  As JGI China’s youngest leader to date, she tripled the organization’s revenue and launched shark fin and elephant conservation campaigns that helped to bring about policy changes in China.

Prior to that, Lei managed international programs for American college and high school students in Shanghai for CIEE, the largest study abroad organization in the US. Lei has also worked on consulting projects for US-China Strong, originally an initiative launched by President Obama, JGI China and Wethica, a firm implementing corporate social responsibility standards in Chinese supply chains.

Originally from New York City, Lei now lives in Chicago.

KATHY WOOD

KATHY WOOD

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR

Kathy is a Strategic Communications Planner with strong global brand building credentials. She lives in London having returned from a 12-year stint working across Asia and living in Beijing, Singapore and Penang.

A Business Studies graduate, she worked in global advertising agencies like Young and Rubicam, Publicis and latterly Saatchi & Saatchi. Her clients included Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Unilever and Pirelli.

Kathy is passionate about original thinking and creative solutions, that help to build and add value to client brands. Kathy is keen to apply her expertise to the BBS Foundations cause and it’s charities.

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BBS

Business for Better Society (BBS) exists to make giving ethical and easy, while building partnerships for purposeful and sustainable impact.

Hong Kong registration number is 1410577.

 

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1201 Dominion Centre
43-59 Queen’s Road
East Wanchai,
Hong Kong