Dr. Yu-Lan Lin
Dr. Yu-Lan Lin has been a teacher/administrator for 43 years. She retired from the position of Senior Program Director of World Languages of the Boston Public School system in 2013. Lin holds a B.A. degree in Turkish Language and Culture; an M.Ed. in Bilingual and Multicultural Studies; and an Ed.D in Reading and Language Development from Boston University.
She began her 43-year career as an elementary teacher at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Boston in 1979. Four years later, she started and directed the Mandarin program at Snowden High School, Boston. In 1997, she assumed her responsibility as the Boston school district supervisor for world languages. She has been the Executive Director of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS) from 2005-2016. In 2004, Lin was selected to serve on the Chinese AP Task Force Committee for the College Board, from 2005-2012, she was appointed to serve on the AP Chinese Curriculum and Assessment Development Committee, and from 2013-2015, she served on the World Language Advisory Committee and the Academy Assembly Committee for the College Board. Lin has been various STARTALK programs’ lead instructor, mentor and site visitor for the past ten years. She has been the pedagogy instructor, at New England K-12 CFL Leadership Institute at Tufts University for the past five years.
Her published work includes co-authorship of the CLASS Professional Standards for K-12 Chinese Teachers. She is the recipient of MaFLA’s Distinguished Service Award; NECTFL’s Nelson H. Brooks Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Profession and ACTFL’s Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in K-12 Foreign Language Education.
Linda J. Thorsen
Board Vice President
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.
Marina E. Grossi
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.
Dr. Feng Li
Board of Directors
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.
Board of Directors
Luke Lin is the founder and driving force behind My Culture Connect, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in rural areas of Taiwan. Since the organization was founded, more than 2000 people have benefited from its services. Among its partners are the International TEFL Academy (ITA), Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), Truman State University, and Northern Michigan University. In August 2022, My Culture Connect was chosen as the highlight charity by the ITA in Chicago for its practicum program.
Born and raised in Chiayi, Taiwan, Luke began his career as an elementary school teacher in 1988 and later became a middle and college lecturer. However, driven by a desire to make a greater impact, he quit his job to pursue his dream of helping rural students. He has been doing volunteer work for more than two decades, connecting Taiwanese classrooms in Changhua County with English-speaking volunteers from around the world. He believes that students can develop critical thinking skills and learn to appreciate their own culture if they are exposed to different cultures and languages.
Luke's contributions to education in Taiwan's rural areas were recognized with a national award in 2014. He is convinced that by serving others and sharing positive thoughts, we can make the world a better place to live. When he is not working, Luke loves reading Chinese classic literature and practicing calligraphy.
Mei Hung, a native of Taiwan, came to America to pursue higher education, expand her horizons, and search for the meaning of life. Once in the United States, she was fascinated by American culture, while she also developed a deep appreciation for her own Chinese cultural heritage.
Since joining the Chinese Culture Connection (CCC) in 1997 as a volunteer, Mei saw a high-minded organization that, not only gave her the opportunity to share her cultural heritage, but also provided a great way for her to learn more about the American way. In 1999, Mei succeeded the founder and Executive Director of CCC, Catherine Hsu, and relocated the charitable and outreach organization to Malden. During her tenure, Mei has delivered numerous programs, as well as developed many new ones. She hopes that using Chinese arts and culture as a conduit will inspire all cultures to come together to connect, understand and appreciate each other. Hopefully, this spirit will help unite humanity into a world of mutual benefit.
Mei has been a member of the Kiwanis Club International since 2000, and has served as an advisor to the Key Club at Malden High School since 2011. She is a member of the Advisory Council at Mystic Valley Elderly Services and a Community Council Member of the Hallmark Health System.
Mei obtained her BA degree from Bentley (College) University, and earned her MA degree in Education and Psychology from Tufts University. She has studied Tai Chi for many years with world-renowned masters, which has informed her teaching at Boston University since 2003. In her rare moments of free time, Mei enjoys cooking and playing the GuQin, an ancient Chinese stringed instrument.
Board of Directors
Hilda Torres is from Mexico and is the eldest of seven siblings. A proud mother, she has four delightful children, two boys and two girls. Hilda also enjoys spending time with her two grandkids, as well as her faithful companion, Cooper the dog. As the Executive Director of My Little Best Friends Early Learning Center, Hilda draws upon her extensive twenty-seven years of experience working with young kids, who continue to bring a smile to her face every day. She received an associate's degree in Early Education from Bunker Hill Community College in 2009 and a mini MBA in business from UMASS Boston University.
Recently, in June 2023, Hilda gladly accepted an invitation to serve as a board member for the CCC. She actively contributes to various other boards as well, including the Malden Chamber of Commerce (since 2013), Electra (since 2015), Friends of Fellmere Heights (since 2015), Chelsea Business Foundation (since 2021), and Malden Industrial Association (since 2020). Since 2011, she has also been a proud member of the International Association of Women.
Hilda's deep love for the Malden community motivates her to actively engage in activities that hold significance and contribute to its betterment. She views her involvement with the CCC as a valuable opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how she can better serve the diverse communities of Malden. With her strong dedication to making a positive difference in the lives of children, joining this board holds great significance for her. The CCC's dedication to serving children directly resonates with Hilda's personal mission.
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.
Anthony De Ritis
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.
Richard C. Howard
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.
William H. Overhott
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.
Gabriel DeBear Paye
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.
Edward F. O'Connell Jr
Mr. O'Connell joined the board of the Chinese Culture Connection (CCC) in 2007 and became the board president on 2008. 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 and raised their three daughters: Cha- Ling, Barbara, and Mei-Chu. Eddie is the immediate past president as of Sept 2020.
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.
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.
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.