Debbie Liu: Encouraging others to serve BIO
“I hope to unite more Chinese-American employees and set up a bigger value-realizing platform for our members. Then we will be able to contribute more to our community,” said Debbie Liu, president of Microsoft Chinese Employee Network (CHIME).
CHIME was founded in the early 1990s by a group of Chinese employees of Microsoft Corporation. It is endorsed by Microsoft’s human resources department as an official employee network group, with designated executive sponsors and an elected board with a chairman. Its membership is voluntary and open to all employees of Microsoft worldwide.
Today CHIME has more than 5,000 registered members and is one of the largest professional Chinese communities in the US. Harry Shum, executive vice-president at Microsoft, serves as the executive adviser to CHIME.
Debbie Liu signed up for CHIME when she joined Microsoft China in Beijing in 2004. When she moved to Seattle to work at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington in 2007, she stayed actively involved in CHIMA activities and events. She has been a CHIME board member since 2011.
Liu now works as a fulltime program manager at Microsoft. When asked why she is willing to contribute almost all of her off-work time to CHIME, she said, “I want to standardize our progress set up by the great CHIME leadership of the past years and make the organization run and develop sustainably.”
Every year, CHIME initiates and organizes programs and events that bring the Chinese community of the greater Seattle area together. The Annual Microsoft Asian Spring Festival Celebration has become a popular and influential celebration, with large audiences and substantial local involvement.
“We have the vision to encourage CHIME members to serve in their local communities, especially Chinese communities, getting involved in educational, charitable, and other programs to promote Chinese culture and values and foster communication and friendship between the CHIME community and China. The annual celebration became a vehicle to make this happen,” Liu said.
CHIME also organizes culture salons, lectures, seminars and workshops. Liu believes all forms of cultural communication are meaningful.
Their recent cultural salon — Cultural Differences between the US and China — featured Sidney Rittenberg, the Chinese scholar, and drew an audience of more than 250 to Microsoft’s campus.
Microsoft also attracts many Chinese delegations to its Redmond campus for technical talks and business. CHIME routinely hosts the
President, Microsoft Chinese Employment Netowrk (CHIME) Age: 36 Born: Beijing • Program Manager Microsoft (2012-present) • President, Microsoft Chinese Employment Netowrk (CHIME) (2012-present) • Software Development Engineer in Test II, Microsoft Redmond (20072011) • Software Development Engineer in Test, Microsoft Beijing (2004-2007) delegations and arranges the related programs.
Liu said she always has and will continue to do whatever she can to support educational programs and charities, especially those directly related to China and the Chinese community.
Liu joined the China Tomorrow Education Foundation (CTEF) in 2009 and now serves as an honorary board member for this Seattle-based non-profit charity founded in 1999. “In 2008, when their organization was working hard to organize a donation campaign to aid victims of the Sichuan earthquake, I was impressed by how they founded schools in China by renovating schools, establishing libraries, supporting teachers and funding scholarships,” she said.
Liu was born and raised in a professor’s family in northwest Beijing, a district that is home to many universities. “My experience growing up made me believe that education changes lives. I was so glad to join the CTEF family and contribute to improve the education environment for Chinese students who live in rural areas,” Liu said.
The mission of the CTEF is to improve education in rural China and prepare the children there to become responsible global citizens. So far, CTEF has funded 147 rural school projects.
On March 3, Liu gave a speech at the China-US Forum 2014 on career development for Chinese students. The event was organized by Bridging Pacific, UW Chinese Students and Scholars Association and the China Entrepreneur Network.
Liu invited Julia Liuson, corporate vice-president at Microsoft, to be the keynote speaker for the final presentations of the China Business Challenge and the China Entrepreneur Forum hosted on April 5 at University of Washington. Liu thought Julia would be the right person for the event and contacted her right away.
Liuson talked about innovation and creativity. She also shared her insights into the entrepreneurship environment in China and encouraged students to “really live in China” if they were interested in founding a startup there.
Debbie Liu (left), president of CHIME, poses with Qi Lu, executive vice-president at Microsoft, and Deputy Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco Bi Gang (right) at the 2014 Microsoft Asian Spring Festival Celebration.