Board of Directors - About CRCC Asia

Advisory Board

For more information about our Board of Directors, or if you would like to profile a Director for a media publication please Contact CRCC Asia for further details.

Advisory Board


Rachael Criso

University of Michigan: Assistant Director, LSA Global Opportunities

In her role within the LSA Opportunity Hub at the University of Michigan, Rachael leads the Global Opportunities team that strives to provide quality international work and volunteer experiences for students enrolled in the College or Literature, Science, and the Arts. Rachael sources international internships in over 20 countries, often connecting students with international UM alumni who serve as local mentors. Rachael is expanding the program to include: English as a Second Language training workshops, the Touchdown Series (survival language and culture instruction for departing interns), and Global Immersions (group visits to Global UM alumni in their workspace to learn about their industry). Rachael maintains strong ties with colleagues, partners, and UM alumni across the global in order to enhance the experiential component of the University of Michigan undergraduate experience.

Rachael has been placing UM students in international internships since 2001; 140 were placed summer 2016 and the projection for 2017 is 200+. Having placed more than 500 students, she has witnessed how adaptable and effective liberal arts undergraduates can be in off-campus, out-of- country, out-of- comfort zone work situations; and how much they can learn from these transformative experiences.

Rachael also serves as a faculty member in the UM Romance Languages & Literatures department, teaching courses in Business French. In addition, she has developed the curriculum for two UM internship classes that prepare students to live and work abroad, connecting the practical experience they will gain with their undergraduate studies and career path.



Martin Tillman

Martin has been a member of NAFSA for forty years, was the Chair of NAFSA’s 2008-09 National Task Forces on Global Workforce Development and Career Development Resources, and has been a contributor of book reviews to NAFSA’s International Education Magazine for the past 20 years. Martin’s distinguished career includes 11 years as the Associate Director of Career Services at The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, President of his consultancy, Global Career Compass, in Washington D.C., a speaker specialist in Georgia and Zimbabwe for the U.S. State Department and service on several international and non-profit Boards.



Rhys Palmer

Rhys Palmer is Acting Director, International Development at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Previous positions held include Director, Strategic Institution Relations (Greater China), Director, Confucius Institute and Associate Director, Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He has extensive experience in providing high-level strategic advice on China relations including institutional partnerships, business development, industry and government relations, student mobility, and recruitment.

Rhys was instrumental in establishing the University of Newcastle’s first China Representative Office and initiated the University’s partnership with CRCC Asia. Rhys successfully led the Confucius Institute from 2011 to 2017 and received global recognition when awarded the 2016 Confucius Institute of the Year. Previously as Associate Director, Marketing and Public Relations, he achieved year-on-year revenue growth through effective marketing, communications, and recruitment strategies and played a leading role in the highly successful and award-winning rebrand of the University.



Luise Schafer OBE

Luise Schafer is a senior international executive with 30 years’ professional experience of China. A literate and fluent Chinese speaker, completing postgraduate studies in Beijing in 1983, she is a sought-after commentator on China’s business environment. Her early career included positions at American and Japanese technology firms in Beijing, followed by a Consultancy role assisting British companies break into the China market.

A stint as First Secretary, Commercial at the Embassy in Beijing in the 1990′s allowed Luise to lead on a broad commercial portfolio, building UK-China partnerships across a range of key industries and ministries. She successfully led on the visit of the British Deputy Prime Minister in 1996 in the run-up to Hong Kong’s handover and brought to signature an important bilateral maritime treaty opening up huge commercial opportunities to UK shipping.

Latterly head hunted into the Abacus Group, as Vice Chairman of Abacus’s China operations she grew the business and brand significantly over 15 years, in China and E. Asia, and in 2010 delivered on a new, larger greenfield design/manufacturing facility in Shanghai.

Luise is the immediate past-Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and has held a number of other board positions, in the past, including Vice Chair at The 48 Group. She was honored at the Chinese Embassy in London in 2010 with an award acknowledging her deep contribution to Sino-British relations.

Luise was honored with an OBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honor’s List for services to British business in China.


Jay Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez, Ph.D. is Faculty Associate with CRCC Asia. His main responsibility is to raise awareness among U.S. and Philippine University students about the value and importance of interning in China. Specializing in international political economy, Professor Gonzalez has taught internship and immersion courses for two decades in the U.S. and Asia. Dr. Gonzalez is the Mayor George Christopher Professor of Government and Society at the Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco in California.

He has conducted training workshops for Chinese business, government, and civil society organizations and teaches at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. He has consulted with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the Institute on Governance of Canada, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the governments of Singapore and China. He has also taught at the National University of Singapore, De La Salle University, and the University of Utah and has published ten books.


Thomas Kirkwood

[email protected]

Tom was born in Thailand in 1967 and educated in Singapore, Pennsylvania and England. He has an MA degree in Oriental Studies (Chinese) from Cambridge University and wrote his Master’s dissertation on “China’s Oil & Gas Development Strategy”. Tom began his career at the emerging Markets Group of Wall Street investment bank, Wasserstein, Perella & Co. In 1991 he moved to China where he established several businesses in oil and gas, property, telecommunications and investment.

He is the owner of Kirkwood & Sons LLP, a board member of Sino Geophysical, a shareholder in Yeepay and an advisor on energy matters to KW&Co. Tom is fluent in written and spoken Mandarin Chinese and his interests include family time, oil and gas exploration, geophysics, fly-fishing, ice hockey and tennis. Tom and his wife Kate have been involved in co-sponsoring China’s first private charity for the blind (The Bright Angel Fund) and are active supporters of the Peace Corps and Special Olympics in China.


Charlie Kirkwood

Charlie Kirkwood attended Williams College and Harvard Law School, before living in Singapore and Thailand, where he set up one of the first foreign law practices. He is the current owner of the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, which overlooks the Delaware River in the heart of Pennsylvania. Charlie is a committed entrepreneur and is the Chairman and Owner of various enterprises including a craft brewery, a playhouse, oil and gas company, Pennsylvania General Energy and sits on the Board of Millennium Copthorne Hotel Group.

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