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The Sixth Annual Career Development Forum - From Surviving to Thriving for Newcomers in Vancouver

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

The Sixth Annual Career Development Forum

- From Surviving to Thriving for Newcomers in Vancouver

Co-hosted by Tsinghua University Alumni Association Vancouver (“Tsinghua Association”) and Fudan ‎University Alumni Association Vancouver (“Fudan Association”) ‎

Time: 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., February 12, 2023

Venue: SFU Segal Building, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver (S 1200 -1500 Event ‎Rooms)‎


Tsinghua Association has been organizing its flagship Annual Career Development Forum (the “Forum”) for five years. The sixth Forum will be co-hosted with Fudan Association so as to better utilize the resources from both associations and benefit the alumni and the public at large. We cordially invite alumni of Tsinghua Association, Fudan Association, family members and the general public to attend the Forum.

In previous years, the themes of the Forum covered Career Path - Changes or Persistence, Leadership Development and Training, Careers Cultures in China and Canada, and Authenticity at Work and Communications. The Sixth Forum will discuss some of the career path challenges and options for the younger immigration generation.


The Forum will consist of the following major parts:

  • Part I: Keynote Speech by and Interview with Ken Sim, Mayor of the City of Vancouver

  • Coffee Break

  • Part II: Speech by Damir Hot, Co-founder and CEO of Canalyst Financial Modelling Corp.‎

  • Part III: Panel Discussion

Part I:

Keynote Speaker: Ken Sim, Mayor of the City of Vancouver

Ken’s parents immigrated from Hong Kong in 1967 and he was born and raised in Vancouver. Life was not easy ‎when they first immigrated here, and he attended five elementary schools in seven years. He graduated from Magee ‎Secondary School and enrolled at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business. He financed his ‎education in part by working as a janitor and at other minimum wage jobs. ‎

After graduation from UBC, he became a certified accountant and worked at the Vancouver office of a leading ‎accounting firm. He then became an investment banker in Vancouver, Toronto and London, England, before ‎returning to Vancouver and founded his two successful businesses, until he was elected as the Mayor in October ‎‎2022.‎

Ken’s experience in making different career options and shifts can be very inspiring and enlightening, as can be seen in his multiple careers (accountant, investment banker, business founder and politician) and locations (Vancouver, Toronto, London and US where one of his businesses has operations). His speech could be ‎particularly meaningful ‎as we recently heard some debates from our alumni - some of the younger generation of the alumni are ‎complaining that their parents ‎should not have moved to the North America as the move created ‎barriers to them.‎

Following his opening remarks, Ken will have an interview with Iris Zhao, Vice President of Fudan Association.

Interviewer of Mayor Sim: Iris Zhao

Iris Zhao, Vice President of Fudan University Alumni Association Vancouver, Founder and CEO of A2Z Capital Inc.

Ms. Iris Zhao is founder and CEO of A2Z Capital Inc. Since its establishment in 2018, A2Z Capital has become a leading private equity fund management company in Vancouver, focusing on commercial real estate investment and management. Ms. Zhao studied at Cornell University in the United States, Queen's University in Canada and Fudan University in China and obtained MBA Degrees. She is enthusiastic about public welfare and supports various community activities.

She was Director of Fudan University Alumni Association from 2017 to 2021 and is Vice President of Fudan University Vancouver Alumni Association.

Coffee Break

Part II: “No Silver Bullets: Tech Entrepreneurship with High Standards”

By Damir Hot, Co-founder and CDO of Canalyst Financial Modelling Corp., Managing Partner, Alphaninja Partners; Founder in Residence, Tegus

Damir is an entrepreneur and investor with two decades of ‎product, sales, and executive leadership experience in high-‎growth technology ventures in Vancouver and Silicone Valley. ‎ As co-founder and CEO of Canalyst, an investment research ‎software and data provider, Damir built a 250+ person ‎organization and raised $100mm+ of venture capital over 6 ‎years, leading to a successful acquisition by Tegus in 2022. ‎ Prior to Canalyst, he held executive roles with Metafor ‎Software, a machine learning start-up acquired by Splunk in ‎‎2015, and Pulse Energy, an analytics software start-up ‎acquired by EnerNOC in 2014.

Damir holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering ‎Physics with a specialization in Computer Science from the ‎University of British Columbia.‎

Interviewer of Damir Hot: Maggie Deng

Maggie Deng, Vice President of Tsinghua Association, Ginkgo Health Inc‎.

Maggie has over 25 years of experience in corporate finance working as investment banker, venture capitalist and ‎entrepreneur in fintech and health startups in North America, and is the founder and CEO of Ginkgo Health Inc., a ‎startup developing digital anti-aging active plan.‎

Part III: Panel Discussion

Moderator: Weiguo He, President of Tsinghua University Alumni Association Vancouver, ‎Partner of DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

Weiguo (William) Mr. He practises in the Vancouver office of the global law firm DLA Piper, as Partner of Corporate and Real Estate Groups ‎and Head of its China Practice Group. He is called to the bars of British Columbia, Ontario, New York and Massachusetts and holds National Lawyer Qualification Certificate of China.

He is President of Tsinghua University Alumni Association (Vancouver), Secretary and Director of North America Federation of Tsinghua Alumni Associations, former director of a TSX-listed ‎mining company.‎ He served as Deputy Director of the International Natural Resources Research Centre and Joint Supervisor for LL.M. Students at Tsinghua University ‎School of Law. He ‎taught Introduction to Business Law at Simon Fraser University. Currently Mr. He is Arbitrator of China ‎Mining Association Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration.‎


Professor Jane Wang, Director of Tsinghua University Alumni Association Vancouver, Professor of UBC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Z. Jane Wang is Professor of the ECE Dept. at the UBC, where she has been working since 2004. She is an IEEE Fellow and a Fellow of the ‎Canadian Academy of Engineering. Her research interests are in the broad areas of ‎statistical signal processing and machine learning. She has published 180+ journal papers and ‎‎120+ peer-reviewed conference papers. She has been key Organizing ‎Committee Member for numerous IEEE conferences and workshops. She has been Associate Editor for multiple leading academic journals and is currently Editor-in-Chief for IEEE SPL.

She has been Co-Founder and Chief Scientist for Cortic ‎Tech., a Vancouver startup, focusing on developing AI Education products, and their team won ‎the First Grand Prize in the OpenCV AI Competition 2021. She interacts extensively with industry and has trained many Ph.D. students many of whom are active at industry.

She is Director of Tsinghua University Alumni Association Vancouver.

Iris Zhao, Vice President of Fudan University Alumni Association Vancouver, Founder and CEO of A2Z Capital Inc.

Simon Chen: Partner of KPMG LLP.

Simon Chen is a Tax Partner in KPMG Vancouver servicing private companies in real ‎estate, technology, tourism and manufacturing sectors. Simon joined KPMG in 1999 ‎and has different leadership roles in KPMG throughout the years. Currently, Simon is a ‎key member of KPMG M&A Group, KPMG Family Office and KPMG’s Asia Pacific ‎Group. ‎

Professional Experience : Leading divestiture tax planning for private companies with value up to $500 million; Leading tax planning to acquire private Canadian companies with value up to $1 billion; Leading Family Office engagements;‎ Setting up tax structures for real estate investments by Canadian based Chinese ‎investors. ‎

Community Involvements: Board member of S.U.C.C.E.S.S; Treasurer of the Children’s Foundation

Sarah Xu, UBC Faculty of Law Student

Sarah was born in Canada after her parents immigrated to Canada. She is currently a third year law student at UBC. She worked at McCarthy Tetrault LLP as a Summer Articling Student in 2022, and will article there after she ‎graduates. At UBC Faculty of Law, Sarah volunteered at the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program as Clinic Head where she provided legal assistance to low-income clients, and appeared in the BC Provincial Court. Sarah also volunteers as a legal mentor, with the Legal Education Outreach Program and the French Club. Prior to attending law school, she studied at McGill University and was working toward a ‎Bachelor of Science.

Registration Information:

Venue: SFU Segal Building 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC V67C 1W6 (S 1200 -1500 Event Rooms)

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Vancouver time, February 12, 2023

Registration on Eventbrite: special rate of $10.00 for alumni of Tsinghua University or Fudan University until February 6, 2023; $20.00 for the public and the alumni thereafter. You can also register by scanning the QR code below.

For inquiries, please contact:

Tanya He at or 778.988.9085, or Chris Dong at or 778.865.3309.


Platinum Sponsor: A2Z Capital Inc. A2Z Capital is a leading private equity fund management company based in Vancouver, focused on commercial real estate investment and management.The assets under A2Z Capital's management are valued at over $300 million, with managed land and building area reaching 45 acres and 1.05 million square feet respectively.

Gold Sponsor: DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, being the Canadian operations of the leading global law firm DLA Piper.

Gold Sponsor: KPMG LLP, being the Canadian operation part of the leading global accounting firm KPMG.

Silver Sponsor: CACP Consulting & Trading Co., Ltd. a cross-boarder project management company specializing in railway projects.



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