We are so proud of Fiona (Yapp) Douglas, ELG’s director of services, for winning AmCham’s 2017 Future Leader of the Year Award! The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai announced the winners of the 2017 Future Leaders of the Year Awards on Wednesday, August 2. Fiona’s well-deserved win demonstrates the recognition of the significant and lasting contributions she has made to the wider community. Read about her story and her incredible achievements below:
In 2014, Fiona Yapp had two big loves in her life. One was her childhood sweetheart, Ali Douglas, to whom she was engaged. The other was supporting vulnerable children and their families. Convinced by Ali to move halfway across the world, Fiona found herself in Shanghai. Unfamiliar with the language or culture, Fiona felt unsure about how best to use her skills, and believed she would have to give up her fulfilling social work career to be near her fiancé.
Luckily, she soon found ELG, a social enterprise that provides special education and therapy services to children, and discovered she didn’t have to choose. She joined ELG at first as a social worker and admissions officer, and was quickly promoted to director of services, managing a multicultural, multilingual, multidisciplinary team of therapists, training other care providers, and participating in community projects. She has increased the number of families to whom ELG provide services by 45%, increased the number of specialist therapists by 50%, and has built relationships with international schools and healthcare providers across Shanghai and beyond.
One of her most significant projects has been initiating the innovative embedded school counseling services model, a comprehensive service package for schools that provides regular onsite care from ELG therapists to students, teachers, and parents. She has led and delivered the model project from its pilot proposal to a core ELG service offering in 2017, demonstrating how flexibility and working together with schools achieves best outcomes for children. In addition to her work growing and managing ELG, as child protection chair of REACH Shanghai, she is developing a city-wide domestic violence response and support system. Her dedication to the development of future professional social workers led her to become a field instructor for NYU Shanghai’s Masters in Social Work program, where she supervises and instructs to students on a field placement.
At only 29 years old, Fiona has already contributed and achieved so much in her short career. She has no plans to slow down. Within the next five years, she wants to start her own social enterprise or NGO that is focused on child welfare. She says, “My goal is to innovate, cut through the red tape of bureaucracy, and reduce the number of children who die as the result of abuse and neglect. I also plan to fit in a Ph.D. in Social Intervention, somehow!” Her ultimate career goal is to influence global policy development in relation to child and family welfare. She also seeks to develop the social work profession through advocacy and improved training offerings at higher institutions around the world.
From coming to Shanghai for love to now being a sought-after resource in child protection and therapies, Fiona (Yapp), now Douglas, has risen to become a key figure and leader in child protection in Shanghai and China. She exemplifies a Future Leader, rising rapidly in her career and holding senior roles in community efforts, with a vision for her continued professional advancement and contributions to making the world better for children.
If you want to hear more from this Future Leader, don’t miss out on Fiona’s TedEx talk on November 3! Tickets are available here.
It’s been a successful summer for ELG, with Dr. Shari Rosen having been named Social Contributor of the Year at the IPWS Women’s Leadership Awards in June, and now Fiona (Yapp) Douglas winning AmCham’s Future Leader of the Year Award, we are extremely grateful and honored to have such strong, dedicated, and proactive women carrying the torch for ELG.