2021 Young Alumni Award
Susan Zhang has rapidly scaled the heights of the global technology sector, established herself as a serial entrepreneur and innovator, and forged strong China-Australia links to advance business and cross-cultural relations – all in the space of just ten years.
Susan founded the first of multiple startup companies, Dragon Translating and Interpreting Services, in 2011 soon after completing her UOW degrees. She joined Google’s Sydney office in 2014 to manage the cornerstone ‘G Suite’ product in the Asia-Pacific region and quickly advanced to the role of Business Development Manager for Google Arts & Culture, overseeing the launch of key national projects to digitise and preserve Australia’s cultural heritage for a global audience. Promoted to Google UK as a lead creative technologist, she made an international name for herself delivering innovative data-driven solutions and global award-winning campaigns utilising advanced AI technologies.
On a fast trajectory to the highest echelons of Google, Susan surprised everyone when she resigned in 2018 to join a startup then unknown outside China. At ByteDance – best known as the Parent of video-sharing platform TikTok – she led the company’s international expansion and monetisation, guiding its meteoric rise to become the world’s most valuable startup and beat Google and Facebook at their own game. She built global strategic partnerships with government agencies, creative communities, museums and digital platforms, and championed corporate social responsibility and impact through partnerships with non-government organisations spanning child protection, women’s empowerment and disease relief.
She returned to London in April 2019 as General Partner for MorningLight VC, a UK-based venture capital firm investing in education, smart logistics and healthcare startups across three continents, and then to Sydney in 2020, where she is now Country Development Manager for global retail giant Amazon.
Susan’s boundless energy is matched by her determination to step outside her comfort zone to create a brighter future. She is a passionate driver for China-Australia linkage, helped establish Wollongong IT firm Internetrix’s first overseas office in China, assisted UOW’s 2015 rebrand in the Chinese market, and was a Technology Evangelist for the Australia China Millennial Project.
She is a published author, a dynamic inspirational speaker in international forums including TEDx, Vivid Sydney and the London Business School Asia Business Forum, and a valued mentor for young entrepreneurs around the world. Susan was also selected as a delegate to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit in both 2014 and 2018, and in 2019 the Australia China Alumni Association named Susan the Young Australia China Alumni of the Year.
Chancellor, Susan is a remarkable young alumna whose sharp business acumen, entrepreneurial leadership and growth mindset serve as a powerful guide for current and future alumni. We look forward with great interest to watching her career and contributions continue to flourish.
It is with great pleasure that I present Susan Zhang for the Young Alumni Award.