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Kristi Heim appointed new Executive Director of the Washington State China Relations Council

Posted on Dec 13 by Trade Development Alliance

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SEATTLE, WA – The Washington State China Relations Council is pleased to announce that Kristi Heim has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Council, following Joe Borich's retirement earlier this year. "I am thrilled and honored to become the director of the Washington State China Relations Council," Ms. Heim said. "I have come to appreciate the important role the organization has played over its 35-year history, as well as its incredible potential to engage more people in building bridges between our state and China into the future."

Kristi Heim comes to the Council from the University of Washington, where she has worked for the Jackson School of International Studies as assistant director of the Confucius Institute and led other programs and initiatives related to China. She created a collaborative learning project between Chinese language leaners and international students from China at UW, and helped organize the China-US Workshop on Regional Sustainable Development.

"We’re excited to have Kristi take on leadership of the Council," said Michael Rawding, chair of the Council’s Board. "Her knowledge of China and Washington state, and entrepreneurial ideas to build economic and cultural relations between the two are the perfect combination to guide the Council into the future."

Ms. Heim stressed the importance of China to Washington, and to the United States as a whole. "Our peace and prosperity depend upon our two countries being able to work together. With its major trade and cultural connections to China, our state is at the forefront of that relationship."

As vice chair of the Council for the past year, she has spearheaded initiatives such as networking and outreach, and played an active role in the Membership & Marketing and Inbound Investment committees.

Ms. Heim is founder and president of, an online information platform covering the connections between the Pacific Northwest and China. She started the company in 2012 to expand knowledge and understanding about China in Seattle. An award-winning business journalist for more than 15 years, she has written for the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Seattle Times, and the San Jose Mercury News. She has also been a World Affairs Fellow, a Jefferson Fellow and recipient of the Blakemore Freeman Fellowship for Advanced Asian Language Study. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

"My career has involved China for more than two decades. I hope to make a difference in building upon that foundation and further strengthening our ties."

Ms. Heim holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from California State University and a master's degree in international studies, focused on China, from the University of Washington.

About the Washington State China Relations Council: The Washington State China Relations Council, founded in 1979 following the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, is a private and non-profit business association dedicated to promoting stronger commercial, educational, and cultural relations between the state of Washington and the People's Republic of China. The Council is the oldest non-governmental statewide trade association in the United States dealing specifically with China. The Council represents over 100 companies, and provides trade support and information to many of Washington State's leading corporations of all sizes.

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