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Finding Your Own Path – Celebrating the Women of Dezan Shira & Associates

International Women’s Day is celebrated every March 8 and is a time to recognize and celebrate women’s success and contribution to the world’s economic, cultural, political, and social development.

In honor of this special holiday, Dezan Shira & Associates highlights some of the women who power our teams across China, Vietnam, ASEAN region, and India, sharing how they started their careers and their take on work life balance.  Although each of them has their own unique story with Dezan Shira and Associates, they all have one thing in common – all are passionate about their work and their life.


Allan Xu Senior Manager, Business Advisory Services, Shanghai, China

Allan Xu / Senior Manager, Business Advisory Services / Shanghai, China

“As long you set your goals and fight for them, you will reach your destinations eventually. All the wounds you get on the road will all be worth it.”

Allan Xu joined DSA in 2015. In-order-to make a full use of her professional knowledge, she left a secure job as a government employee and started her career in consulting to fulfill her goals of providing professional consulting services to foreign investors.

Allan’s keen sense of justice is the reason she chose to study law in the beginning. “There are more and more people in the world who want to invest in China. However, because of the lack of local know how and the Chinese law frame, they might encounter some difficulties.”

With her legal background and knowledge, Allan wants to “help those investors enter China smoothly and run their businesses in compliance.”

Besides work, Allan likes traveling the world, exploring the local culture and food. She is also a music lover. Her future goal is to learn more about people management and focus on fitness.

Cindy Su Assistant Manager, Corporate Accounting Services Shanghai, China

Cindy Su / Assistant Manager, Corporate Accounting Services / Shanghai, China

“As a professional woman, you need to excel in your expertise and keep learning.”

Before Cindy Su came to DSA, she focused on the inhouse work of different companies. She wanted to expand her knowledge in tax and accounting, so she sent her resume to a few consulting firms and got an interview at DSA.

The first day Cindy came to the office, she was impressed by the busy and fast-pace environment at DSA. She felt right away that this was the place she wanted to work, even though she was a little worried about the new challenges. In her words, “no pain, no gain. Working in the consulting industry can help cultivate one’s independent thinking skills and communication skills as you need to deal with all kinds of people every day.”

Outside of work, Cindy is a casual person who likes to hang out with her friends and share interesting stories with them. Her future goal is to go the Tibet with her friends.

Abby Chen Associate, Business Advisory Services Shenzhen, China

Abby Chen / Associate, Business Advisory Services / Shenzhen, China

“Young people should not be afraid to fall in love, and also not be afraid to choose a difficult career.”

After graduating from college two and a half years ago, Abby joined DSA’s Shenzhen office and became a Business Advisory Services Associate. It is not easy to get a job which fits your college major in a city full of fierce competition, so Abby cherishes the first job in her life a lot. Meanwhile DSA provides a multicultural working environment, which allows her to further strengthen both her professional ability and foreign language skills. As the new generation in the company, Abby is full of confidence for the future.

When not working, Abby likes yoga, meditation and other activities that help her completely relax. She is also a foodie who likes to try new restaurants. She is looking forward to visiting Africa by herself one day and immersing herself in the wilderness. It would be even better if she could join the volunteers at the local wildlife sanctuary.

Donfil Huang Manager, Business Advisory Services Guangzhou, China

Donfil Huang / Manager, Business Advisory Services / Guangzhou, China

“Health gives you the fundamental freedom of life, while financial resources provide the most important freedom. These two factors lead to a woman’s self-reliance.”

Donfil has been engaged in foreign-related legal services in law firms for more than eleven years, but the increasing professional practice told her that it was time to change the perspective. She decided to enter another industry and take an internal legal position to better understand how internal legal teams operate. Three years later, she received a call from DSA.  Although not actively searching for a new position, the professional style and the clear thinking of our HR team convinced her that DSA would be a good match for her.

Donfil has a lovely daughter who she adores spending time with and likes to sing and drink coffee at leisure. She often goes to various coffee shops to taste different coffees during weekends. She hopes to open her own small coffee shop after retiring.

Amber Liu Senior Manager, Corporate Accounting Services Shenzhen, China

Amber Liu / Senior Manager, Corporate Accounting Services / Shenzhen, China

“Keep on learning and gain knowledge on work-related areas, keep on exercising and maintain good health, be optimistic of what’s to come.”

It has been more than four years since Amber joined DSA’s Shenzhen office. She calls this “fate”, as it happened so naturally. She finds work full of fun, because her daily work involves all aspects of finance and taxation, which allows her to make full use of her professional knowledge. She also deals with colleagues and customers from various countries, which allows her to have a better understanding of diverse cultures and varied personal styles.

Outside of work, Amber likes to break a sweat to relieve her stress. She loves running and climbing the most. For her, the sense of achievement when climbing to the top of a mountain is unparalleled. Her next goal is to train for firmer abs.

Vietnam and ASEAN

Tam Nguyen Senior Manager, Business Advisory Services Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tam Nguyen / Senior Manager, Business Advisory Services / Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

“Work hard and with passion. My company is like my second family, and my bosses my parents. I always work hard and have fun with respect and satisfaction for my clients and company.”

Tam started her career with Dezan Shira five years ago when she joined our legal services team in Ho Chi Minh City. Before joining us Tam already had 10 years of experience in the legal field and noted that “starting with a legal job was [her] natural destiny.” She was recruited for her first job while still studying for her undergrad law degree and while she had to “learn and adapt to the background and knowledge of legal work very fast,” she quickly became a key member of their legal team. With three university degrees (one law and two economics) under her belt, Tam is well versed with both legal and economic topics.

Outside of work, Tam loves cooking and travelling. “I cook for my family and always try with various kinds of food in various zones of Vietnam. I have a big family (10 pp) and we love travelling together. We normally take 5-6 family trips together per year to various beautiful places in Vietnam and sometimes travel overseas (but not much).”

Tam Nguyen Senior Manager, Business Advisory Services Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Jennifer Halim / Senior Associate, International Business Advisory / Jakarta, Indonesia

“One of my favorite quotes comes from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, LEAN IN: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. She says, ‘I hope you find true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope you find whatever balance you seek with your eyes wide open. And I hope that you – yes, you – have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world.’ If you have some time, I recommend you to read her book, it’s really an eye-opening one!”

Jennifer joined DSA just last year but has already grown and experienced many things within our team. “I see this as a career, not only as a job but as a platform for me to grow in many ways. I learned many things through my journey this far with DSA, where I could meet with many new people and get connected with them.”  Starting her career as a legal consultant, Jennifer was mostly involved with foreign direct investment and M&A matters.  A true team player, Jennifer also does the same (and more) at DSA. “Through this career, I do personally hope that no matter how small the part that I could partake, I wish to contribute further in helping foreign companies to do business in Indonesia/ASEAN.”

Outside of work, Jennifer has been practicing her baking skills and learning more about baking cakes.  So far, her cakes have been “…not too bad on the first try, and they say practice makes (a bit) perfect!”


Sonakshi Sood Manager, International Business Advisory New Delhi, India

Sonakshi Sood / Manager, International Business Advisory / New Delhi, India

“Spend time with yourself. It will help you re-focus. As a woman, we always prioritize others and forget about our own well-being. So, spend time and embrace yourself!”

Relatively new to DSA, Sonakshi joined our India team at the end of last year. From a young age, she was very driven with her schooling and that has transferred over to her career as well. “My goal in life has always been to do the best in whatever comes my way.”  Although initially studying science, it was her father who inspired her to enter the busines world and pursue a career as a Chartered Accountant.

Outside of work, Sonakshi loves travelling. “My husband and I are complete travel freaks and the moment we get some time out of our schedules, we spend time exploring new places.”  When not out exploring the world Sonakshi is feeding her other passion of cooking and experimenting with new dishes. In the future she hopes to “work hard and travel harder!”

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