Mamas in Charge: Meet the Shanghai Mamas Executive Committee

It’s an exciting time to be a Mama! Sharing resources and advice, bringing together international families, and connecting Shanghai Mamas across the world is as relevant as ever and our growing team is eager to keep the conversations and fun going.

While our grassroots efforts are mostly led by individuals chatting on WeChat or at our gatherings, there is a team of Mamas who keep the content flowing, events coming, and platforms chugging along to best support international families in the city.

Find out how you can get involved at the end of this article.

Our Fearless Leader – Laetitia

As our Chairperson, Laetitia leads this team of Mamas to think through how we can best serve the community. You can find her…everywhere…on WeChat:

“I remember all of the questions I had when I first moved here, so I try and be active in our groups and other Shanghai Mama groups in pointing people in the right direction.

When I first moved to Shanghai, nearly six years ago, I was really worried about how I would find my community and make friends, given that I would be working full time. From my very first Shanghai Mamas coffee morning, when I was terrified and two days post move to Shanghai, I was able to get a recommendation for my Ayi (still with us to this day) and talk to friendly faces. I have been involved as a volunteer ever since.”

She’s quick to remind us that she gets as much as she gives to the community. “Last year, my youngest son was hospitalized for an extended period and I can’t tell you how many people reached out to me to express their well wishes or to ask how they could help in some way. This is what the Shanghai Mamas community is all about and I’m happy to contribute in any way to keep it going.”

Kids’ ages: 2 and 6

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2016

Shanghai Mama since: 2016

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2017

Ask her about: WeChat groups of all kinds. “I’ve racked up so many WeChat groups, cleaning contacts, buy/sell groups (I may regret saying that), eye glass sellers, bag sellers, beauty spas, airport drivers … you name it, I’ll be able to connect you.”

The Co-Founder – Melanie Ham

Melanie Ham has been in Shanghai since 2003 and was one of the original Shanghai Mamas. Yep, she’s been here since the Yahoo group days. She’s in charge of the money and legal stuff to make sure we stay in the black, pay our taxes, and stay out of (real) trouble! She has two teenagers, two big dogs, a grumpy cat, and dozens of houseplants.

The range of the good times to be had with the Mamas is summed up perfectly when she explains, “The generous spirit of our members is so inspiring and energizing, whether it is fundraising for orphanages or disabled children, collecting supplies for forgotten schools in western China, or helping organizations supporting migrant children’s education. It has been an incredible experience to be involved with an organization with such a commitment to making an impact in our community. I’ve also loved getting involved with coffee mornings, Shanghai Mamas Talks, parties, and of course our infamous (tequila shot) Book Club…”

Kids’ ages: 13 and 17

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2003

Shanghai Mama & Exec since: 2006

Ask her about: Breastfeeding/lactation issues, volunteering with various NGOs/community organizations in Shanghai, mental health awareness, parenting teens in Shanghai, school options in Shanghai, gender equity, book club, bullet journaling

International Mama – Lisa

Lisa has lived all over the place. The list of cities is ridiculous: Bay Area, Orange County, California, Ermatingen, Ascona (CH), Lausanne, Hong Kong, Florence, Stockholm, Toronto, Bangalore, Shanghai. So even though she’s pretty new to the city, she knew finding support systems and a community early on (before she even arrived!) would be critical to life in a new place.

“The newcomers group helped me get organized before I even moved to China. I was able to get questions answered about ayis, apartments, neighborhoods, schools and more! Being able to do all this made my transition from India to Shanghai so easy and knowing I was speaking with other expats who also have been through the same experiences was so valuable!”

(To join our various community groups, please refer to our WeChat Directroy flyer at the end of this article.)

Kids’ ages: 7 and 1.5

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2019

Shanghai Mama since: 2019

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2020

Ask her about: Danish baby brands

Behind the Scenes – Xinxin

From China to England to Belgium and back, Xinxin is both locally savvy and understanding of international family concerns. Xinxin joined the team in 2020 as our Operations Manager after years of experience in the non-profit and social enterprise sector in Shanghai. Currently our only official employee, in between watching her boys and menagerie of pets, she maintains our website, official WeChat account, email and much more. Xinxin also manages all the constant Exec Team admin requests with a smile – she is the wheel that keeps us moving!!

“Shanghai Mamas offered me a meaningful job when I was in need of feeling connected again with the world out there after months of COVID-19 isolation. It makes me feel proud as a stay at home working mama!”

Kids’ ages: 5 and 11

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2007

Shanghai Mama and Staff since: 2020

Ask her about: How to stay sane when your kids are practicing Beijing opera in the house and managing your time when you have two kids and house full of animals.

Events Expert – Joyce

Joyce, our event manager, joined our team in 2020 and brings years of event planning skills to the SH Mamas community. The brains and clout behind our recent Shanghai Mamas Family Day.

Joyce is a super-active Mama of two fearlessly trying out all the new family activities and venues around the city and vlogging about them on her WeChat Channel ‘Mini Traveling’. She is also an editor and contributor for the Shanghai Mamas Channel.

“Shanghai Mamas connects me with other moms in the community and allows my little ones to make new friends too.”

Kids’ ages: 2 and 4

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2009

Shanghai Mama and Exec since: 2020

Ask her about: Where to have fun with your kids around town!! Joyce takes her kids to explore something new every day!

Festive Mama – Sarah

Aussie Shanghai Mama, Sarah, joined Shanghai Mamas in 2016 before arriving in Shanghai.

“My close friend had completed an expat stint in Dubai and told me the most important thing about expat life is to find your tribe by connecting with people. She found the Shanghai Mamas website and signed me up before I even left Australia, for which I’m very thankful!”

Sarah started attending Downtown Coffee mornings a couple of weeks after arriving in Shanghai. At first it was Sarah and two other women attending the coffee mornings and they started a Downtown Coffee WeChat group to keep in touch. There were no other Shanghai Mamas WeChat groups at the time. Over the months other people attended the coffee morning and slowly but surely the Downtown Coffee morning chat group grew to the almost 250-member group it is today.

“Almost all my friends in Shanghai have been made through Shanghai Mamas. I am still in contact with those friends I first made at coffee mornings even though all of them have moved back home or onto other assignments around the world.”

Volunteering for the last 4 years, Sarah joined the Exec Team in 2020 writing/editing content for the Shanghai Mamas Official WeChat account and making videos for the Channel, as well as helping to grow our social media presence. She continues to admin our Downtown Coffee group, Shanghai Mamas (& Pals) Nights Out and helps-out with the SH Mamas Tweens & Teens group. Sarah also founded the SH Christmas groups!

Kids’ ages: 9 year old daughter

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2016

Shanghai Mama since: 2016

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2020

Ask her about: Anything! Tween activities, night’s out, travel, markets, custom-made bunting and travel – check out her blog of China travels and adventures Want to join the Christmas group? Ask her about all things Christmas-related.

Community Liaison Mama – Susan

Susan moved to Shanghai from Detroit, Michigan having grown up in Washington DC and attended school in Chicago. She moved here in 2018 with her husband and young son:

“I always wanted to live abroad, and it’s so amazing I get to do it in Shanghai! Like many others, I joined Shanghai Mamas before arriving which was super helpful to find my footing and prepare for the move. I attended an annual family day within days of arriving and connected with so many people in my first month here. My first impression of Shanghai Mamas was of such a warm and welcoming community that is so eager to help one another regardless of the question or favor. And it’s great fun!! Like others, I wanted to get more involved with Shanghai Mamas so I could give back to the community that had helped me acclimate quickly to this wonderful city.”

Initially a passive member of the community busy with her “made in China” newborn, Susan became more involved once her daughter started preschool. She joined the executive team in September 2020 as Director of Sponsorship connecting Shanghai Mamas to our amazing organizational sponsors and community partners. She is also the admin for the Shanghai Mamas Toddlers, Preschool and Primary School WeChat groups and helps with the Downtown Coffee and Shanghai Mamas (& Pals) Nights Out groups.

Kids’ ages: Son Gabe 6 and daughter Theo(dora) 2, both SCIS Dragons

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2018

Shanghai Mama since: 2018

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2020

Ask her about: Eating and drinking in Shanghai, life in the FFC with small children, baby and family products, international schools (especially SCIS), and staying busy while the kids are at school

The Newbie – Rosie

Rosie moved to Shanghai, from the UK, in 2019 with her husband and two-year-old son. Whilst Shanghai is her first expat experience with family, she studied in the US and worked and travelled in both Australia and New Zealand. Despite living abroad before, Rosie was initially nervous about a move to Shanghai…

“When my husband first told me we’d been asked to relocate to Shanghai, I was reluctant. However, we both quickly realized what a great city this is and within a month of arriving had already agreed to extend my husband’s contract. I had joined Shanghai Mamas before leaving the UK, so I hit the ground running joining a SH Mamas Downtown Coffee morning the day after I arrived in Shanghai and a SH Mamas Night Out that same week. Shanghai Mamas has been instrumental in helping me to meet people and make new friends. I started volunteering with Shanghai Mamas in 2020 and joined the Executive Committee this year helping to plan events, write and edit articles for the Shanghai Mamas official WeChat account, and organising dinners and activities for the ShMamas (& Pals) Nights Out.”

Kids’ ages: 5 year old boy

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2019

Shanghai Mama since: 2019

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2021

Ask her about: The Former French Concession, children’s activities, and where to go on a night out!

ShMama Alumni Advisors

Long-timer – Jessica

“I had already been in Shanghai for many years when I became a mom. When I went on maternity leave before giving birth, I went to a coffee morning and met a few people. It was fab. Back then the forums on the website were incredibly active (no WeChat!) and I spent so much time on it, I eventually started volunteering to help monitor and run the website. Once my son was born we did coffee mornings, play dates, and met fantastic friends through Shanghai Mamas. It started to become our community. I joined the executive committee because I wanted to give back and also, to learn new things. I had never organized events like the parties, or run a website and it gave me an opportunity to learn and grow professionally. A couple of website revamps and some massive events later (the first YCIS party??? OMG, that was a lesson!) and I feel like I’ve grown so much in my ability and also confidence to be a leader.

My son is now almost 9 and so many of his life events are Shanghai Mamas related in one way or another. It’s been truly life changing for me and I’m so glad I took that first step and filled in the form!”

(If you haven’t officially registered [], it’s your ticket to getting connected to our Facebook group and invites to WeChat groups relevant to your interests.)

Kid’s age: 9 year old boy

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2004

Shanghai Mama since: 2012

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2014

Ask her about: Food, yoga, and wine. Middle school and all its glory.

Mama of All Trades – Hannah

Hannah has filled many roles for Shanghai Mamas. Many of you will know her from her amazing digest email introductions and leading the Lujiazui coffee morning, but she was also running the show behind the scenes as our administrator in 2018 and 2019. WeChat, events, sponsors, emails, and more, she kept us organized and active.

“Shanghai Mamas helped me feel at home in Shanghai. I met all my friends via Shanghai Mamas, and together we’ve shared laughs, tears, many a drink and a meal, holidays, births and meet ups all over the world.”

Kids’ ages: 7 and 9

Year arrived in Shanghai: 2013

Shanghai Mama since: 2012

Shanghai Mama Exec since: 2017

Ask her about: The importance of afternoon naps, what to do when your parents-in-law move in with you, Pudong


Shanghai Mamas is always looking for volunteers to share their interests, skills, and passions with the community. Read this article to see how you can get involved.

To join our various WeChat groups: