The Ball

Ball Committee

The Vienna Opera Ball Committee was set up for the assembly of the Vienna Opera Ball.
Enquires regarding the Ball can be directed at ball-committee@austrocham.com

Prof. Anna Pao Sohmen
Prof. Anna Pao Sohmen
Honorary Chair
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Prof. Anna Pao Sohmen

Honorary Chairlady

Prof. Anna Pao Sohmen is Chairman and director to a number of companies including shipping, real estate and education. She has been awarded Hong Kong Outstanding Women Entrepreneur in 1999 and Leading Women Entrepreneur of the World in 2000.

On the community front, her activities range from business chambers, environmental groups, arts and culture and Prof. Sohmen has been Council Chairman of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA) for 10 years; Honorary Chairman of The Chinese Manufacturer's Association of Hong Kong (CMA); Chairman of SME and the Environment Protection Committees of CMA. Member of Town Planning Board; Member of Hong Kong Business Coalition on the Environment; Chairman of Hong Kong Eco-Products Award; Member of the Culture and Heritage Commission; Member of the Hong Kong Government Industry Department's Small and Medium Enterprises Committee; Member of the Hong Kong Financial Secretary's Business Advisory Group; Founding Member of Helping Hand; Founding Chairman of the Hong Kong Liver Foundation; Founder of the Chinese International Schools Foundation.

In mainland, on the political front, Mrs. Sohmen is Member of the National CPPCC; Standing Committee Member of CPPCC of Zhejiang and Heilongjiang Provinces; and the Advisor to Ningbo City. Academically she is well respected and is the Honorary Professor of Tong Ji University in Shanghai; the Honorary President of Ningbo University; and Honorary Professor and a trustee of Jiaotong University in Shanghai. She has also been awarded Honorary Doctorate Degree of Letters by Purdue University, her Alma Mater. Recently she has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She is the Chairman of the Sino-British Friendship Scholarship Scheme (supporting thousands of Chinese scholars to UK) and Convenor of Hua Xia Educational Trust (a mainland charitable Trust supporting education of hygiene, agriculture and teaching). She was formerly a Hong Kong-Macau Affairs Advisor, and a member of the Hong Kong Election of Chief Executive Committee.

In addition, she has been an advisor to the Beijing Music Festival and the Berlin Festival. She has been a trustee of the Royal Opera House and was a Board member of London House in UK. She has been awarded the Mont Blanc Award, the Hong Kong Silver Bauhinia Award, Zhejiang Model Citizen Award and Heilongjiang Jasmine Orchid Award.

Having learned ballet, and later modern dance and choreography, she has kept up her interest in ballroom dancing. In 2005 she won as Champion of the American International Ballroom Pro-Am Competition. She has demonstrated Ballroom dance in China, US, Hong Kong and Japan.

Mrs. Johanna Arculli
Mrs. Johanna Arculli
Honorary Patron
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Mrs. Johanna Arculli

Honorary Patron

Johanna K. J. Arculli was born in Vienna, Austria, moved to London in 1974 and has called Hong Kong her home since 1986.

Johanna has been involved in many different charities and is Chairman of Helping Hand since 2000.

In 1996 she was awarded The Golden Cross Of the Republic Of Austria, and in 2001 The Golden Cross of the State of Vienna and the HK SAR’s Bronze Bauhinia Award.

She is married and has 3 children and two stepchildren.

Mrs. Michelle Gaeta
Mrs. Michelle Gaeta
Honorary Patron
Mrs. Susanne Maynhardt
Mrs. Susanne Maynhardt
Honorary Patron
Mrs Gabriele Seewald
Mrs Gabriele Seewald
Committee
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Mrs Gabriele Seewald

Ball Committee Chairlady

Born in Austria, Gabi Seewald has been living in Hong Kong since July 2004 and is married to Leo Seewald, VP and Chief Legal Officer Greater China with Manulife Financial Hong Kong. Their twin boys Leo and Phillip were born in April 2007 in Hong Kong.

Before the twins were born, Gabi has been the Area Manager Asia Pacific for Frey Wille – the Austrian art jewellery brand - from 2004 to 2007, responsible for Greater China, South-East Asia, Japan, Korea and Australia. Prior to this position she has worked as Director of Sales Asia Pacific for the largest Austrian tour operator in Vienna and as Head of China-Training for ARS, a training company in Vienna. She has also held several assignments in the tourism and hospitality industry in Austria and Europe, such as at the Hilton International Vienna and Swissôtel Istanbul (The Raffles Group).

China’s culture and language have always been Gabi’s personal interest and she has studied Mandarin at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. Gabi holds a degree (Mag. Econ.) from the University of Applied Sciences MODUL Vienna in Tourism Management and a Master’s Degree (M.A.) from the Danube University in Intercultural Studies.

Mrs Kirsten Buchholtz
Mrs Kirsten Buchholtz
Committee
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Mrs Kirsten Buchholtz

Committee

Kirsten was born in Hamburg, Germany and first moved to Hong Kong in 1979. She attended the German Swiss International School on the Peak until her graduation. After graduation she moved to Switzerland and attended Hotel School. In 1989 she married Ulrich Buchholtz who was born in Hong Kong and whom she had met during her years at the GSIS. They have been living in the Asia Pacific region in various countries, including 4 years in Australia. Together they have four children who also now attend GSIS. Apart from their job and family responsibilities, they are both involved in various functions at the GSIS. Kirsten has been organizing ballroom dance classes at the school and now has a group of around 48 students preparing as debutantes for the Vienna Opera Ball.

Ms Tina Benedikt
Ms Tina Benedikt
Committee
Mrs. Betty Field-Marsham
Mrs. Betty Field-Marsham
Committee
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Mrs. Betty Field-Marsham

Betty Field-Marsham was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. She studied Commerce at the University of Economics and worked as an Institutional Sales Person and Sales Trader in the Equity Division of Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG and Erste Bank AG in Vienna and London.

She gave up her banking career after the birth of her first child in 2002 and has since then been involved in the organization of various charity projects and non-profit events.

Betty relocated with her husband and children from the UK to Hong Kong in 2007.

Ms. Nassim Ghawidel Asgari
Ms. Nassim Ghawidel Asgari
Committee
Mrs. Elke Schoeppl-Jost
Mrs. Elke Schoeppl-Jost
Committee
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Mrs. Elke Schoeppl-Jost

Born in Austria, Elke used to live for several years in Frankfurt am Main/Germany before she and her husband Gunther Jost moved to Hong Kong in January 2008. Elke has more than a decade of portfolio management experience with a particular focus on Asian markets. Currently she is the Chief Investment Officer at BEA Union Investment in Hong Kong. Prior to joining BEA Union Investment, Elke specialised in Asian and emerging market equities at Union Investment in Frankfurt. Elke started her career as a fund manager in 1998 at Volksbanken Kapitalanlagegesellschaft in Vienna. Elke holds a Master Degree from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and spent one semester in the US and one in China as part of her studies.

Mrs. Astrid Ullmann
Mrs. Astrid Ullmann
Committee
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Mrs. Astrid Ullmann

Astrid was born and raised in Vienna. After finishing her studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, she moved to Zurich in 1999, where she started to work for UBS AG. During her 9 years in Switzerland she took on several positions within UBS Wealth Management, mainly in the Controlling Area and CEO Management Support Function. In February 2008 Astrid arrived in Hong Kong to take up the role as Chief of Staff for UBS Wealth Management in Hong Kong. In this role she is closely working together with the CEO & Senior Management of UBS, acting as the key co-ordinator and driver of the HK location strategy, initiatives and communication as well as sales & risk management.

Being fully inspired and attracted by the speed and positive "can-do" attitude of Hong Kong, at the same time Astrid still feels very attached to her home country Austria and is excited that with the organization of the Hong Kong Vienna Opera Ball 2010, she can contribute to bringing together the best of Hong Kong and Austria for one night!

Mrs. Sylvie Hudson
Mrs. Sylvie Hudson
Assistant to the Committee
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Mrs. Sylvie Hudson

Sylvie was born in Paris and studied German and English at “la Sorbonne” University. Following this she studied for a BTS in Tourism, and subsequently worked as editor of tourist guide books, as well as working with a number of travel agents in Switzerland. As a PA, Sylvie had held roles serving board members of both ELF Petroleum and Raymond Weil watches in Geneva.
Recently she has been able to fulfill her dreams of traveling and meeting people from varying different cultures and religions, while supporting her English husband’s work in Sri Lanka, Romania and China. Her family is now happily settled in Hong Kong which has been her home for over 5 years and is the birthplace of her two daughters, Zoe and Emma.

Sylvie is quoted as saying she is “delighted to be working with such amazing people” as PA to the Ball Committee. She has always had an affiliation with Austria – as a child her family tradition was never to miss a Neues Jahr Konzert live from Vienna. Music and dance continue to be a passion of Sylvie’s.

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