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My name is Amanda Argentieri, and I am the President of the International Professional Women’s Society (IPWS), which has been providing a platform for professional women to connect in Shanghai for the past 25 years. In my day job, I am a U.S. licensed attorney currently managing business policies, training and communications for Global Business Operations at a Boston-based tech company called PTC.
I can hardly believe that I have been living in Shanghai for 5 years! I originally came here with my partner at the time on an expatriate package for his job, but ultimately, we didn’t work, and I decided to stay in Shanghai and “go local.” I had already built an amazing network through IPWS, made great friendships, and found fulfilling work here, and I just didn’t feel ready to leave. I went from living in one of the nicest serviced compounds in the city to a lovely small apartment in Changning, where I currently live with my rescue dog, Bao Bao—and I couldn’t be happier!
I first joined IPWS at the Expat Show in 2014 as a member, after hearing about the organization from a friend and wanting to continue my professional development while looking for work in Shanghai. I started attending events, and realized that IPWS was more than just a networking association. It is a dynamic, diverse, supportive community of professional women (and supporting men) from all nationalities and backgrounds. I joined the volunteer Board of Directors later that year as Membership Executive, and then in early 2016 took on the Vice President role. Since September 2017, I have had the honor of serving as President and leading the organization at its largest, with a reach of now 8,000. Joining IPWS is hands down the best thing I have done in Shanghai since my arrival.
My favorite aspect of Shanghai is its reputation as a city of opportunity. You can truly create your own destiny here. People come from all over the world for this reason. There is also an endless number of events, festivals, meetups, and more – you literally have to try to be bored in Shanghai. My least favorite part of living in Shanghai is the heartache of losing a favorite café, cocktail bar, or restaurant without notice. But thankfully there are always great new places popping up across the city to ease the pain.
I live within walking distance of the longtime Italian establishment called Da Marco, which is dangerous for me. I enjoy their delicious homemade pastas on a far too regular basis, and their new Happy Hour deals on Saturday just added another day of the week that you can likely find both me and Bao Bao there. Also in my neighborhood is Brut Eatery, my top place for a working lunch or a quick coffee—also dog friendly! They have a great cold brew coffee, perfect for summer weather. For brunch, I keep returning to Bull & Claw, because as we all know, the brunch there is amazing and the patio is fabulous for chilling with friends on a sunny day. Another favorite of mine is Lotus Eatery, which does delicious Yunnan dishes at a great price. I can eat an entire plate of fried goat cheese on my own. You may need to wait during busy times, but it’s definitely worth it!
In addition to frequenting the great food and beverage establishments in Shanghai, I also enjoy Mobiking to my next destination (Mobiking is a verb now, right?), squeezing in yoga and group classes at Z&B Fitness when I can, and of course attending all of the great professional and personal development events that IPWS puts on throughout the year.
I can’t tell you how many times my friends and family back home in the U.S ask me if I will live in Shanghai forever. I don’t have a good answer! Every time I think I may head home, a new opportunity presents itself. I often describe this city as “addicting.” I think I will know when the time is right to move on to my next adventure.
I am most proud of my decision to stay in Shanghai on my own. Over the years, I have met several women and men who came here as part of a couple, and when that didn’t work, they decided to stay and make it for themselves here. That inspired me. Even though I did not come to Shanghai entirely for myself, I have embraced the city and all it offers in building my life here. I have a fun job, a vibrant lifestyle, a supportive network, and have been able to travel to places I never imagined going.
I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
The annual IPWS Leadership Summit & Women Leadership Awards is going down next week, it's open to everyone. The event will feature speakers as well as interactive workshops, runs from 12-6pm and there'll be an after party from 6-9pm. More info here.
Jul 21, 2023
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