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Liz Haenle 003

Elizabeth Haenle

Based in Singapore

  • Founder & CEO of Peridona Weddings
  • An expert in event planning A-Z, lifestyle, etiquette, household management and training, gift giving-selection and wrapping, and how to be a great hostess and a great guest
  • Former Social Secretary for Vice President of the United States, The White House
  • Founder & CEO of Peridona Weddings
  • An expert in event planning A-Z, lifestyle, etiquette, household management and training, gift giving-selection and wrapping, and how to be a great hostess and a great guest
  • Former Social Secretary for Vice President of the United States, The White House

Elizabeth HAENLE is Co-founder and President of SAGE Worldwide, a female-led speakers agency that works around the globe to match top speakers with clients who are looking for external expertise on a range of topics from geopolitics to diversity and inclusion. Under Haenle’s leadership, SAGE Worldwide set up operations in China and was the first Western speakers agency to enter the Chinese market. SAGE is one of the few international speaker agencies to be led by a woman. In her capacity as President, she has a particular passion for promoting messages for women by women and bringing diversity and inclusion to her team and speaker roster. She is also the Co-founder of Park Bridge Partners, a strategic advisory firm whose focus is working with US and Asia-based companies on growth and expansion.

Haenle serves as a leading Advisory Committee member and advocate for the US-China Strong Initiative at Asia Society. The US-China Strong program, started by Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, continues to focus on providing opportunities for America’s youth to learn about China. Prior to starting two companies, Haenle worked at the White House as the Social Secretary and Residence Manager to the Vice President of the United States. Her main responsibilities included planning events at the official residence of the Vice President and traveling internationally on behalf of the President and Vice President to conceptualize, organize, and set up meetings and events. She was also responsible for overseeing the décor, management, and upkeep of the official residence for the Vice President and his family.

Earlier in her career, Elizabeth served as an aide to former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Barbara Hackman Franklin, with a strong focus on U.S.-China trade relations. Elizabeth joined Barbara Franklin Enterprises after planning events for a Member of Congress on Capitol Hill and coordinating the travel and events for two candidates for President of the United States.

Elizabeth also worked for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, where she planned events and visits to Atlanta for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). She enjoys creating global opportunities for young people and investing in women.

Elizabeth is married to Paul Haenle, Managing Director, Head of Asia Pacific Policy & Strategic Competitiveness at JP Morgan Chase & Co. They have two children born in Beijing, Thomas, age 14, and Mabel age 6. They split their time between Singapore and their home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.


Last week, the 100,000 Strong Foundation hosted a luncheon in honor of Melodee Hanes, a former US Department of Justice official and spouse of US Ambassador to China Max Baucus. With the support of Sage Worldwide President Liz Haenle, the event went very well.

Below is the monthly newsletter sent from 100,000 Strong talking more on the event.

Last week, the 100,000 Strong Foundation hosted a luncheon in honor of Melodee Hanes, a former US Department of Justice official and spouse of US Ambassador to China Max Baucus. With the support of co-hosts Liz Haenle (Sage WorldWide), Deborah Lehr (The Paulson Institute), and Erin Walsh (formerly Goldman Sachs), the event was a huge success. Over 30 prominent women from the Washington, DC business, policy and academic communities came together to celebrate Melodee’s first year in China and the contributions she and her husband are making to US-China relations.

Deborah Lehr, Melodee Hanes, Carola McGiffert

 Melodee moved to Beijing in March 2014 and has spent the past year immersing herself in Chinese culture and policy issues. She has secured a Chinese driver’s license, traveled to 16 out of China’s 33 provinces, and is currently learning Mandarin. I had the honor of meeting Melodee at a reception she and Ambassador Baucus hosted for the Foundation in Beijing. Her excitement for our mission was palpable, and we both knew we wanted to work together. “We need more students studying Mandarin and traveling to China to continue to build economic and diplomatic bridges between our two countries. And we need them to reflect the diversity of America,” she said. “100K Strong Student Ambassadors are a testament to the effectiveness of people-to-people exchange, the hallmark of the Foundation’s mission.”

Originally by, Source: April 2, 2015,


Wedding planner says the joy in her work is universal.

Elizabeth Haenle has been involved in 18 weddings in the past two years. [Liu Zhe / China Daily]
Elizabeth Haenle’s last job was social secretary for former US vice-president Dick Cheney. She worked at the White House for eight years.

So when she moved to Beijing with her husband in January 2010 and gave birth to their son, she focused on a new career doing what she thought was only natural – planning weddings.

Haenle’s previous job as social secretary for the vice-president allowed her to “follow the trends of the wedding industry”.

“If you are an event planner, you closely follow the wedding industry because it tends to set many of the trends for the year. So I subscribed to every wedding magazine, read all the trends, followed all of the planning details, and attended many wedding fairs, knowing that when I finished my work at the White House, I would start a wedding company.”

Starting a new career at 38 is not easy for anyone, but Haenle, now 40, says it was made easier for her “because I moved into an industry I love”.

“I am passionate about putting beautiful things together and making people very happy,” she says.

In January 2009, when George W. Bush completed his presidency, Haenle left the White House and started her wedding company Elizabeth Haenle Weddings. Within one year, she planned three weddings, including her own.

The company has three offices, in Beijing, New York and Washington DC. She and her husband Paul decided to move to Beijing in 2010 because they were both interested in the country.

Haenle says she learned a great deal about China when she worked for former secretary of commerce Barbara Franklin in the late 1990s and then for Cheney. During that stint, she was fortunate to plan events for Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao. She traveled to China for the first time while working for the White House to help prepare for Cheney’s trip to the country in 2003.

In 2006, the Haenles also vacationed in China, backpacking through much of the countryside.

“When people ask us back home what we love about China, we realize it’s the people, and much of the culture that they represented. Like our American friends, we realized that our Chinese friends care about their family, their neighbors and their children,” Haenle says.

“And knowing that I could come here to China, learn the customs and language, and work with clients here was very exciting. So in that way it was easy to get me on the plane to move here.”

When she was six-months’ pregnant in January 2010, Haenle arrived in Beijing. She gave birth to her son Thomas less than three months after she arrived and she has been involved in 18 weddings in the past two years.

Her clients include both Chinese and foreigners.

“I enjoy working with Chinese brides and grooms, and my business here is quite popular, but I quickly found out that my business is global. We plan in China. We have weddings in America, weddings in Europe We plan weddings around the world. One of my clients even got married on the beach in the Maldives.”

Haenle’s latest clients include brides from England and Australia.

But much of her planning is done in China, where various products are produced for weddings. Some brides even ship her designs back to their countries where the wedding is carried out, she says.

Beside the products manufactured in China, Haenle also does special designs according to different clients’ situations. Like custom-made hongbao or red envelopes with “double happiness” motifs printed on them, she adds Chinese elements to her designs.

For an Australian couple, Haenle designed a Chinese tea box to give to their guests because China is “a very important part of their love story” since the couple both lived here and got engaged in the country.

For clients who specify different styles and elements in their weddings, Haenle will take clients anywhere they want – Paris, London, Milan, Hanoi, Bangkok – or Chinese cities. These requests will obviously increase the costs, she says.

The charge for planning a wedding thus varies based on couples’ expectations and needs as well as how much they want the planner to get involved.

“So it’s really hard to say,” Haenle says. “We find ourselves often in what I would call the high end of the wedding market – the Louis Vuitton of weddings – because so many of my clients ask for a luxury wedding.”

But it is about more than just the money, Haenle says.

“I really like knowing the customs, the traditions of their grandparents, their mothers and fathers while also planning what modern day brides and grooms want on their wedding day.

“Blending the old and the new with the customs is a critical and a very unique part of our company.”

Haenle’s studio in Beijing’s central business district includes piles of English and Chinese books as well as objects she collected during her travels in China that she says form part of her inspiration for the weddings she helps to plan.

She points out items such as a wedding hat given by a villager in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China’s Yunnan province and a pair of traditional shoe-pads kept in a photo frame embroidered by her assistant’s family from Southwest China’s Sichuan province.

“I really focus on blending, understanding first of all the customs, the traditions,” she says.

In the past several years, she has also traveled to other iconic Chinese sites including the ancient city of Pingyao in North China’s Shanxi province and top scenic spot Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan province to learn local wedding customs.

In her travels, she has interviewed elderly people who talk about their weddings to understand better the history of Chinese wedding ceremonies.

Haenle finds many similarities between the weddings in the East and the West.

“When it comes to wedding planning, China, in many ways, is really no different than any other place in the world.

“Having a wedding is one of the happiest days of our lives. It’s all about family, how you get to this commitment and the story that brought the two of you together. Honoring your ancestors, and celebrating that day with all your loved ones is universal. And in every culture, brides want to look their very best on their wedding day and they want their guests to remember their wedding for a lifetime.”

Haenle has observed that, in China, couples go through a tea ceremony and bow to their parents to show their respect to ancestors and the elders. In the West, people often light candles in honor of loved ones who have passed and play music to remember them.

For Haenle, one of the best parts of her job is getting to know couples so well that they often become her good friends.

“It makes me happy when the parents are happy and the bride and the groom and the guests leave with big smiles on their faces,” she says.

“That’s rewarding to me. When that happens, I know I have done my job.”

By Yang Yang, Source: Mar 2, 2012, China Daily

(Elizabeth Haenle, Co-founder and President of SAGE worldwide is interviewed by City Weekend.)

Liz Haenle 004

In the fall of 2012, event planner Elizabeth Haenle was putting the finishing touches on the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse’s first Western-style wedding for a Chinese couple.

She designed many of the details, including the ringbearer’s attire and pillow. She even oversaw the lighting of 500 candles, the most that had ever been lit at one time in the historic setting. “We were able to really help coordinate their special event from beginning to end,” Haenle says. But it’s not just social events Haenle plans.

Through SAGE Worldwide, the company she founded, Haenle is active in planning global events in far corners of the world, from Beijing, to London, to Sydney, to her former home of Washington, D.C.

“Sage organizes corporate and other special events and helps identify and coordinate the best speakers for those events,” Haenle says. “My husband and I both greatly believe the world wants to better understand China, and much of that understanding can be best developed through dialogue. We think providing the best content, the best speakers, the best people who have a great deal of experience on China, is the best way to enhance that understanding.”

Even before she arrived in Beijing, Haenle was no stranger to planning large-scale events. Haenle had planned and executed more than 500 events during her time as social secretary for the vice president of the United States, coordinated activities for the International Olympic Committee during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and organized professional and social events for former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Barbara Franklin.

Haenle grew up around entertaining. In her small town of 8,000 in the American South, her grandmother stood out as an entrepreneur and a local politician. “But she also knew how to throw a mean dinner party,” Haenle laughs. “Between her and my mother, they owned more sets of china than I can count on four hands.”

Every Sunday, her grandmother set a formal table for a large luncheon for family and friends. Haenle paid attention. When she attended the all-girls school Meredith College, Haenle’s schedule included classes not only for her major in political science, but also for picking out china and being a good hostess. She found she loved political science, but she loved entertaining, too.

Her first post-college jobs were combinations of the two. She first orchestrated events for the International Olympic Committee, then worked as a scheduler for several local and national political campaigns, including those of presidential candidates Richard Lugar and Bob Dole. Finally, she landed in Washington, D.C. as a senior scheduler for a U.S. congressman, which led to her two-year post with Barbara Franklin.

Franklin, a “personal mentor” for Haenle, traveled to China frequently and helped manage U.S.-China commercial relations under former President George H. W. Bush. Haenle’s time working for her was often spent planning trips to China and helping on research projects, which planted seeds for her interest in the country. Those seeds would only continue to flourish.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s team then recruited Haenle, where she worked as social secretary and residence manager for eight years. Through work, she traveled to New York to meet the pope and held a luncheon for China’s then-president Hu Jintao. (She served bison, a leaner-than-beef option that showcases Cheney’s home state, Wyoming.)

While in D.C., she met her future husband Paul Haenle, who then worked on the president’s national security council and is now director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Although she traveled to China once for work and once for fun with Paul, Haenle had never made it to Beijing until she moved here in 2010, six months pregnant with her son, Thomas.

Although she leads two companies, Haenle puts her family first. She eats breakfast with her 3-year-old son every morning, the family regularly eats dinner together and they try very hard to read stories together before they tuck Thomas into bed. “We’re very careful to carve out time on the weekends,” Haenle adds. Every week, Sunday night means pizza and a movie.

“At the end of the day, I really want to be known for being equally adept as a professional working woman, a mom and a wife, whose family has benefitted from all I bring to the table,” Haenle says. Knowing Haenle, it would be a beautifully set table, too.

Originally by Brittney Wong, Source: Feb 12, 2014, Wonder Woman, City Weekend

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