Joy Chen





Joy's story

from shy misfit to Los Angeles Deputy Mayor to CEO of JOYOUS


Hi there! I'm Joy. 

Joy Chen natal familyI was born in the States to immigrants from China. That’s me in the pink and white sweater, my parents, my brother, and my grandmother, our Nainai, who lived with us.

My parents had saved and sacrificed to buy a house in a good school district, which meant that my brother and I were the oddball Chinese in a school that was almost all white.

I always dreamed to make a difference. But I wasn’t sure that I could, because, at school, I was so awkward. I ached to belong. So much of my childhood was consumed by the question: How do you talk to white people??

I kept on putting myself out there, and by my 20s, I got better at connecting.

Luck entered my life in the form of some incredible friends, allies and mentors, and then suddenly when I was 31, I got belonged in shocking fashion: I was appointed Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles.

Joy Chen speaking in HollywoodWorking with leaders from business, media and non-profits across the region, I created programs which have helped millions gain access to new skills and jobs.

When our term ended, I was recruited to be a Principal at the global executive search and leadership consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles. I led searches for Fortune 500 companies in North America, Asia and Europe.

And I started a blog, in Chinese and English, to teach others the unwritten rules of the game.

The blog went viral, and a publisher in China invited me to write a book for women there. I wrote Do Not Marry Before Age 30《30岁前别结婚》and How to Get Lucky in Your Career《30 岁趁势而为》.

The books launched me as a global careers guru in China. I established a Beijing studio, where we created online courses and social media which garnered millions of followers, and brand partners including Olay, SK-II and Mercedes.

Joy Chen XDP speech

Then the pandemic, and the racial reckoning. I returned to the States, and to grad school, at Cornell, to study organizational psychology and earn a Diversity & Inclusion certificate.

And I brought together the world’s leading experts in big data to establish JOYOUS, a consulting firm at the intersection of HR and technology. We use AI and analytics to help companies operationalize inclusion.

Because companies profit best when all their people can be happy and contribute to their full potential.

The truth is, there’s no need for outsiders and insiders. I know how it feels to be excluded. And in the two decades since I was appointed Deputy Mayor, my purpose has been to innovate to create inclusion for others.

I am so blessed to be doing my life's work.

When I’m not serving clients, I’m often playing pickleball or hanging out with my husband and our two middle-school-age girls. We live in the Los Angeles area where we keep a backyard farm with 15 chickens.

I’d love to be in conversation and community with you! If you’d like that, too, please:

  • Follow or connect with me on LinkedIn, here.

  • Subscribe to our blog, here.

  • Connect with me to discuss how we can partner to operationalize inclusion at your company, here.

Take good care!


Joy's bio


Joy Chen (陈愉)

Joy Chen is a business and civic leader who for decades has been expanding inclusion and equity across organizations and societies. She is CEO of JOYOUS, a human capital consulting firm which uses AI and analytics to help companies operationalize inclusion.

Prior to forming JOYOUS, Joy served as Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, in which capacity she launched workforce innovations which have resulted in access to new skills and jobs for millions. Joy also served as a Principal with the global executive search firm and leadership consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles.

Widely recognized as a global leader in creating inclusion, Joy has been profiled by media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, the Los Angeles Times and Vogue China.

Joy also is a popular speaker and writer. In China, she authored two best-sellers, Do Not Marry Before Age 30《30岁前别结婚》and How to Get Lucky in Your Career《30 岁趁势而为》, which launched her as China’s global careers guru, with millions of social-media followers and brand partners including Olay, SK-II and Mercedes.

Joy holds a Diversity & Inclusion certification from Cornell University, MBA and M.A. in Urban Planning degrees from UCLA, and a BA from Duke University.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two daughters.

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Joy Chen former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor

Joy in the news

The Wall Street Journal

In a print and 3-minute video package, The Wall Street Journal features Joy as a global careers guru in China.
Watch now.




The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times refers to Joy Chen simply as The Networker.


ABC News on Joy Chen

Excerpts from the ABC News feature on Joy:

"Joy Chen is a superstar in China, the champion of young women known as "leftovers" -- those who are still single in their mid-20s and scorned by all. Chen is the author of "Do Not Marry Before Age 30," a pop culture bestseller that offers dating advice and strives to help women reach their full potential. The book is a latest sensation among a new class of working women in China, some of the best educated in the world.

Women have been flocking by the thousands to her speaking engagements. "It's more of a guide on how to be happy and confident in your own life -- how to love yourself," she said of the book. But it also includes techniques she learned while working as a global headhunter after her stint in city government.

'One of the things we keep hearing all over again in pop culture is there are very few role models with success in their career and a happy family life,' she said. 'My intention is to start the conversation these women need to have amongst themselves."

OZY Media

Excerpts from the OZY Media feature on Joy:

"On stage, celebrity Joy Chen is like a walking exclamation point. She speaks in rolling torrents and flashes a brilliant white smile. Her poise and polish are hallmarks of her much vaunted sisterhood — call them the Alpha Females of China.

Today, a hushed audience of tens of thousands of white-collar women — all young, educated, urban and all in black pumps — are eagerly eating up every word of her feminista rallying cry. “We don’t want to survive in society,” she says. “We want to lead society.”

It’s a brazen decree with a lot of lofty ideals behind it. But with doe-eyed looks and a certain gal pal appeal, Chen is a modern-day Joan of Arc."


Other Media

Joy has been widely covered across China's business and fashion media, including Caixin, Wall Street Journal Chinese, VOGUE, ELLE, GQ, Trends Health, Marie Claire, Cosmo, Esquire, SELF, and Harper's Bazaar.

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