May 14, 2021|

JDer Kelly Dawson: Falling in Love with Beijing’s Nooks and Crannies


by Ella Kidron

For JDer Kelly Dawson, life in Beijing has always been about the “nooks and crannies” that one discovers throughout the city. As a former journalist with many bylines under her belt, Dawson is no stranger to exploration and revels in the ability of Beijing to surprise her. “It’s a place that not only challenges me but also inspires me,” she said in an interview at JD headquarters in Beijing.

Her video, “Unexpected Beijing”, takes viewers on a journey of Beijing’s Hutongs, which have become home to Dawson in her over six years in the city. The video is part of a video competition called “100 Reasons to Love Beijing”, hosted by the Beijing municipal government. Dawson accepted a third place award for the video at a ceremony in Beijing’s Forbidden City Museum on May 14. Larry Lee, vice president of Global Corporate Affairs at and Cheng Jigong a vice president at Kuaishou adminstered the awards.

“I’m an expat in the city I call home,” explains Dawson in the video. “In that way, maybe it’s easy to keep looking, to keep collecting the reasons I stay,” she continues as the camera pans to her taking photos in the Hutongs.

Though Dawson is the protagonist of this story, it is emblematic of one of her favorite hobbies, using her own lens to capture the unexpected throughout Beijing. “Exploring the different parts of Beijing and the little nooks and crannies that you stumble across represents the way that I have discovered and fallen in love with Beijing over the course of my time here,” she said.

One of Dawson’s latest discoveries has taken her to Yizhuang, a rapidly developing area in the southeast of Beijing, and home to’s headquarters. In the video, she is seen walking with the JD headquarters building in the background before swiping her employee card as she enters the building. It’s a nod to another adventure she has undertaken since joining the company last year. Dawson has fully embraced the experience and the culture of the place, appreciating the camaraderie she has with colleagues. She welcomes the challenges offered by the new experience. “Since joining JD, I’ve learned so much and being in this environment has been both exciting and inspiring,” she said. “I’m still learning and exploring, and this has also become a major part of my experience here in Beijing.”

In the final shots of the video, Dawson is seen against a backdrop of traditional Chinese architecture as she explains: “What I love most about Beijing is that what you grow to love about it won’t be obvious right away. It’s up to you to figure out what that might be.”