Co-Founder of Creative Associates International, passes away
January 4, 2016
Mimi Tse–a leader in women-led private sector development and co-founder of Creative Associates International—died on Jan. 2.
Mimi, who retired in September 2015, was one of four women who started Creative in 1977 with a vision of providing much-needed education to children and youth in developing countries.
Mimi’s good friend and co-founder, Charito Kruvant, says the four women started the company 39 years ago at a time when the industry was dominated by organizations led by men.
“We were trailblazers. At that time, government contracting officials doubted we could handle the work in developing countries,” says Charito Kruvant, who continues to serve as Creative’s CEO. “However, we successfully won projects, took on tough challenges and improved the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Today, Creative has more than 1,000 employees working in 15 countries on projects ranging from education and elections to bolstering civil society and improving governance.
Mimi Tse was born in Fuzhou, China, and relocated with her family to Hong Kong. At age 13, she moved to the United States. As a dedicated student, Mimi Tse earned a number of advanced degrees, including a Master of Arts in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University, a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts and Bachelors of Arts in Accounting from the University of Maryland.
In 1975, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work on a research project about early childhood education. It is at this time Mimi Tse met Charito Kruvant and two other women—Diane Dodge and Cheryl Jones—which eventually led to the launch of Creative. Dodge and Jones later left the company.
Mimi Tse eventually stepped down as Creative’s CFO in 2014 as part of a long-planned transition. In September 2015, she retired from the organization.
In a 2013 interview, Mimi said: “Creative always keeps a focus on servicing children, youth, family and women. That is the thing that Creative always endeavors to do.”
In addition, she considered it to be a privilege to mentor younger women to develop and refine their technical skills. At home in Washington DC, Mimi helped create and support the classical music.
Mimi Tse, who was an accomplished ballroom dancer and supporter of classical music, is survived by her husband Kam and their son Lee-Ming, as well as their daughter-in-law and granddaughter.