#First50

#First50 is a group of inspirational women who have had a real impact on their organisations and the industry as a whole.
Chosen because they’ve inspired us personally or they were suggested by colleagues and peers because of their positive impact on them personally or professionally.

Amy Baker - The PIE: media, recruitment and business consultancy for international education

Don't be afraid to say you don't know something, even if you think it might reveal your ignorance. On many occasions, I have realised others in the room don't know either and appreciate my candour.

Reading time: 4 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Sasha Zilovic - ELS Education Services Inc.

Working in this field is all about people and about relationships. You need to genuinely enjoy communicating with people and have an innate concern about their well-being- from your students, your colleagues, your employees, to your peers in the industry.

Reading time: 4 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Harsha Shivdasani - Hosts International

I really started out with a quest to come to the United Kingdom and really start my life when I was 16. I had a long association in mind and spirit with all things English from an early age having been educated at a convent school in Sri Lanka where I was Head Girl for many years.

Reading time: mins

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Lisa James - Embassy English

In 1994 I was a recent graduate with a degree in Linguistics and a TEFL certificate - working in a bank with a second job selling fruit and veg in the local open air market. A friend rang and told me about a job she had signed up for in the summer and they were looking for more people - it was teaching English and leading activities for Embassy in one of their junior summer schools - I never looked back!

Reading time: 5 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Dr Emily Williams Knight - Study Group International

Dr. Emily Williams Knight has spent more than twenty years in higher education. She joined Study Group as Managing Director of Higher Education North America in 2016. She is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the US and Canadian higher education markets and has a long and distinguished career within the Education industry. Passionate about education, Dr. Williams Knight is a member of several boards, including the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), the Newbury College’s Saunders School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and the Illinois Restaurant Association. She also writes for the Chicago Sun Times and various trade publications. She is fully committed to women’s leadership development. To support this cause, she has served as a panelist at international conferences, including the first Women in Hospitality and Tourism in Asia Conference held in Singapore, and the round table about Women as CEOs at the Direct Selling Association. Despite her busy schedule, Ms. Williams Knights also makes time to volunteer and to support city programs designed to improving access to higher education. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, their 11 year old twin girls, and rescue pup, Murphy.

Reading time: 5 mins

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Tamsin Plaxton - Tamwood International College

I started out in this industry while at university when I worked as a camp counsellor at an international summer camp in Switzerland. That experience inspired me to work with kids and in something international and led me to quit my career as a lawyer a few years later to open and run, with my partner Matt Collingwood, an international summer camp and language school business in Canada.

Reading time: 3 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Aoife Laban - Apollo Language Centre

What is your favourite quote? ‘What’s for you won’t pass you by.’

Reading time: 2 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Carolyn Blackmore - Quality English

You mustn’t be put off by setbacks. Pick yourself up and carry on... Does the decision meet all the criteria you have set? Have you spent more than enough time on it? Then go for it, send it, do it, sign it. That was my safety valve.

Reading time: mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Nadine Baladi - ILSC

Set your goals high and figure out what it takes to get there. Don’t be afraid to set them truly very very high!

Reading time: 3 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Ida Willadsen - Malaca Institute

There was an opportunity and we took it – and once started, we just had to carry on.

Reading time: 3 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Giorgia Biccelli - Linguaviva Milan

Always look ahead, if you happen to look back it is only to find ideas or indications which will help you to move forward. Identify what is important to you and for your life... do things as well as possible and remember that mistakes are great for learning.

Reading time: 3 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Jan Capper - IALC International Association of Language Centres

After graduating, I got a job in a large tour operator in London. I had planned an academic career, but then I decided the commercial world needed feminists!

Reading time: 2 mins

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Santuza Bicalho - CVC Brazil

I had a super career as a lawyer, but deep inside I knew international educational was where I belonged. After taking this leap of faith, my career took off.

Reading time: 3 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Michelle Westfort - Navitas

A turning point in my career was when I recognized that not everyone in the workplace wants you to succeed. While it was personally deflating for the moment and a sense of being out of control, what I realized is that my success and future is entirely within my own control.

Reading time: 4 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Jenny Nieveen - Open Hearts Language Academy

Don’t settle for what seems to be the normal thing to do, think outside the box. Be cautious but do not limit yourself, think but don’t over think, believe in yourself but don’t be arrogant, follow your instinct it never betrays you. Have faith that though the road ahead is uncertain, there is one thing certain in life, if one door closes another will open.

Reading time: 4 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

Elena Solomonova - Insight Lingua

There will be many times in life when the opportunity to leave your comfort zone presents itself to you – do not be scared. You need to be brave. My whole life, when faced with these situations, I have always needed an extra push – but it has always been the times in my life when I look back and see that those were my greatest achievements.

Reading time: 5 mins

Read Her #First50 Story

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