New member for English UK Board
An unexpected vacancy on our Board of Trustees has been filled by the candidate who narrowly missed joining after the last election in May.
Farhan Quraishi, CEO and co-owner of Speak Up London has joined the board until the next annual elections in May 2022, when he will be able to put himself up for re-election. He replaces Chris Moonie of the Mackenzie School of English, who has stepped down.
Our Board chair Mark Rendell said that he was delighted to welcome Farhan as a trustee, "It's fantastic that there was so much interest in this year's board election, and we had many more candidates than places available. That made it easy to find someone who many members had already voted for and Farhan will bring energy, technological awareness and creative ideas to the Board.
"I'd also like to pay tribute to Chris for his significant contribution to the Board. Chris was always a respected, rational and supportive voice and we wish him well in his future endeavours."
Following a degree in accounting and finance, Farhan began his career in a small FE college as a part-time lecturer, working his way up to become principal and becoming interested in the organisation's English language department.
Almost ten years ago he and his partner founded Speak Up London, a school in the heart of the city, starting with a van full of classroom equipment which he got free from a Gumtree advert which led to pursuing their dream of opening a school themselves.
Farhan's role is to drive the growth of the company through marketing, sales, quality assurance, and innovation, overseeing day-to-day operations and keeping it on track and in line with its strategy. Speak Up London operates as a "home away from home" and offers extra value such as free daily speaking lessons.
Q&A with Farhan Quraishi
What keeps you in our industry?
"A deep respect for international students who sacrifice time, money, relationships with their loved ones to invest in their future. The shared journey that owners, managers, and staff take in providing life-changing experiences for students."
What made you stand for the board?
"Our industry was shaken like never before, it was truly heart-breaking to see how little recognition we received considering how much we contribute to the economy, and how little support we obtained as an industry. I wanted to stand for the board to ensure that we, collectively, work towards gaining that recognition and using my skills from building a school from the ground up to help other schools."
How do you feel about being able to join the board now?
"Excited and honoured - it's going to be a real challenge to achieve what we need for the industry but this is what motivates me to keep working until we obtain our goal. I feel honoured to be joining an already accomplished team to learn from and to work with."
What do you hope to be able to achieve with the board? What strengths can you bring?
"Starting every business that I have been in has allowed me to obtain in-depth knowledge of all areas within ELT. From human resources, finances, innovation, and teaching, I can bring all these skills to the board, but more importantly, it allows me to have a 'birds-eye view' of any of the tasks that will be presented."
In other Board related news Richard Simpson of the University of Sheffield has been co-opted to the board as an observer for his extensive experience in the state sector.