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Meet the new leaders of English UK’s Board of Trustees

Published Lynne on Monday, June 28, 2021

English UK Board

Mark Rendell and Shoko Doherty have been voted the new chair and vice-chair of the English UK Board of Trustees.

Both are active members of the ELT industry, running schools in England and Wales. They play a major role in representing the sector both locally and nationally, and believe their experience will be invaluable in helping the industry tackle the challenge of rebuilding after Covid and the withdrawal of EU freedom of movement.

Mark, the CEO of International House London since 2019, has been in ELT for 28 years, teaching in Poland, Saudi Arabia, and China before working at English UK and then moving to become principal of St Giles International London Central. Shoko, CEO of Celtic English Academy in Cardiff, first came to the UK as an international student from Japan and honed her English language skills during her university studies. She has worked in ELT for 17 years – in most roles except teaching.

Mark was deputy chief executive of English UK for six years to 2011, becoming a trustee and director in 2016 and serving as vice-chair for the last three years. He was also chair of English UK London, and is currently a trustee and director of the IH World Organisation, a member of the Accreditation UK board and a member of the Cambridge Assessment Standards Committee.

Shoko joined the English UK board in 2017, the English UK Enterprises board in 2020, and was vice chair of English UK Wales, the association she helped to set up six years ago. She has been heavily involved with various tourism and international relations projects with stakeholders in Wales and overseas. She was a Leading Wales Awards Finalist for Women in Leadership in 2018.

Why did they put themselves forward for the roles?

Both say they are humbled and honoured to serve the Association. Mark says: “I believe our Association has the ability to help our industry, our organisations, and our students to continue to improve, to foster resilience and to prosper. By standing together, we all grow and become stronger, and I am excited to be able to play my part. I want the UK to welcome international students again, to actively target growth, and for the country to be regarded as the world’s premier ELT destination.”

Shoko says: “If this opportunity had arisen pre-pandemic, the idea of putting myself forward probably wouldn’t have readily crossed my mind. We have so many fantastic colleagues and peers in our industry with a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills whom I would like to be led by and would consider first, before standing for the position myself. Yet whilst I might hesitate in my own self-confidence, even now, I recognised my leadership strengths through the pandemic experience especially in crisis management, resiliency, and determination, holding ultimately a vision to not give up and to see future opportunity come out of threats. I realised afresh that stepping up and working together can, and will, make a difference.”

“I truly believe that the UK is one of the best ELT destinations. I experienced it myself as an international student, and I want many more students from around the world to have their life-changing experiences here with us, studying at an English UK member centre.”

What do they hope to achieve?

Mark says: “I want to ensure that the members of the Association get full value and commitment for their membership and that the industry, to borrow a phrase, not only survives, but builds back better following the global pandemic. There are many important aspects of the role. Firstly, it is to use the visibility of the role to lead, influence, lobby, promote and build alliances that help our Association continue to punch above its weight. My role is also to support the elected trustees of the Association to reach their potential in the role and to make an effective contribution on behalf of the members. I will also provide a sounding board, strategic support, and guidance for the very talented and hard-working executive team led very capably by Jodie Gray.”

Shoko says: “In addition to what Mark said, I care about a sustainable future for our sector, society, and world, on all levels. I want to be an advocate for sustainability not only in terms of the environment, but to play a part in making a better, more balanced and fairer world for us to live, study or work in. I want to lead by example, championing diversity and organisational sustainability, including well-being, fairness, inclusivity, and flexibility, for the positive future of the UK ELT sector, including our reputation both overseas as well as locally and nationally here in the UK. I am particularly keen to listen to our members and to contribute towards rebuilding and reshaping our industry by focusing on what matters to our ELT communities.

“I believe that having visible and diverse role models helps to break down barriers to leadership and raise the aspirations of younger generations, seeing colleagues who, in my own example, are; female, of all ages, from ethnic minorities, or across different UK regions – not discounting the broad range of diversity and equality characteristics that shouldn’t be a barrier to skills, success and sustainability, but can actually be a strength.”

“I also would like the members from devolved nations or smaller, or more remote regions, to have better representation within our Association and will continue to champion the diverse destinations that UK ELT has to offer as whole.”

How do they relax?

Both are married with children. Mark has completed two marathons, has an IMDB listing thanks to his appearance in the film The Bromley Boys, and has just taken up crown green bowling. Shoko is a keen brass band player, playing with world’s top-ranked Cory Band for two years.



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