Lead 5050: Sian Hanson

Photo of Sian Hanson & Lead 5050 quotes

As part of BSC’s ongoing initiative to reward and recognise excellence and innovation within our employees, we are providing an opportunity for colleagues from across our business to be part of Lead5050, an organisation that empowers women in education. We are very proud to announce the candidates from within BSC that have been selected.

As well as this, four ‘BSC Leading Lights’ have been selected whose applications really stood out from the rest. These four women will head to Berlin in November to attend the Women in Education awards. We caught up with one of our ‘Leading Lights,’ Sian Hanson, who has also been nominated for the Academic Director of The Year award at the Women in Education Awards. 

What made you want to join Lead 5050?

I would like to be a member of Lead5050 for several reasons. Firstly, as a woman in international education (and the daughter of an inspirational one), I know first-hand of the disproportionate representation of women in leadership roles, senior management and at board level. It is so important that we create a safe space for the ambitious, bright, intelligent women we have in our industry to explore their potential and receive the support they need to put themselves forward for positions of leadership. Lead5050 plays a vital role in achieving that aim.

Ten years ago, in my final tutorial at the end of my CELTA, my tutor said to me that I could be a ‘game-changer’. Now while I’m not sure I have changed any games yet, those words certainly inspired me to strive harder, to achieve more and to not allow anything to hold me back

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far at BSC?

It has to be to the current revision of our PM courses. After years of trying to revamp the afternoon syllabus, our new Skills for Success series provides the structure and 21st Century Skills content that truly meets our modern students’ needs. It will also really help our academic team with the planning and delivery of top-class project-based lessons from a tailor-made coursebook. It’s been a really enjoyable journey so far, working in collaboration with teachers and Directors of Studies as well as the team at National Geographic Learning, whose content and design is helping us be at the cutting edge of English language education.

What do you most enjoy about working at BSC?

I love that every day is different and that I am never bored or at a loose end. That I get to work with people from all sides of the business and experience elements of the ELT industry that I never did in my previous roles. After a period of immense change, it’s so refreshing to meet colleagues who share the same vision and values, and who are really committed to making BSC the best it can possibly be for its customers and for its employees.

What’s been your biggest career success so far?

It has to be being offered my current position of Group Academic Manager. What a privilege to be able to help shape the future of BSC’s academic provision, and work with such experienced, passionate academic managers, teachers and teacher trainers.

What drives you in your career?

I think I have always wanted people to be proud of me. Today I still want to make my parents proud and show that everything they did and the examples they set for me were worth it. I also want to work hard for my fiancé (who is one of the most generous, efficient, productive people I know) and my eight-year-old stepson. When the time comes, I want to know that I put in everything I could to achieving my potential, and to have no regrets.

Is there a particular woman in business that inspires you?

I am lucky to have so many amazing women in my life who teach me to be fearless. Friends who have grown their own business, friends who balance their career with having children, friends who don’t let chronic illness hold them back. But above all, I am inspired by my mum, who, after raising two children, went on to have a really successful career in adult education. Her patience, her kindness and willingness to get stuck in gain the respect and trust from everyone she encounters whether at work or in the countless voluntary projects she has been part of over the years. I also adore Brené Brown and her challenge for us to ‘Dare Greatly’ in business and in life. The idea that there is no courage without vulnerability, and to communicate with kindness is a real breath of fresh air and keeps me mindful every day.

What innovations do you see in the future for BSC?

I think there will be more collaborative working with like-minded organisations and diversification in the products we deliver with regards to content and technology. I think we will become more about the ‘co-curriculum’; where every activity a student does with us is seen as a learning opportunity, whether it be in the classroom, on a sports field or at the cinema.

If you had one wish for the future, what would it be?

That the answer to Brené Brown’s question ‘What if everyone is just doing their best?’, is a resounding ‘of course they are’ because we have created a place to work (a world, even) that encourages just that. A world of equal opportunities and mutual respect – regardless of gender, race, religion – where people feel valued, where skills are developed and hard work rewarded. On a more personal level, it would be to have enough money to visit my brother and his family in New Zealand every year!

Do you want to learn more about Lead5050? Find out more about their Women in Education awards here. 

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