Lead 5050: Karen Stewart

BSC is providing an opportunity for colleagues from across our business to be part of Lead 5050, an organisation that empowers women in education.

We spoke to Karen Stewart, the Assistant Director of Studies at BSC London, about the reasons she decided to apply.

What made you want to join Lead 5050?

I wanted to join Lead5050 in order to give myself a pat on the back for what I am doing well, to develop in both my work l and private life and to be able to contribute by sharing my experiences with others.

After having read through the Lead5050 website –looking at the stories of those that founded it, their 2019 summit and the CPD they offer, I found several areas, themes and quotes that struck a chord with me.

I am a busy mother who wants to develop their career, the session “Making tough choices when everything is important" is something I am keen to think about – prioritising rather than procrastinating.  I also read through the inspiring stories of those who started up  Lead 5050. I was particularly struck by that of “Maria Castro" who talked about the importance of breaking gender stereotypes in bringing up her children and the importance to be part of an international group of like-minded people. I feel it is important to ensure my own children are enlightened adults and being a part of this group of leading women would be an excellent role model for them, for my daughter, of course, but also for my son.

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

Our bespoke courses. A course I was particularly passionate about was when I was asked to make some sample material for a course in Museology. I could hark back to my younger self: I have a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, so it was great fun to combine my current self as an English Language teacher with some of what I know about Ancient Egypt!

What do you most enjoy about working at BSC

Being trusted to take on responsibility and being given space to challenge myself to do things out of my comfort zone.

What’s been your biggest career success so far?

Not sure if it is a personal success, but definitely, helping our Refuaid students gives me immense satisfaction.  If I, albeit in a tiny way, have contributed to just one of those students -to get on a career path and find peace in their lives - I believe that is a career success.

What drives you in your career?

Putting myself in other people’s shoes. I think about my own experiences, think about when I travelled, think about perhaps when I was younger and try to emulate people that helped me.   I often try to remember how I felt in those days when I seemed to have been left on my own- and  I would never want anyone to feel like that!

Is there a particular woman in business that inspires you?

I am sure there is an alternate version of me who is a lawyer or a politician.  So it has to be Gina Miller, who in 2017 was named by Power list as the UK’s most influential black person- the nominees were rated on their “ability to change lives and alter events”.  The idea of looking further than yourself, looking after your family and any community that somehow you have contact with resonates with me.

What innovations do you see in the future for BSC?

BSC will be the bar by which other schools are measured - not only as an English Language school but also as a model employer for those working in the industry.  This industry historically has not felt committed to its employees, BSC will lead on employer rights and in providing the best work environment.

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

A sprinkling of resilience for everyone! For me to have it, for  all those people out there to have  it  and for my children to have it- if they can  develop  enough of  it  they will be able to face anything that life throws  at them