This month it’s the turn of Nicola Smith, the head of our Operations team. Nicola is responsible for many of the logistical arrangements that bring our teachers to your school so here’s your opportunity to find out who she is, more about what she does and what she likes to do outside of her work life. I took some time to sit with her and ask her a few questions.
What do you do for English in Action?
I am the Operations Manager for English in Action.
Can you tell me a bit about your role?
As Operations Manager, I oversee the work of the Operations Department whose main responsibility is to recruit, deploy and manage teaching staff delivering English in Action courses.
My role is extremely varied, no two days are alike – one day I will be recruiting teachers and conducting interviews, another I will be planning teacher assignments or booking flights. I also man the 24-hour emergency phone and am ready to answer any queries or troubleshoot any problems. This keeps me very busy!
The deployment aspect of the department includes researching local amenities, accommodation and travel routes, which my colleagues are primarily responsible for.
What did today look like for you?
Mondays are usually a busy day for the Operations department as we get lots of emails and deal with any issues that have occurred over the weekend.
For me, today started at 6 am with a phone call concerning one of our teachers, who is unwell. By 11.00 I was able to find a replacement teacher and book them on a flight to Austria this afternoon. I liaised with my colleagues in the Academic and Operations Department over all the information needed for making this adjustment.
Later on, I tackled my email account. We have had several new enquiries from teachers interested in working on our programme, so I reviewed these and forwarded them on to my colleague who manages recruitment.
Having already assigned teachers to placements in Austria, Germany and Serbia, the rest of the day was spent researching travel options and booking flights.
When did you join the company?
I first started working for English in Action as a teacher in August 2000. The first ever school I taught at was in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. I joined Head Office a few years later and progressed to my current role. My 20-year anniversary was during covid but the office surprised me with a celebration two years later instead!
What is the most enjoyable part of your work?
I enjoy planning and logistics so it’s really satisfying when all the bits of the jigsaw come together, resulting in a successful course for everyone involved.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have two daughters, so the majority of my free time is spent ferrying them to their various activities and clubs. On weekend mornings I am most likely to be seen on a field, cheering on my daughter and her football team. Aside from this, I enjoy baking, walking (necessary to work off the baking!) and socialising with friends and family.
What music are you listening to on Spotify at the moment?
I mostly listen to the radio at home or in the car. I enjoy a wide variety of music and I am going to see West End stars performing ABBA in the summer.
What would your dream job be?
My dream was always to travel a lot and I have a love for the Greek islands, so maybe running a retreat in an idyllic location would be a good fit!
What is your favourite food/drink?
I recently discovered Wagamamas … but I also find a problem can always be solved with a bag of chocolate raisins!