Q: BEC offers communications at the speed of life. What does that mean?
A: I was once told that I made projects fly by connecting ideas and people at the speed of light. It’s a lovely metaphor but communications are organic and we adapt all of our services – training, text work, and project support - to the needs and schedules of our clients. The “speed of life” suits BEC perfectly. We work to ensure that what we offer is what the client needs and when they need it, it will be there.
BEC started as a language school in 2002. Why did you start your own business?
I’d been working for language schools but it was clear that, as the person who actually had contact with the students, I had a much better understanding of their needs than the schools did. My goal from the beginning was to create courses with the students based on their needs. I truly love learning about my students’ working environments and this has always allowed me to help them learn language that will help them in their jobs, usually from the very first lesson.
And was the decision to move into the areas of texts and translations a natural extension of your teaching and training activities?
It was. My teaching has always been research-focused and I spend a lot of time looking for resources – articles, press releases or opinion pieces – anything that would get me closer to my students’ situations. Doing that, I developed an interest in and a sense of how different industries communicate in writing. English is my mother tongue but I speak German fluently and discovered that I could help my students and their companies with their written communications, both translating and developing texts. At BEC, we always work with editors or other language specialists to ensure that the copy has the best possible quality.
You’re particularly drawn to supporting projects and your clients by helping them establish contacts with useful people or ideas or resources. It seems like a sort of corporate matchmaking.
That’s probably a good word for it. You know those contact advertisements that are sometimes in the backs of newspapers? I’d sometimes
read those on the train and I’d find myself matching the “He’s looking for her” and “She’s looking for him” ads. In my classes, I love building teams. I often notice that people are looking for a particular – often unusual – type of service professional or a project partner and I’ve frequently been able to arrange introductions that have been beneficial to all the parties involved. Any time I’ve ever taken a “strengths-finder” test of any sort, “Connector” is always at the top of the list. I’m happy to include it as one of BEC’s soft strengths. While a service like that is ethereal and a bit hard to describe, it’s important and particularly useful.
The world of language teaching has changed dramatically since you founded BEC. Has that been good for you?
It’s forced us to adapt. There’s not nearly as much call for regular in-company courses as there used to be but the demand for very specialized services has increased. I’ve done short-term courses to help companies prepare for a quality audit. Other times, I’ve helped clients prepare for particular meetings or presentations. The assignments are often quite short but they are especially gratifying and they lead to those moments when a student or a client realizes that they’ve just learned something that will help them in critical part of their job. And those moments are the ones I live for. I feel very privileged.