Cambridge International’s Chief Executive Officer Christine Özden, who took up her role in January, tells us what she has learned about the organisation and where it is headed. This article first appeared in Outlook, the Cambridge International magazine.
What I did most of when I joined Cambridge International – and what I continue to do – is take the time to listen to people in different teams across the organisation, and process their feedback. I resist any temptation to form conclusions, make assumptions or make decisions too early.
My overriding first impression was how committed everyone is to education and what we are trying to achieve as Cambridge International. Everyone wants to do the best for the students, teachers and schools.
I already understood Cambridge International’s heritage, tradition and track record. But what I’ve found alongside all of that is a very strong focus on the future – what it means for learners, teachers and educators around the world, and what types of education services Cambridge International needs to provide.
My first international visit was to India’s Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards ceremony in Mumbai. It was a privilege to be there to recognise students’ achievements and the teachers who had received their Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications. Teacher development is such an important part of what we do. It was also fantastic to talk to parents and students about what it meant to them to achieve a Cambridge qualification and the opportunities it helped them realise. Supporting families and communities was one of my main reasons for wanting to be part of Cambridge International.
My overriding first impression was how committed everyone in the organisation is to education”
Every day is different for me, but the common theme is engagement and interaction with colleagues about a diverse range of subjects. Conversations can be about anything – from how we continue to support and add value to our long-standing ministry of education customers to developing a new service to meet demand from schools, or what we can do operationally to better meet the needs of exams officers.
In March I visited Cape Town, South Africa, to attend my first Cambridge Schools Conference. Its theme was ‘Creating the conditions for success’, and it explored how to achieve a positive environment where learners and teachers thrive and deliver to their fullest potential. We looked at the importance of taking a holistic approach to curriculum, learning, teaching and assessment – reflecting on student well-being and social-emotional factors, as well as practical solutions to overcoming learning barriers.
Our conferences offer access to thoughtful and thought-provoking speakers, and I believe the quality of discussion and insight illustrates the unique level of support available for Cambridge schools. This kind of event provides informal networking opportunities and the chance to talk with so many school leaders and teachers. Getting a view of Cambridge International from different perspectives really helps me and my colleagues focus on how we can meet the future needs of the Cambridge community.
Chief Executive Officer, Cambridge International