For two months during the winter of 2016, I consulted with the International TEFL Academy Nicaragua. I went prepared to teach, but upon my arrival, we decided that they needed my consulting expertise to bring their company to the next level of growth and stability.
“Tedra was able to tap directly into our needs, problems we face, opportunities, and goals we should have in the future to expand.”
~Jonathan Smith, co-owner of International TEFL Academy Nicaragua.
When I started working with Heather and Jon, they had been in business for two years in Leon, Nicaragua as a franchise of the International TEFL Academy. ITAN trains aspiring English language teachers who, upon course completion, receive the highest-level international accreditation for Teaching English as a Foreign Language/Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL/TESL) Certification.
Heather and Jon had been doing every job in the company - recruiting, curriculum design, teaching, supervising observers and instructors, marketing, logistics for arriving students, administrative management of the business, finances, grant writing, program development and communication with ITA, their parent company. They needed to transition from being a new company, juggling all the balls, to a mature company with staff to support their current position and their future growth.
After our first meeting together, Heather and Jon agreed to work with me to assess the standing of the company, set priorities for growth, and create Action Plans with achievable goals and timelines. We decided to focus on six key areas: Staffing and HR, Marketing and New Student Recruitment, Student Affairs – After Sale to Arrival, ITAN Sustainability, Class and Student Management and New Business Development.
I facilitated a Situation Appraisal where we recognized concerns including threats and opportunities, set priorities through assessing seriousness, urgency, and growth, and finally identified action items. The actions items moved into an Action Plan, which upon completion included SMART goals with process steps, responsible agents, time lines, and measurable evaluation strategies.
Through rigorous analysis, we decided that stable and committed staff was critical to the financial accountability, management and growth of the company and that ITAN needed two new staff positions. I led the creation of staff profiles and job descriptions for each current position in the company and the two new positions. Two new staff were successfully hired as well as a new instructor resulting in a strong, committed and talented ITAN team.
We also accomplished creating a mission and vision statement, setting company goals, analyzing marketing and sales outcomes, and student-focused outcomes. These successes, together with their extensive community collaborations, were highlighted in the first ITAN Annual Report, which was presented to their parent company.
Through their strong negotiation with ITA and an excellent site visit, ITAN has increased their class size, allowing for more financial growth and stability. Most importantly, student recruitment is outstanding and student engagement and evaluations continue to be excellent. They are an outstanding TEFL/TESL school and they achieve an impressive rate of teacher placement and respect with teacher recruitment agencies, in Leon and around the world. Ultimately, through our work together, ITAN is a stronger company with long-term stability and growth potential.