Carolyn Llewelyn has worked in international education for over twenty years. After graduation (University of Oxford, Modern and Medieval Languages) she first worked as a tutor in French and German, including a period at what is now Oxford Brookes University. With her business partner, Robert Marsden, Carolyn founded and runs the Oxford International Study Centre (OISC).
Q. What were your first business milestones?
A. I established my own college in Oxford and was runner up in the Women in Business awards. I subsequently became principal of an international college (Oxford International Study Centre).
Q. What are your other interests?
A. I have several, including languages, art – I have exhibited at various venues – and travel. I speak fluent German, French and Spanish, and some Japanese. I’m currently learning Mandarin Chinese.
Q. What is your impression of women in business today? Are they still facing prejudice or have times changed?
A. Throughout my forty-year career in international education, I’ve met women in various positions of responsibility. Women from some parts of the world have said that they have experienced difficulties in career advancement – mainly because of starting a family. But they often add that things have improved radically over the last twenty years.
Q. Motherhood – and maternity leave etc – can throw a spanner in the works, though. Do you think employers still hesitate to hire women because of this?
A. As a small business owner and manager for most of my professional life, I appreciate that it’s not always feasible for small companies to replace key people over several months, nor to pay two salaries.
Q. So what would be your advice to women hoping to advance in their career?
A. I think it’s essential for women to get on with the job, rather than just flag-waving for the cause of women in management! I’ve been fortunate in enjoying an interesting career in international education – one which I would recommend to others who enjoy meeting people of different cultures and languages.