Winter's CEO & Founder Elaine Stallard recently took part in a Q & A session with IPSEF, ahead of her speaker slot at IPSEF Dubai on the 28th of September.

Elaine Stallard portrait

Hi Elaine, you are speaking at IPSEF Middle East, what helped you decide to participate?

I attended the last IPSEF conference in Kuala Lumpur and was impressed with the high quality mix of keynote speakers, panel discussions and chance to network. It was very enjoyable, so I didn’t have to think twice after being asked to participate for a second time.

Why did you get involved in Education?

As with the best of things, I fell into it. My background was initially in business consulting after which I became involved in opening international schools, most recently in Qatar, where I spent months project managing the establishment of Sherborne Qatar.

During this process, I held focus groups and collected insights from multiple stakeholders involved. This included headmasters, school admissions services and HR professionals looking to relocate staff and expat parents. I also became involved in negotiating and scoping the opportunity for international schools in Thailand, India, China and Kenya.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently focusing on Winter’s International School Finder, which is the first digital platform of its kind to help parents find and connect with the right international school for their child. The company is expanding globally and has recently been launched to expat parents. It is the first comprehensive digital directory that is free to view for parents and lists more than 6,000 schools worldwide, and counting.

Who is your inspiration?

Steve Jobs

What is the greatest challenge within your role?

The whole process is a challenge. Thankfully, I love a good challenge!

What 3 things do you see as being the focus of Middle East education over the next five years?

1. Rapid expansion: more and more international schools opening in the Gulf
2. Digital development
3. School groups: which have collective buying power in areas

How do you relax?

I relax by cooking. I had a sabbatical before I joined Sherborne and became an apprentice butcher for 7 months. I loved it and my new found knowledge of fish and meat has made me an even better cook.

Which 3 industry people would you like to invite to dinner?

Kurt Hahn, Sir Kenneth Robinson and Michael Rosen.