Candidates for the role of IATEFL Secretary

20th February 2023

The nominees in alphabetical order:

Alex Fayle

Why do I want to serve on the IATEFL Board of Trustees? Because I can’t imagine not being involved in the community. I was raised with the beliefs of collaboration, consensus and community instilled in me early on. And they have become part of my core identity. I have spent my whole life asking questions and following up to make life easier, smoother and generally better for those around me. So, no matter what industry I have belonged to, my many professional identities have all revolved around this central belief: that life is about helping out. I have brought together my background in records management, professional organizing and freelance writing, with my passion in policy and process and applied them to the different professional associations I have been involved in, either as support staff or in volunteer roles. I see the world in patterns—often patterns others don’t see—and love seeing the dreams of whatever organization I belong to come to fruition because of these skills of mine. Over the years, I have also learned patience and how to see the distant future. Change can be exciting or scary, depending on how you see it, but it’s the only constant in life. The role of Secretary for IATEFL excites me because it’s a role that requires all the skillsets that I have been developing over the past 30 years. It would be an honour to serve IATEFL and the global ELT community as IATEFL’s Company Secretary.

Maria-Araxi Sachpazian

Being a member of IATEFL makes all the difference in a teacher’s professional development, choices made and personal networking. Since 2001 I have benefited from this positivity and by applying for this position I want to reiterate my faith in the mission and vision of IATEFL and to continue volunteering. If I am elected I will use my skills to act as a facilitator for the Board of Trustees and enhance communication between different sectors of our Association. I have long experience of working on different boards and international teams. Having been Secretary General of our local TA for two consecutive terms I have experience in taking minutes, with a special skill for representing different opinions fairly. As Chair I am experienced in drafting agendas and running productive meetings. I am a skilled communicator who listens actively and reflectively. Additionally, I am experienced in the mechanics of organising large-scale events (online or face-to-face conferences). I am also a good negotiator who tries to find the middle ground. If needed, I can use my marketing background to ensure that IATEFL increases its visibility in order to attract an even wider membership and greater sponsorship. As a person, I am patient, eager to learn and share, flexible, good at time management and a natural organiser. Above all, I am hard-working and eager to help. I believe that TAs should have a future in our digital future and volunteering is the best way to actively support this faith.

Zeynep Urkun

I’m writing to apply for the position of IATEFL Secretary. In fact, I carried out the same role about 7 years ago and learned an immense amount from working with all the other valuable members of the IATEFL Board, as well as the members of the association. In my capacity as the TEA SIG Coordinator, and then as the Secretary, I believe I managed to make a contribution to IATEFL as a volunteer, bringing my “international” perspective and experience in English language teaching and assessment, therefore fulfilling one of the main aims of the association of bringing together teachers of English from all over the world, to support one another to make a difference. In 2016, I had to stop volunteering for IATEFL as I changed career paths and became the CEO of Make-A-Wish Turkey, a charity that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases, where I gained more experience in leading the work of a group of more than 350 volunteers around Turkey and active fundraising. During this time, I remained active in ELT by providing regular language assessment-related training to colleagues in Turkey and the UK. For the last 4 years, I’ve been the Assistant Manager of the School of Languages of my current university in Istanbul, helping to manage around 70 colleagues teaching English at tertiary level. Thus, I now feel that I have more to offer to the IATEFL Board, as well as a different set of skills than I did previously. With slightly more time on my hands now, I thought it was time to start becoming more active with IATEFL again and that's when I came across the nominations for the secretary position. Hence the motivation behind my application.