Kate Bogar is an International Business English Coach, teaching people all over the world tactical and practical methods for improving their English for their job. Kate has students from over 40+ countries, in industries ranging from small tools, large tools, medicine, law, sports, arts, fashion, food and so much more. Her courses and memberships provide hands-on help for people looking to improve their Business English to be prepared for international meetings, phone calls, and email communication.
Kate Bogar, International Business English Coach
Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better. I’ve been teaching Business English internationally for almost 15 years now… and as a child of Canadian Diplomats, I’ve lived all over the world, learned 5 (second) languages, and have been immersed in so many different cultures throughout my life. I’ve lived in Canada, the States, Japan, Korea, Kuwait and now I'm in Germany. I’ve also learned Japanese, Korean, Arabic, French and German (to varying degrees of fluency) and I truly believe that mastering Business English is two-fold. It’s about learning the basics enough so that you can confidently speak English in a business setting (without fear of making grammar mistakes), and understanding that culture will always play a huge role in how we speak, and what we understand! Can you tell me more about the background and mission of your online English learning platform? Over the years of teaching Business English in all sorts of industries (big tools, small tools, medicine, fashion, food, paper packaging, the arts, and I’ve even worked with two professional sports stars!),I started streamlining my classes. I began to know exactly what I’d teach first in any new contract, and what comes next. Obviously the more advanced learners would go through the material quicker, but the lessons always followed the same flow whether they were beginner, intermediate or advanced level English learners (because this system works!). After my son was born, I realised that if anyone in my family was sick (including even my in-laws who’d often watch my kids when I was teaching), I needed to cancel my classes! So I decided to put all of my knowledge into a digital Business English course, and so that I could help people while I was home taking care of my kids. We now have a team of lovely teachers working with us from all over the world, and students of our digital courses and memberships from over 40+ countries. I never imagined my Business English courses would help the people that it has, all while keeping me flexible enough to take care of my kids whenever they need me. As a creative person with an entrepreneurial spirit, and a parent, this was the ideal combination!
What types of English courses or resources do you offer, and who is your target audience?
We have a wide range of products and services for business professionals from all industries. For those that want the standard ‘’1-on-1’’ learning style, we have teachers who are ready and willing to help them. We also have a completely digital business english course, for those who want to get the right words/expressions/phrases quickly… and we have the Business English Club, which is a monthly membership for students who want a teachers guidance, but cannot commit to one particular weekly time. So many of our clients are managers. They have teams, meetings, business trips… not to mention families! With 3 possible times to meet weekly, our students have a bit more flexibility.
They can come to one, or all 3 classes per week and practice with our American, British and Canadian teachers, and learners from all over the world. It’s funny though because most people come to me thinking they need 1-on-1 classes, but after they join the membership and start chatting with the group, they are so much happier in group classes! They come to me to be my student, and then stay because the group- atmosphere is just so lovely!
What makes your platform stand out from other online English learning options? We recognise that learners need to speak more, in order to improve their speaking. So many clients come to me and say they ‘’read english all the time’’ or ‘’watch English movies’’ and are surprised when they can’t speak. But actually, the only way to improve your ability to speak in English – is to practice speaking! So we have 2 weekly classes built only around getting our learners to speak more – a weekly Discussion Club with our teacher Galina, and on Wednesdays, we have a Games Night with our teacher Alex. Then we also have practical skills lesson on Thursdays which we record so our members can watch the recorded class anytime. In that class, myself or my business partner (and co-owner of the English Anywhere school) will teach specific skills and vocabulary that you’ll need in real life. For example: How to Answer the Phone in English, How to Write a Professional Email, How to Give English Presentations, and so much more! (As I said – those classes are recorded so you can watch them whenever you’ve got time during your busy week). Then our students are up-leveling their skills while ALSO practicing speaking English as often as they can.
If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why? The language learning industry is plagued with the idea that ‘’a native speaker makes the best teacher’’. For example, you HAVE to be born speaking English, in order to teach the language well. This cannot be further from the truth! In fact a lot of my colleagues who’ve learned English as a second language, are better at teaching English because they have struggled the same as our students. They have learned the tricks and tips the hard way, and for that their knowledge is greatly appreciated to our students!
Of course there are also wonderful native-speaking teachers… but it isn’t about where the teacher is born. It’s about their personal skills, education, certification and experience (or a mixture of those qualities).
But booking a teacher simply because they were born in an English-speaking country? It’s a recipe for disappointment.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your business that brought you to where you are today.
It’s funny because most of the biggest milestones in our business have come to me, and at first I thought ‘’I can’t do that! I’m not ready’’. Our first team member came to me.. she wanted to work with us. Up until then, all of our ‘’new students’’ were taught directly by my business partner and myself. It felt strange to welcome a new team member in, to feel like I was promising her new students, when I couldn’t guarantee that she’d get them. But bringing her on, we were quickly able to fill her schedule, and then simultaneously help more people learn English! As a teacher it can be hard to trust another to ‘’do the job as well as I can’’… but once I realised that people were coming to me because they trust my judgement.. not just me ‘’as a teacher’’ and that connecting them with other teachers who are just as capable and wonderful as they think I would be – this opened a whole new way to serve English learners worldwide!