Meet the team

The success of Dragons in Europe is founded on the passionate and experienced workforce. The company employs a growing team of full-time staff, who all have links to the Chinese world in varying forms. The full-time members of the company ensure quality in all of the company’s products and services and are responsible for bringing new innovations into the Chinese education world.

Marcus Reoch

Founder & managing director

Before setting up the company, Marcus studied French and Spanish BAHons at Newcastle University and then spent eight years working in finance, journalism and retail. From January-June 2006, Marcus spent time living with a Chinese family in Shanghai in order to learn the language. On his return, he established the company to enable schools to start learning Mandarin Chinese. Whilst running the business, Marcus spent three years teaching at primary and secondary level which has enabled him to appreciate the challenges related to the teaching of Mandarin but also to compile a series of textbooks which appeal to a young, western audience. Within a three to four year period, Marcus has transformed Dragons in Europe into a UK and European-focused one-stop solution (recruiting, teaching, training and publishing) for those wanting to learn Mandarin Chinese.

Julian Drinkall

Non-executive chairman

Julian, who joined us in December 2011, is a key member of our management team. He is the CEO of the Alpha Plus Group, a UK-based group of leading prep schools and colleges. Julian’s current/previous roles also include being the CEO of Cengage Learning (EMEA) and CEO of Macmillan Education; his industry contacts and experience in the education sector have proved invaluable in terms of encouraging key companies to partner with Dragons in Europe in order to promote Mandarin Chinese in the UK and beyond.

David Guillebaud

Non-executive director

David is an experienced executive with a general management, consulting, investment and technology background. As an Associate Partner with Elix-IRR, he advises senior management on the disruption caused by digital technologies and how to create digital platforms which will enable them to compete. He is a Business Angel and investor in start up businesses. He acts as business coach to senior executives in Europe and Africa, where he has particular interests, including acting as Chairman of a significant charity. A linguist, he has strong interests in the scope and potential for technology to disrupt and improve education at all levels, including in the learning of foreign languages, especially Mandarin.

Elliot Hsiao-Williams

Head of teaching

Elliot is a passionate linguist originally from Taiwan. Having graduated with a Master’s Degree in Applied Translation from London Metropolitan University, he decided to train professionally and become a language teacher specialising in Mandarin. Since he obtained his Qualified Teaching Status in the UK, he has been an enthusiastic teacher introducing Chinese language and culture in various types of schools, from primary to secondary, enrichment to GCSE/A-levels, aged 6 to 18! He strongly believes that learning Mandarin is not only very useful but also a unique pathway to enable everyone to experience one of the world’s richest cultures.

Serena Cao

Teaching coordinator

With over nine years of overseas teaching experience, Serena is an exciting addition to the Dragons in Europe team. Serena, who is from Xi’an, studied Chinese language and literature at Beijing Normal University; she also has a Master’s degree (Teaching and Learning Chinese) from The University of Hong Kong. Serena comes to us with strong creative teaching skills and a strong passion for language teaching; she currently focuses on teacher training and secondary school teaching. She is mad about all things yoga and loves outdoor fitness.

Valentina Lee

Teacher & teacher training coordinator

Valentina graduated in 2011 with a degree in Psychology from the University of Birmingham. She started working in the educational field beginning in psycholinguistics before moving to China. Living in Beijing she studied Chinese Language at Beijing Language and Cultural University, in addition to practising Chinese Calligraphy. She has spent the last 4 years teaching Mandarin and English to primary students in both Beijing and London. Her interests include travel, ballet and contemporary dance.

Benjamin Pearce

Teacher & marketing coordinator

Benjamin first experienced China in 2011 when he worked at an English language summer camp in Zhejiang Province. After graduating from The University of Sheffield with a degree in English Literature he returned to China and taught there for 4 years. During his time in China, Benjamin taught himself to speak Mandarin before returning to the UK to study for a Master’s in Chinese Studies. He has extensive experience of teaching languages in both classroom and informal settings. Benjamin enjoys cooking, reading and football, spending his free time following his beloved Stoke City.

Brent Gardner

Teacher & teaching coordinator

Brent has over eight year’s teaching experience in countries around the world and a degree in English Literature. From 2010, while studying Mandarin at Cheng Kong University, he also taught English and managed an established football organisation. He was vice-captain of the NCKU Spartans team that reached the final of Tainan’s Dragon Boat Festival. After returning to the UK in 2015 he studied Advanced Chinese at Manchester University, eventually moving to London to start teaching for Dragons in 2016. He is a keen musician, avid reader, and has cycled or hiked through a plethora of Taiwan’s 286 3km plus mountains.

Hannah Leighton

Administrative assistant

Hannah is one of the members of our admin team who deals with private tuition and teacher recruitment. She has a degree in Art History from the University of Sussex, and has a keen interest in art, fashion and architecture. A former chef, Hannah enjoys cooking and baking in her spare time.

Varun Jain

IT project manager

Varun is central to Dragons in Europe’s IT programme and strategy. His expertise, details and perfectionism meet in perfect harmony with our continuous plans for the diversification of offerings on our e-learning portals. Varun is a lively member of the team and is passionate about all things cricket and Sachin Tendulkar (even though is retired)!

Demi Scott

Operational manager & technical support

Demi is a part of the Dragons in Europe admin team. She is currently responsible for school administration, as well as providing technical support for our clients. She has just recently relocated to the United Kingdom from South Africa. Demi’s interests include reading, good food and Lego.