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Trainer Spotlight: Virma Johannsen
16 December, 2019
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Our team of business English trainers is a group of native-English speakers hailing from all parts of the Anglophonic world, bringing with them a wealth of professional experience and teaching expertise. 

They deliver The Language Grid’s practical, results-driven approach to English training with passion, and in every lesson you benefit from insights from their native culture. 

To summarise – they’re awesome! So now we’re interviewing them on our blog so you can learn more about who you could be collaborating with to improve your English.


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  • From Chicago IL, USA
  • 3 years teaching experience
  • Former professional experience in Management Consulting 
  • BA in Business Administration, TEFL certificate
  • Teaching mantra: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” (Carl Sagan) 


1. What's your educational and professional background?

I have over 13 years of experience working with Big Four consulting firms like KPMG and Deloitte in the United States. I navigated my career through service lines like Audit, Advisory, Operations to Human Resources and Global Mobility. Throughout my career I have valued open and honest communication, as well as diversity and inclusion, which has led me to where I am now, working with multicultural individuals. 

2. What made you choose The Language Grid?

I like to believe The Language Grid and I chose each other because we make a great fit. Like two pieces of a puzzle, we help to complete and realize the bigger picture. With my professional background, which includes working with professionals from all over the world, I felt that TLG’s approach to business English was the right fit. It’s a company that focuses on the practical skills, and grammar takes less of center stage. So with my Big Four experience and with the powerful tools provided by The Language Grid, we are able to help bridge the gap between the learner and the business need

3. In your opinion, what makes business English training for the finance and business world different from academic English study?

Business English training with a company like The Language Grid is different than going to a language school and following a traditional method. Business and Finance professionals don’t need more teaching, they need coaching to navigate everyday working scenarios – this emphasis on practical skill is where the difference lies. In consulting, or in business in general, there is intense emphasis on customer service. Professionals who work in this area often need to meet a variety of people with different backgrounds and cultural reference points, and these situations call for being comfortable with small talk and dinner conversation. The Language Grid’s students are prepared to meet and possibly secure new business because our lessons focus on making them ready to face these ‘Make or Break’ situations. With effective business English training, students get real world instruction on how business gets done in an office boardroom, across tables and across borders. 

4. What TLG platform features do your students find most valuable?

Students enjoy the self management side of the platform, from booking a recurring lesson on the easy to use calendar, to taking advantage of extra time and accessing lesson preparation on their smartphones using the app.

5. What discussion on the TLG social network, The Grid, have you found most interesting? 

I’ve had wonderful discussions about corporate environmental sustainability and what that means for the future of big and small businesses. It’s something we discuss a lot because TLG takes a green approach to business. It makes me feel proud to be a part of a team that “puts the money where the mouth is”, and puts into practice what it preaches. 

6. What student achievement are you proudest of?

One of my students was promoted to Director, we actually had a few lessons where this student practiced their business plan in English with me. This pitch for promotion would go on to be presented successfully. I was genuinely happy for us both because I felt The Language Grid played a part in their success. 

7. What English book, film or TV show would you recommend students look at? 

I recommend watching Bob Ross on YouTube, he is an American painter, well-known for his style of using a non traditional paintbrush to create wonderful landscapes. The way he speaks, which is soothing and calming can actually assist an ESL student with their comprehension. Who knows after a few viewings, a student might find a hidden talent and find themselves to be the new Leonardo da Vinci.

Learn more about how our team of business English trainers can help you achieve your professional goals 

Companies we've helped
Deloitte Consulting Italy
Triberti, Colombo & Associati
SEA Milano
Ferrovie dello Stato