The sixth COBIS Conference for Marketing, Development and Admissions Staff will be hosted by Haileybury Astana, Kazakhstan, 25-26 April 2019

"Certain Uncertainty in the Digital Era"


This two-day training and networking event is open to delegates from COBIS Member and non-Member schools

Headliners: Erlan Ospanov, successful businessman, CEO of Verny Capital Group. Dr. Patrick Duparcq, Dean of Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business, Professor and successful online marketing guru shaping the ideas and views on online marketing. Simon Noakes, global speaker, founder & CEO of Interactive Schools.


The event brings exceptional opportunities for the attendees to learn and network. Will be of interest to:

• Marketing and Development Staff
• Admissions Staff
• External Relations Staff
• Bursars/Business Managers with responsibility for Marketing, Development or Admissions
• Heads or Deputy Heads with responsibility for Marketing, Development or Admissions

British independent school in Haileybury Astana


The programme will include a mixture of keynote speakers and trainers, plus hands-on, practical workshops, discussions and case studies. The conference will include plenty of opportunities for networking and sharing best practice.

Programme Content

The programme will include sessions on:

Strategic planning and strategic marketing

Understanding World Trends in Millennials

Networking, Business Development and Communication

International School Admissions

Crisis Management

Working With International Families

PR and Marketing

Digital Media

Developing Video Content

Parental Satisfaction

Conference Speakers

Erlan Ospanov, CEO of Verny Capital Group

Erlan Ospanov

CEO of Verny Capital Group
Erlan is the Founding Partner (2006) and Chief Executive Officer (2013) of Verny Capital Group with extensive experience across wide range of sectors, such as investments, private equity, corporate finance, financial modeling, capital markets, asset management, real estate development, business valuation. Before he worked as Deputy General Director of ATF Group in Kazakhstan and Deputy Treasury Director in Halyk Bank. His career path started in mining industry with gold trading, processing and refining as well as pre-export financing. He graduated from Bauman Moscow State Technical University (robotics), KIMEP University (finance) and University for International Business (MBA).
Dr. Patrick Duparcq, Dean of Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business - Professor of Marketing

Dr. Patrick Duparcq

Dean of Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business - Professor of Marketing
Dr. Duparcq is a recognized technology strategist and technology visionary with twenty years of expertise in technology forecasting, marketing, and technology implementation. He has a track record of “predicting and planning for the next wave”. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Duparcq’s expertise in technology and marketing has helped companies to develop a digital strategy and implement technology in several business functions; he has helped some of Europe’s top business schools in positioning and globalization; he has also provided advice to federal, regional and local governments. In a 2008 book “Online Marketing Heroes” (Michael Miller, Wiley Publications), Dr. Duparcq was selected as one of 25 successful online marketing gurus shaping the ideas and views on online marketing.
Ian Hunt, Chair of the Board of Governors Haileybury Astana and Haileybury Almaty

Ian Hunt

Chair of the Board of Governors Haileybury Astana and Haileybury Almaty
Ian sits on a number of boards in the UK and the Middle East. He became Chairman in 2017. He is a former investment banker, headmaster of a leading UK independent school, and CEO of the oldest and most respected education consultancy in the world. Ian has led on international educational school projects globally and is a regular contributor to global education debates in the UK National and International press such as The Times, Financial Times, The Telegraph, and Huffington Post.
Simon Noakes, Founder & CEO – Interactive Schools

Simon Noakes

Founder & CEO – Interactive Schools
Global Speaker on the #FutureSchool, #SocialMedia, #SchoolMarketing & Founder of Interactive Schools. Simon’s global experience & passion for strategic marketing, thought leadership, future-thinking, new technology & human-centred engagement is transforming schools around the world. Change is the only constant, and schools should stop just talking about 'being outstanding', and focus on being STAND-OUT. Simon does not follow benchmarks. Success can only be delivered through creating new benchmarks and #InspiringSchools. Simon believes that every school is unique, and wants to help tell their #SchoolStories. Simon challenges the traditional methods of communication, and embraces new ways of thinking that align to changes in user behaviour and technological advances. Simon refers to this as ‘humanising technology’.
MacKenzie Hovermale, OpenApply Director at Faria Education Group

MacKenzie Hovermale

OpenApply Director at Faria Education Group
MacKenzie is the OpenApply Director at Faria Education Group, a leading provider of information systems for international schools, currently supporting over 10,000 schools worldwide. Since joining the OpenApply team, MacKenzie has helped over 300 schools take their admissions online with OpenApply. She has worked with hundreds more through conferences, workshops, and publishing the International Admissions Bulletin; spreading admissions best practices throughout the international school community.
Gail Ganney, Governor at Haileybury Almaty and Haileybury Astana

Gail Ganney

Governor at Haileybury Almaty and Haileybury Astana
Gail is an entrepreneur and has recently developed education software. She has a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Aston and an MSc in Internet Programming from Middlesex University. Gail was Chair of the HPA (Haileybury Parents' Association) for four years. She is a former Haileybury parent.
Dr. Denry Machin, Educational consultant. Dragonfly Training's in Thailand.

Dr. Denry Machin

Educational consultant. Dragonfly Training's in Thailand.
Formerly Head of Upper School at Harrow Bangkok, and currently an educational consultant, Denry has considerable experience of schools operating in diverse and competitive contexts, particularly in Asia. Focussed on business thinking within education, his PhD led to publications on the economics of international schooling, organisational evolution and school marketing. Denry has written several business textbooks, including co-authoring the best-selling DK ‘Business Book’. His popular blog focusses on school strategy, marketing, admissions and the challenges of Headship. Denry also lectures for Keele University on their MBA and PGCEi programmes, serving also as a Governor at a start-up international school in Malaysia.
Olga Abdrakhmanova, Chief Communications Officer at Verny Capital Group.

Olga Abdrakhmanova

Chief Communications Officer at Verny Capital Group.
Olga has 20 years of experience working in Communications and Public Relations in senior positions in public and private sector in Kazakhstan (InterContinental hotel chain, Asian Development Bank, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office). She is an Accredited Practitioner and Member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations, UK having also graduated from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, as a Master of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. In her current position as Chief Communications Officer at Verny Capital Group, she is responsible for corporate and public relations, and supervises marketing communications of the group’s companies.
Debbie Eisenach, International Marketing Manager, Finalsite

Debbie Eisenach

International Marketing Manager, Finalsite
As Finalsite's International Marketing Manager, Debbie has worked with international schools for the past 9 years while living in both Asia and Europe. She holds a Master’s in Education Technology and is passionate about using technology both in and out of the classroom. As an expat herself raising 3 children in international schools, she has a keen insight into the needs of prospective families on their journey through an international school. In working with schools around the world, she helps them understand how they can maximize their online presence, increase community engagement and meet their marketing goals. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and attending events at her children's school in Berlin.
Charlie Gauvain, Managing Director Eye Film

Charlie Gauvain

Managing Director Eye Film
Charlie began his career in 1994 as an intern working in feature films in the USA. Initially working on low budget features before moving onto 20th Century Fox’s Independence Day in New York. Since then Charlie has produced over 100 hours of documentary and drama for C4, ITV, BBC, Five, UKTV, Crime and Investigation and Animal Planet whilst managing Eye Film. In 2012 Charlie established a unique education scheme in the UK forming the country’s first ’Learning Company’, where students work 9-5, 5 days per week whilst studying for a Diploma. Working on professional briefs the students produce content for real clients, to real deadlines. He now employs several of his graduates. Throughout his career Charlie has worked with students, schools and colleges to find, nurture and create the next generation of filmmakers. He now runs short training courses for staff and pupils on how to create video content.


Haileybury Astana, Ivana Panfilova 4, Astana 

Get directions to Haileybury Astana here

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Visa Information

There are 55 nationalities that can enter Kazakhstan to attend this conference without the need for a visa. Check out the information in the visa information file below. If your nationality is not on the list, we can help you obtain a visa. 

If you have any questions about obtaining visas, please get in contact with the event organisers,, who will be happy to help.


Download: Visa information for delegates and speakers

Visa Infographic

Explore Astana

Tickets for the 'hop-on-hop-off' Red bus tour of Astana can be booked online directly with the provider, simply follow the link above 'Book a City Excursion'. If you have any questions you can ask the provider or email the conference organisers via who will be happy to help you.

The bus can pick up from outside the Khan Shatyr Mall, a 5-minute walk from the Marriott Hotel.

City Tour


Delegates are responsible for booking their own accommodation along with travel to and from Astana. Haileybury Astana has negotiated reduced rate accommodation for the duration of the conference at Marriott Hotel Astana. The price per night includes breakfast.

Book your room for Haileybury Astana COBIS Conference


If you would like to find out about exhibiting at this conference, there are a few spaces still available.

Please contact for more information.

Event Organisers

Anastassiya Nevenchannaya, Marketing/PR Director

Anastassiya Nevenchannaya

Marketing/PR Director
Paul Silvanus, Event Manager

Paul Silvanus

Event Manager
British independent school in Haileybury Astana

Haileybury Astana and Haileybury Almaty are committed to the welfare and Safeguarding of young people. As part of our recruitment processes we require all applicants to undergo police checks and U.K. DBS checks and we operate clear safeguarding protocols.

Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
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