What drew you to the rubber industry, and what has made your career in the industry rewarding?
Spending 10 years in the plastics industry, it was not an easy decision to move to a new industry. I can say that I was mainly drawn into the rubber industry by Cabot Corp. I was inspired by how Cabot is committed to the rubber industry with the vision to be the most innovative, respected and responsible leader. Since then, I see the rubber industry being very versatile and dynamic, so I think being part of it has advanced my career as a sales professional.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My territory includes Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and North Africa countries. Apart from geographical distances, there are social and cultural differences between these countries, and women remain less likely to participate in the business environment than men. I managed to increase Cabot's participation in these countries since 2016, resulting in a higher number of customers and higher sales volume, which I consider as my greatest achievement.
What do you count as your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
I am not sure if failure is the right word, but there are things that I would have done differently in the past. When we find the right way to deal with them, I believe, mistakes provide a great opportunity for learning.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by people who can maintain their work-life balance. Although it seems simple, it requires awareness and great effort.
Who were your career mentors, and what role did they play?
I had excellent mentors throughout my career, some were my managers and some were my peers in the sales organization. Open and active dialogue with them has helped me deal better with complex situations and uncertainties. They motivated me to ask more questions and come up with new ways of doing things. This only is possible when you have mutual trust, and I am thankful to them for their attitude.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Maya Angelou quoted "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." And I think this is the best advice I have ever received, not only for business matters but also for our personal lives. Everything in life is about experiences, and we must ensure we treat our business partners fairly and respectfully, even when we have different opinions or when we have conflict of interest.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
I think diversity and inclusion is key to economic growth and it is essential for the future of our society. I am proud that Cabot is among the companies that signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge. If I were CEO of a company, I would focus on the same and try to foster an environment where all employees feel respected and confident to achieve more.
What would you tell someone considering a career in the rubber industry?
I would tell that although the rubber industry is considered to be conventional and mostly associated with tires, it evolves rapidly in line with market needs. And, while tires are at the core of the industry, rubber is everywhere in our daily lives and this is very fascinating.
In your opinion, what needs to be done to encourage females to pursue STEM-related careers?
Starting from my childhood, I always had an interest in science and mathematics and I studied engineering at university. My internship in R&D and marketing helped me finding out my careers aspirations and I was lucky to have mentors throughout the journey. I believe companies and organizations should offer internships for STEM-related jobs and have mentorship programs encouraging females to be proactive, persistent and brave.