Story

Dear friends,

I am the founder and curator of the TurkishWIN.

I would like to share  my story and the story behind the TurkishWIN with you. For starters, I must have won the genetic lottery. I am very fortunate to belong to a smart, strong and supportive female tribe: to date, my mom and my aunt are my biggest cheer leaders, role models and empowerment agents.  

My passion for women's empowerment dates back to my early college years. While studying Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in the 1990s, my idol was a Harvard professor, Amartya Sen, a brilliant economist with interesting work in gender inequality.  My dream was to pursue a PhD in Economics in gender inequality and create smart policies to empower women. When I learned that Professor Sen visited the LSE every July, I met with him to tell him about my plans. Frankly, I had expected a pat on the shoulder. Instead, he told me that it is very unlikely to get a scholarship with this thesis interest. He was right and I decided to postpone my PhD plans.  One thing led to another and I aborted that dream. Since then, I have worked in the fields of finance, consulting and technology. My past professional roles ranged from working at the New York Stock Exchange, where I published some of my work, to my President & COO role at hakia, a semantic search engine in New York. Currently, I work at Microsoft's Emerging Business Team and think about entrepreneurship day and night.

Since 1992, my urge for community work has led me to volunteer for various organizations. To give you a flavor, I started volunteering as the President of the Turkish Society, a student group, at the LSE in 1995-6,  led a special interest group, “Women Inspired by the Network,” for the Turkish American Business Forum from 2004 through 2008. Most recently, as a fan of TED, I helped organize TEDxGotham and TEDxEast in various roles from 2009-2011, and volunteered for Girls in Tech NYC (Advisor/Entrepreneurship Lead), Columbia Business School Alumni Club/NY (International Committee Co-Chair), Turkish Founders' Club (Co-Curator)  and Turkish American Business Forum (Board Member).

As a professional Turkish woman living abroad, I felt the need to connect to a platform where I can network, celebrate the successes of trailblazers, learn from experts in their fields and tap into the power of a large trust network within my community. I know many strong, successful and amazing Turkish women in Turkey and abroad. I am confident there are hundreds or thousands whom I do not know. As an entrepreneur, I decided to do something about it and launched TurkishWIN.  

My dream is to build TurkishWIN as a trusted, global networking platform for women with family, cultural and professional ties to Turkey.   With your support and participation, we would like to curate your ideas,  share your success stories and let us harness the power of our network.  To list a few immediate goals, together, we can mentor younger members of our community, give scholarships to girls in Turkey and strengthen the image of the Turkish women in Turkey and outside.

This is a long journey as trust is built over time.  We are excited to have taken the first step. I would be honored if you join us.

 

Best regards,

 

Melek Pulatkonak

Curator of the TurkishWIN