From Istanbul, to The Hague to Tokyo, Deniz makes climbing the corporate ladder look easy. Her kind and laid back demeanor has the two of us openly chatting in a matter of moments. She jokes about the balance of working for a multinational corporation, living in a complex foreign culture (during a global pandemic), and also dedicating time to her son and family, but the truth is Deniz is nothing short of extraordinary.
Speaking Turkish, English and a bit of French, Deniz grew up on the west coast of Turkey in one of the country's tourist capitals. After attending university, she moved to Istanbul for more opportunities and to grow her career. She has been with Danone for over a decade and has built her career from the ground up to her current role as the Director of Finance for Danone Japan.
Deniz’s days are busy and after getting ready and dropping her son off to school, she is in back to back meetings (now mainly virtual) well into lunch time. She manages a team of 14 people and has helped Danone launch a major product into the Japanese market. After chatting about work for a while she smiles and says, “But cuddling my son in the morning is the favorite part of my day.”
When I asked Deniz about how she balances everything, she laughed, “Balance? What balance?” She says the secret to “balance” is to let go of the things you cannot control, and enjoy the moments you have. She attributes her success to first and foremost doing the things that she likes most and being open minded and willing to speak her perspectives in a constructive way.
Her advice to other women is to learn to say no and prioritize the people and things that bring you joy. “Do what gives you energy,” she says to me as she beams out an electric smile. We talked about being women from strong cultures, her being Turkish and my Indian heritage, and the balancing point of our heritages and our desires to honor our cultures while also owning less traditional roles of womanhood.
What is chic to Deniz? Confidence, elegance and simplicity.
Her street smarts and business savvy comes out in our conversations and after our lunch meeting, I have walked away with a business strategy and an implementation plan for my own brand and vision to get to work on.
Deniz- Thanks so much for making the time to chat with me! It’s been such a pleasure to get to know you and your beautiful family.
Stay Inspiring, Stay Chic. Stay You.
The Land of Chic
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