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PUBLISHER Turk of America, LLC

06 THE 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL TURKISH-AMERICANS AWARD GALA TURKOFAMERICA Magazine has selected the 30 Most Influential Turkish-Americans Women for the first time ever and they were on stage to receive their awards on March 17th, 2016 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.




CONTRIBUTORS Ali Çınar, Cüneyt Gürkan, Burcu Gündoğan, Dr. Hakan Karalök, Halim Özyurt, Peter Constantine, Sechil Sertbas ADVISING COMMITTEE Ali Günertem, Ekmel Anda, G. Lincoln McCurdy, Günay Evinch, Hakkı Akbulak, Melih Abdulhayoğlu, Mehmet Çelebi, Osman (Oz) Bengür, Uğur Terzioğlu MAIN OFFICE TURKOFAMERICA, LLC. 104W 40th Street, Fl 5 New York, NY 10018 Tel: +1 (646) 475 8452 info@ Follow on @turkofamerica REPRESENTATIVES IN THE U.S. CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles): Barbaros Tapan - btapan@ turkofamerica. com Tel: +1 (213) 924 8027

20 NESLIHAN KEEPS THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT ALIVE YEAR-ROUND How crazy is that business idea, of selling Christmas gifts all year long at huge retail locations? It’s a seasonal occasion and nobody had ever dreamt about it except one young entrepreneur, Neslihan Kocabaş Hıdırlıgil.



EUROPE: Yasin Yağcı – Tel: +31 (624) 66 92 23





37 DERYA TAŞKIN, FIRST TURKISH-AMERICAN DEPUTY MAYOR Derya Taşkın was appointed to the post of deputy mayor in Paterson, a city where a large Muslim population lives. She is the first Turkish-American who has achieved a post as Deputy Mayor. 38 CEYLAN ECER, THE GOLDMAN GIRL IN THE ART WORLD Ceylan went from being “the art girl in finance” to being “the Goldman girl in the art world.”



41 MEHMET KIRDAR HAS MANAGED WEALTH FOR OVER 15 YEARS Mehmet L. Kırdar, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Within The Continuum Group at Morgan Stanley, Mehmet provides institutional-level perspective and service while working with clients on their overall investment picture. 46 TRANSFORMING GODIVA INTO A TURKISH DELIGHT In February 2013, Kaan Dağaltı moved from a global financial leadership role into a business unit operational leadership role as the VP for North America Business Development. In January 2015 on top of the above responsibilities he also assumed CFO and strategy roles at Godiva North America.

46 02 • TurkofAmerica

30 ESRA GÜLER, GOOGLE EXPRESS Esra Güler managed a team of 100+ people and a budget across all regions to deliver $1bn+ revenue in 2014. Esra Güler is building and managing customer engagement and revenue programs for Google Express. 32 HANDE AKSOY, THE COCA-COLA COMPANY Hande Aksoy is Global Marketing Director at The Coca-Cola Company. She is responsible for defining and driving the global strategy behind Coca-Cola’s multi-hundred-million dollar investments in key marketing assets.

TURKEY GENERAL COORDINATOR Nuri Özyurt – MARKETING & SALES SUBSCRIPTION & DISTRIBUTION TOA Basın Yayın Tic.Ltd.Şti. Büyükdere Caddesi Yapı Kredi Plaza C Blok No:40/41 Kat 17 Levent / İstanbul Tel:+ 90 212 282 37 11 Tel : +90 (212) 317 47 85

24 EGEMEN TAŞ, SENIOR VP OF COMODO INTERNET SECURITY Egemen Taş is currently the Senior Vice President of one of the biggest internet security firms in America, a country which has come a very long way in the field of internet security. His products whose names were made fun of are now used by millions around the World. 29 COŞKU TURHAN, THE GENIUS OF 3D VISIAL EFFECTS Coşku was nominated for “VES Awards, Best Digital Cinematography” two times for the work he did on “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Eagle Eye”.

MASSACHUSETTS Mustafa Aykaç – Tel: +1 (857) 205 8318 NEW YORK (Rochester) Ersoy Yildiz – Tel: +1 (707) 394 5349

16 THE YOUNG PROF WHO CHANGED PRINCETON’S HISTORY Gaye joined First Republic in 2014 as Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Officer and Co-Chief Risk Officer. As CoChief Risk Officer, she led the design and implementation of a holistic and customized enterprise risk management framework and program in 2015


49 SİNEM SANİYE, A BEAUTIFUL HEART-TOUCHING VOICE Sinem Saniye is an award-winning singer and songwriter. Sinem appeared twice on American Fox TV, singing original songs from her highly anticipated forthcoming new album, “Let’s Play” and won the *Star of the Day* Award.


By Cemil Özyurt

The Future Is Brıghter Than You Expect A

s far as I know, we, TURKOFAMERICA, are the only Turkish-American publication that has had rank-

ings for influential Turkish-American role models from women to young people, from doctors to lawyers. The 50 Most Influential Turkish-Americans and the 30 Most Influential Turkish-American Women lists were our latest ranks which we worked very hard to create. In this issue, which we hope that you will enjoy reading, we have the 40 most influential Turkish-American under 40 years old. From Silicon Valley to the New York finance world, TURKOFAMERICA highlights the untold success stories of some of the young leaders of American society. The 40 Under 40 list is a measure of power and influence. So how did we create the list? The 40 Under 40

From Silicon Valley to the New York finance world, TURKOFAMERICA highlights the untold success stories of some of the young leaders of American society.

drew a team of TURKOFAMERICA reporters, writers, editors and advisors. We asked the opinion of community leaders and activist, conducted research on local newspapers, online news portals, and discussed with our team members to come up with the 40 names. Ranking the successful names was not easy but I believe it will be a unique source for people who search for who is who in the Turkish-American community. On the list, we have some impressive stories that will amaze you. Neslihan Hıdırlıgil, Founder and CEO of N&F Global Corp, has the craziest business idea, that of selling Christmas gifts all year long at huge retail locations. Neslihan created a business vehicle to run multiple stores from New York to San Francisco. Gaye Hafize Erkan is the youngest and highest level banking executive in the Turkish-American community. She is the shining star of the 60-billion-dollar bank, First Republic Bank. The tech world has some Turkish geniuses of computer engineering. Egemen Taş’s products are used by millions of computer users around the world. He is the Senior Vice President of one of the biggest internet security firms in America. Barış Gültekin, the engineer who developed Google Now. Serdar Bulut is managing BigCompute initiatives in Facebook’s infrastructure engineering division. Coşku Turhan is Senior Lead Technical Director at Sony Pictures Imageworks. Esra Güler is building and managing customer engagement and

04 • TurkofAmerica

Barbaros Tapan with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.

revenue programs for Google Express. Olçun Tan leads visual effects projects such as Game of Thrones, Shark Tale, Kung Fu Panda, Black Hawk Down, The Revenant, Avengers Age of Ultron and many more. In other sectors, Solita Marcelli manages $160 billion in client assets. Melis Kahya is Vice President of General Atlantic Private Investment Firm, which has several offices around the world with $20 billion in capital under management. Pınar Kip is a Senior Vice President at State Street, the second oldest financial institution in the United States. Derya Taşkın is the first Turkish-American who has achieved a post as Deputy Mayor. And we have many more. Once again we are proud to announce that the list consists of all the colors of Anatolia. In addition to the 40 names under 40 years old, I want to emphasize one special person who has worked hard and made his dream come true. A good friend of mine, journalist Barbaros Tapan has been accepted as a juror by the Hollywood Foreign Press Associations. He is going to be one of 93 decision makers of the Golden Globe award winners. It’s a huge opportunity for Turkey to have a voice in the Hollywood film industry. Barbaros has worked hard, spent almost 6 years to be accepted and he succeeded. He is the pioneer person of Los Angeles to get together Turkish-American people, the most experienced NBA correspondent for Turkish media, the best known Turkish journalist who covers the stories of Hollywood actresses and actors. And now he is one of 93 exceptional jurors of the Foreign Press Association. Good job Barbaros, keep working hard, we all support your tireless work.


Sara Bengür, Founder, Sara Bengur Interiors with Ali Çınar, Executive Vice President of THO.

Nur Ercan Mağden, GM of The Marmara Park Avenue/ The Marmara Manhattan and Sanem Oktar, President of KAGIDER.

Mesude Cıngıllı, Assistant VP of the Financial Management Group, the FED of Minneapolis and Mustafa Tuncer, President of MUSIAD.

Nilüfer Durak, COO of Solvoyo with Dilara Koçak, Specialist Dietician.

Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Chairwoman of Hürriyet, Seval Öz, CEO of Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems and Dr Mehmet Oz.

Seyhan Erden, Prof in the Economics Department, Columbia University with İlhan Akbil, President and CEO of Turkish Philanthropy Fund.

The Most Influentıal Turkısh-Amerıcan Women Are Crowned

Ciğdem Balım Harding, Senior lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University with Ömer Güneş, Co-founder of TurkofAmerica Magazine.


The list, created by Turk of America, which is the first Turkish American nationwide business magazine, includes 13 professional executives,


urkish-American women have inspired millions of Americans and now, for the first time, TURKOFAMERICA selected the most influential Turkish-American Women list. Among the winners were some extraordinary entrepreneurs and visionary CEOS, celebrity role models and pioneer philanthropists alike. To award the successful Turkish-American role models, the Award Ceremony was held on March 17th, Thursday 2016 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York where 30 influential women leaders from across the U.S. competed in 30 categories to be crowned the winner. The night honored the world-famous Dr Mehmet Oz.

nine academics, seven entrepreneurs and a TV talk show host.

06 • TurkofAmerica

Ertan Yalçın, Turkish Consulate General of New York, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, Chairperson of Doğan TV Holding, Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Chairwoman of Hurriyet, President of Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Nancy Ploeger, Turkish Philanthropy Funds Chairman Mustafa K. Abadan, a delegate of Women Entrepreneurs Associa-

tion of Turkey (KAGIDER) and Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) have participated the award ceremony. 24 of 30 influential Turkish-Americans women from 13 different states were present at the award ceremony. Daphne Oz, daughter of celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz and co-host of the cooking-themed talk show The Chew, topped the list. The list, created by Turk of America, which is the first Turkish American nationwide business magazine, includes 13 professional executives, nine academics, seven entrepreneurs and a TV talk show host. 29-yearold Oz, is also the youngest on the list. The gala night will be organized by TOA Consulting, New York based business management consulting firm. The firm had organized The 50 Most Influential Turkish-American Award Ceremony last October. The firm helps international companies to reach their full potential in USA.


Hafize Gaye Erkan, SVP, CIO and Chief Deposit Officer, First Republic Bank with Seval Türkeş, the late Alparslan Türkeş’s widow.

Cihan Sultanoğlu, Assistant Administrator and Director of the RBEC with Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, Chairperson of Doğan TV Holding.

Esra Özer, President of Alcoa Foundation with Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani.

Huma Alpaytac Gruaz, Founder, President and CEO, Alpaytac PR with Ali Çınar.

Seval Öz, Rita Cosby, Tomaczek Bednarek.

Nurgül Yavuzer, President, NT Recycling with Sare Aydın Yılmaz, President of KADER.

Aslıhan Yener, Emeritus Professor of Anatolian Archaeology, The University of Chicago with Gökhan Öğüt, CEO of Vodafone Turkey.

Daphne Öz with his father Dr Mehmet Öz.

Çiğdem Bostan, General Manager of Halach Gold Inc with Esra Ürkmez, President of Dance with Cancer Association.

Aylin Uysal, Senior Design Director and Strategist, Oracle with Mustafa Kemal Abadan, Chairman of Turkish Philanthropy Funds.

Hande Özdinler, Assistant Professor in Neurology, Ken & Ruth Davee Department, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine with Kenan Ordu, CEO of Medicopin.

Evren Doğan Kopelman, Corporate VP of Ralph Lauren with Dr. Hakan Karalök of Yale University.

Bağlan Nurhan Rymes, Chief Digital Officer & SVP Revenue, Anchor-Free with Dilek Aba.

Lydia Borland with Deniz Türkbaş, Ali Çınar.

Güldal Şişman, Assistant GM of Vakıfbank USA with Ertan Yalçın, Turkish Consul General of New York.

Activist Şevkiye Sun with Mehmet Kırdar, VP of Turkish Philanthropy Funds.

Sanem Oktar, President of KAGIDER with Alexandra Chalupa, Co-Convenor of the Democratic Party’s National Ethnic Council.

Özlenen Eser Kalav, former Chairman, CEO and President of TPF with Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Chairwoman of Hürriyet.

TurkofAmerica • 07


THE 30 MOST INFLUENTIAL TURKISH-AMERICAN WOMEN #1– Daphne Nur Öz, Natural foods chef, author, and cohost of ABC’s hit lifestyle series ‘The Chew’ – New York - (Show business) #2– Eren Özmen, Chairman and President, Sierra Nevada Corp. - Nevada (Aerospace) #3– Aysegul İldeniz, VP and General Manager for Business Development and Strategy, New Devices Group at Intel Corporation - California (Wearable technology) #4– Seval Öz, CEO, Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, LLC - California (Auto industry) #5– Baglan Nurhan Rymes, Chief Digital Officer & SVP Revenue, Anchor-Free - California (VPN Industry) #6– Serpil Ayaslı, Co-founding Trustee, Turkish Cultural Foundation (TCF) - New Hampshire (Non-Profit) #7– Esra Özer, President, Alcoa Foundation – New York (Corporate Foundation) #8– Evren Doğan Kopelman, Corporate VP, Investor Relations, Ralph Lauren – New York (Investor Relations) #9– Mesude Cıngıllı, Assistant VP of the Financial Management Group, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Minnesota (Banking) #10– Sumru Belger Krody, Senior Curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum - Washington, D.C. (Art Curator) #11– Huma Alpaytac, Founder, President and CEO, Alpaytac Public Relations/ Marketing Communications - Illinois (PR) #12– Sara Bengür, Founder, Sara Bengur Interiors – New York (Interior Design)

#13– Banu Onaral, H. H. Sun Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Drexel University – Pennsylvania (Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering) #14- Çiğdem Bostan, President, Halach Gold Inc. – New York (Gold) #15– Nur Ercan, General Manager, The Marmara Park Avenue / The Marmara Manhattan – New York (Hospitality) #16- Yıldız Blackstone, President, BEluxury – New York (Fashion) #17- Lydia Borland, President, LB International Solutions - Washington, DC (Lobyying) #18- Aylin Uysal, Senior Design Director and Strategist, Oracle - California (Design in Tech) #19- Ciğdem Balım Harding, Senior lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University - Indiana (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures) #20- Pelin Demirel Muharremoğlu, Senior Finance Manager, Capital One- Texas (Auto Finance) #21- Hafize Gaye Erkan, Senior VP, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Deposit Officer, First Republic Bank – New York (Finance) #22- Gülru Necipoğlu Kafadar, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art, Department of Art and Architecture, Harvard University – Massachusetts (Islamic Art) #23- Feryal Özel, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics, University of Arizona – Arizona (Astronomy and Physics) #24- Aslıhan Yener, Associate Professor of Anatolian Archaeology, The Division of the Humanities, The University of Chicago – Illinois (Anatolian Archaeology)

Hamdi Ulukaya with TPF executives.

Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Chairwoman of Hürriyet.

Şenay Ataselim, COO of Turkish Philanthropy Funds with Alp Ozaman, Turkish Airlines Regional Marketing Manager.

İlhan Akbil, Şenay Ataselim, Sanem Oktar.

Dr Oz with Hamdi Ulukaya.

Seval-Mehmet-Lisa-Daphne Oz.

Cemil Özyurt, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TurkofAmerica, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Cüneyt Gürkan, COO of TOA Consulting, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, Fidan Özyurt.

TurkofAmerica founders, Cemil Özyurt and Ömer Güneş are together.

Tolga & Ayça Tanış, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ.

08 • TurkofAmerica

TurkofAmerica • 09


Ayşegül İldeniz, VP and GM for Business Development and Strategy, New Devices Group at Intel Corporation.

Cemil Özyurt, Mehmet & Lisa Öz, Fidan Özyurt.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Semiha Ünal, Başak Yalçın, Dr Öz, Ertan Yalçın, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı.

KADER Board Members.

Cüneyt Gürkan, COO of TOA Consulting Group.

Ertan & Başak Yalçın.

The most influential Turkish-American women are together on stage.

Bağlan Nurhan Rymes with Ayşegül İldeniz.

Cemil & Fidan Özyurt, Zehra & Mehdi Shahidi, Ahdi Reddy Santosh.

Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, Seval Öz, Dr Mehmet Öz.

#25- Füsun Özgüner, Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University – Ohio (Electrical and Computer Engineering) #26- Nurgül Yavuzer, President, NT Recycling - Maryland (Recycling) #27- Cihan Sultanoğlu, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States(RBEC) - New York (Intergovernmental organization)

10 • TurkofAmerica

First Republic Bank’s team: Glen Degenaars, Regional Managing Director, Fatema Arande, Deputy Director, Marbelis Beausier, Management Analytics, Kimberly Shannon- Associate Director, Abe Borenstein, Senior Managing Director & Portfolio Manager, Hafize Gaye Erkan- SVP, Chief Investment Officer & Chief Deposit Officer.

KADER Board Members with MUSIAD USA executives.

Cüneyt & Tüli Gürkan, Fidan & Cemil Özyurt.

Mike Sarımsakçı with Jose Quesada.

Hafize Gaye Erkan.

#28- Seyhan Erden, Professor in the Economics Department, Columbia University – New York (Economics) #29- Hande Özdinler, Assistant Professor in Neurology, Ken & Ruth Davee Department, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine - Illinois (Neurology) #30- Nilüfer Durak, Chief Operating Officer, Solvoyo – Massachusetts (Online business platform)

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MTS Logıstıcs Partners wıth Spectrum Works to Raıse Funds and Awareness for Autısm M

TS Logistics Team, once again took Corporate Social Responsibility to the next level. In past years our fundraiser focused on planting trees for a greener planet, and made great efforts on behalf of the environment, and this year we have partnered with Spectrum Works, an organization that helps integrate individuals with autism into the workforce, in an effort to raise money and awareness for their cause.

MTS Logistics created a new type of fundraising tool. A comprehensive resource entitled The Book On Autism.

In an effort to not just raise money but to leave a strong influence and hopefully an everlasting impact, MTS Logistics created a new type of fundraising tool. A comprehensive resource entitled The Book On Autism. The book serves as the ultimate guide to Autism research and information. All proceeds from the book will be donated to aid in the valuable work that Spectrum Works is doing in order to usher members of our society with autism into the workforce. Today over 2 million individuals in the U.S. are affected by autism and nearly 80% of them are unemployed. With these statistics MTS wants to be part of the ongoing efforts that provide fundamentals such as; career training, employment and most importantly confidence for individuals with autism. MTS Logistics has a passionate ambition to lower these statistics of Autism in the workforce.

The Book On Autism is currently available on Amazon. com, it was officially launched at the annual bike ride for Autism that MTS Logistics hosts every year. The event was held on June 11th, 2016 in New York City. 118 bikers participated in a bike trial in order to help bring awareness on Autism. MTS Logistics also donated money to the charity on behalf of each participant. For more information and the pictures on the bike ride for autism you may visit the blog (morethanshipping. com) and the official MTS Logistics Facebook page. About MTS Logistics Founded in 2000 and based in New York, MTS Logistics has experienced a dynamic company growth within the freight and ocean cargo industry. Our partnership with a web of experienced and trusted international offices has allowed us to deliver the best logistical solutions for all of our customers’ unique needs. Over the last 16 years, we have been providing highly efficient cargo services for a variety of industries including petrochemical, manufacturing and others. MTS Logistics prides itself in being a company that can offer a full range of logistical options, meeting the demands of an ever growing range of clients from all over the world.


Lımo Cart Sıgns A Deal Wıth Turkısh Aırlınes with Limo Cart, they will also collect miles on Miles & Smiles, Turkish Airlines’ frequent flyer program. Last year, Limo Cart made an agreement with the world famous cruise lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line to provide ground transportation for their passengers in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Kahyaoğlu says they have also negotiated with two more major airlines. ‘’We hope that we will be providing ground transportation to those airlines and it will make Limo Cart a globally known brand,’’ Kahyaoğlu adds. ‘’When we founded Limo Cart in 2009, even Uber didn’t exist yet, but there are still huge gaps in ground transportations. We are going to fill those gaps.’’ Limo Cart’s state-of-the-art technology is a single global booking and reservation system that enables both corporate and individual travelers to book their ground transportation needs globally. Limo Cart’s global distribution system (GDS) offers direct access to its 50,000+ vehicle inventory in 40,000 airports to 3rd party applications and partners through web services (API). Based in Teaneck, NJ and sister company of Limo Cart, Kısmet Limousine has provided ground transportation since 1989.

Emin Kahyaoğlu, founder of Limo Cart.


When Turkish Airlines passengers book their cars with Limo Cart, they will also collect miles on Miles & Smiles.

14 • TurkofAmerica

urkish Airlines passengers can now book their limos while they are on board. Limo Cart has signed an agreement with Turkish Airlines to serve its passengers’ ground transportation needs. Limo Cart, founded in 2009 and headquartered in New Jersey, is a leading global ground transportation network that delivers consumers everything they need for ground transportation, providing all transportation services in major cities’ airports. Emin Kahyaoğlu, founder of Limo Cart, says with the agreement they are going to serve 90 percent of Turkish Airlines passengers from Rio to New York. Limo Cart currently covers 40,000 airports in 120 countries. When Turkish Airlines passengers book their cars

The company provides direct access to the broadest selections of ground transportation vehicles from luxury sedans to economy cars, stretch limousines to SUVs, through its online booking engine globally. Limo Cart provides travelers with the ability to research, plan, and book their ground transportation needs. offers airport transportation, limousine services, car services, and special events booking for all forms of ground travel needs. The Limo Cart network, which aggregates the supply and demand for ground transportation, makes it easier for service providers to conduct transactions online with real customers. Reservations are managed by Limo Cart’s built-in cloud technology. The company provides Software-as-aService (SaaS) solution for service providers which is deployed over the internet without any hardware or software requirement on the providers’ side and can be accessed anywhere in the world using a simple web browser, free of charge.



Far Beyond the Surface Manhattan • Connecticut • San Francisco Bay Area and showrooms nationwide


The Young Professor Who Changed Prınceton’s 246-Year Rule Gaye joined First Republic in 2014 as Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Officer and Co-Chief Risk Officer. As Co-Chief Risk Officer, she led the design and implementation of a holistic and customized enterprise risk management framework and program in 2015. She also oversees First Republic’s banking activities in the Boston and Portland regions. With extensive expertise in investment strategies and quantitative risk modeling, she has been responsible for managing the Bank’s investment portfolio and for all of the bank’s deposit gathering franchise, including preferred banking offices, private banking, business banking, wealth management and client services. Prior to joining First Republic, Gaye was the Managing Director and Head of Financial Institutions Group Analytics and Strategies for Goldman Sachs, primarily focusing on balance sheet optimization, restructurings and risk management for financial institutions including banks, insurance companies, asset managers and other specialty finance firms. She also developed balance sheet models to assist financial institutions with valuations and risk assessments in the context of M&A.

afıze Gaye Erkan graduated from Boğaziçi University Industrial Engineering Department with honors. After graduation, Erkan was offered scholarships from nine major colleges including Stanford, Princeton, Boston, Cornell, and California and she choose to attend Princeton. Erkan did her doctorate on financial engineering. She completed the doctoral program in one year and she changed the rule of Princeton’s 246 years of history. She was the first student in Princeton’s history to complete her PhD one year. She once held the title of America’s youngest finance professor. Erkan also changed the graduation system in the centuries-old history of the university management, tak-

Gaye worked closely with Boards of Directors and senior management of banks in the context of stress testing, asset liability management, capital advisory, liquidity adequacy assessment and balance sheet decisions. In light of developments in the regulatory, accounting and market environment, she also provided clients with innovative financing, capital and risk management solutions across a wide spectrum of products including equity and debt capital markets, asset side restructurings as well as equity, rate and FX derivatives. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 as an associate and was named Managing Director in 2011. Erkan earned a PhD in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Bogazici University in Turkey, where she was valedictorian. While at Princeton, Erkan received a National Science Foundation grant, Excellence in Teaching awards, and has authored several

ing the 2-2.5 year graduation requirement down to 1 year.

white papers on risk management. Gaye is a member of the Sigma Xi Honor Society.

Hafize Gaye Erkan- SVP, Chief Investment Officer & Chief Deposit Officer.

H Hafize Gaye Erkan also oversees First Republic’s banking activities in the Boston and Portland regions.

16 • TurkofAmerica


Ömer Aşık, The Turkısh Hammer H

idayet Türkoğlu was the real pioneer for Turkish basketball players in NBA history. He retired from the Orlando Magic after a 15-year-long NBA career last year. Young Turkish NBA players follow in his footsteps. Ömer F. Aşık is one of them. Ömer was born on July 4, 1986 in Bursa, Turkey. He is a member of Turkish National Basketball Team and currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Aşık, standing at 7’0”, was sought after by many of the top Euroleague basketball teams at the age of 19. Aşık got his first chance to play professionally with the Turkish Basketball League team Fenerbahçe in 2005– 06. After one season with Alpella, Aşık moved back to Fenerbahçe and eventually ended his Turkish club career with them in 2009–10. He gained recognition playing for the Turkish national team in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and as the starting center, he helped Turkey win the silver medal. In July 2010, Aşık signed with the Chicago Bulls. He was nicknamed “The Turkish Hammer” and “Asik and Destroy” by Bulls commentator Stacey King. Aşık was traded to New Orleans last season after spending two in Houston and two in Chicago. He signed a five-year contract for $58 million last summer in which $45 million is fully guaranteed. Last season, the young player scored at least 10 points in 20 games. He also ended last season with a 9.8 rebounding average. New Orleans also allowed 103.3 points per 100 possessions with Asik on the floor, as opposed to 106.2 when he sat.

Ömer Aşık of New Orleans Pelicans.

Aşık was traded to New Orleans last season after spending two in Houston and two in Chicago. He signed a five-year contract for $58 million last summer in which $45 million is fully guaranteed. TurkofAmerica • 17


Detroıt’s Turkısh Thunder E

rsan İlyasova (born May 15, 1987) is a Turkish professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has previously played in Turkey, Spain and the NBA Development League. İlyasova began playing professional basketball at the age of 15. İlyasova was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 36th overall pick of the 2005 NBA draft. In July 2005, he joined the Bucks for the 2005 NBA Summer League. On August 22, 2005, he signed with the Bucks. On November 14, 2005, he was assigned to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, an assignment that lasted the entire 2005–06 season. In 46 games for the 66ers, he averaged 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.

Ranked among the

İlyasova made his NBA debut for the Bucks on November 1, 2006 in a 105-97 win over the Detroit Pistons. In 2006–07, he

NBA’s top-5 in 3-point shooting in both 2011-12 (45.5%, 2nd) and 2012-13 (44.4%, 4th).

Ersan İlyasova made his NBA debut for the Bucks on November 1, 2006.

18 • TurkofAmerica

played 66 games for the Bucks, averaging 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. In June 2007, the Bucks tendered a qualifying offer to İlyasova to make him a restricted free agent. Ranked among the NBA’s top-5 in 3-point shooting in both 2011-12 (45.5%, 2nd) and 2012-13 (44.4%, 4th), he became just the third player in Bucks history (along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Swen Nater) to record a 25/25 game when he erupted for 29 points and a career-high 25 rebounds on February 19, 2012 at NJN. He was awarded the NBA Player of the Week honor for games played 3/5 through March 11, 2012 after averaging 25.0 points and 10.8 rebounds in four games while shooting 63.8% from the field, 66.7% from behind the arc and 90.0% from the free-throw line. He signed with the Bucks on July 23, 2009 and re-signed with Milwaukee on July 12, 2012. On June 11, 2015, İlyasova was traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Caron Butler and Shawne Williams.


Neslıhan Keeps the Chrıstmas Spırıt Alıve Year-Round

How crazy is that business idea, of selling Christmas gifts all year long at huge retail locations? Neslihan created a business vehicle to run multiple stores.

Neslihan Kocabaş Hıdırlıgil.


erhaps few Americans know that Santa Claus was from Demre, a town and its surrounding district in the Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. But it’s a well-know story that in major American cities, such as New York, Washington, DC, and Boston, the largest all year long Christmas gift stores are owned by a Turkish entrepreneur.

20 • TurkofAmerica

How crazy is that business idea, of selling Christmas gifts all year long at huge retail locations? It’s a seasonal occasion and nobody had ever dreamt about it except one young entrepreneur, Neslihan Kocabaş Hıdırlıgil. By the age of 23 in 2002, she was already a small gift retailer, and in 2004 Neslihan discovered her true calling, bringing Christmas to consumers all year


long. She found great joy there in connecting with customers from all over the globe. As founder and CEO of N&F Global Corporation, she created a business vehicle to run multiple stores. She opened their first store, a 700-square-foot one, in the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, NY. By 2007, she had retail operations in a dozen seasonal-only locations, and her pride and joy were her two year-round Christmas stores, at Faneuil Hall in Boston, and South Street Seaport in NYC. The company’s mission statement is to make everyone who enters feel the spirit of Christmas all year. The Seaport store was the largest continuous Christmas shop in New York, carrying more than 1200 Christmas products. Neslihan became famous for the visual wonderland she created wherever she opened, even in the seasonal locations. She opened another year-round store in 2009 at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, plus year-round locations at Bayside Marketplace in Miami and the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California, as well as in New Jersey and Washington, DC. They opened the first international shop at Niagara Falls, Canada, When the Seaport was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, forcing closure of the center for rebuilding in 2013, Neslihan responded by moving her flagship operation to Mulberry Street in nearby Little Italy, with about ten times the square footage with 18,000 square-feet of space. Customers wander through different displays of NYC landmarks such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, etc, on the ground floor. Neslihan also designed her own audio-animatronic exhibit for the basement, with twelve scenes that tell an original Christmas story called Grand Central Santa. This store even has a Mrs. Claus’ Café, with beverages and desserts in Noel themes. While Neslihan carries a wide range of Christmas products and collectibles from all major designers and importers, she designed and manufactured hundreds of her own proprietary N&F Global ornaments, which are the heart and soul of her stores now. N&F Global Corporation is a pioneer in its industry. In 2014, Neslihan was the cover story in Specialty Retail Report magazine, and in 2015 she was the feature story for Selling Christmas Decorations magazine. She was given a Silver Stevie Award in 2015, and she will be honored as a national award winner on March 1, 2016 by Enterprising Women magazine. Neslihan Kocabas answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions. Could you tell us when you came to U.S. and what was your aim and how you started a business? How did you get your idea for the business? I came to the United States in 2002 as a student. After my college graduation in Turkey, I wanted to improve my English, and to get a graduate level education in America. My original plan was to get a master’s degree and then go back to Turkey. However, things went differently than I expected over here. First of all, I fell in love with America, and secondly I fell in love with the man that I would marry, who is also Turkish. America was very different than Turkey! Everything seemed so different, and those very differences are the things that attract many young people from all over the world. They attracted me as well. The American way of

Neslihan opened their first store, a 700-square-foot one, in the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, NY.

life is so practical and simple. I felt that people treat you for what you do, not for what you are! People did not care about what your ethnicity was, or religion, or gender, or etc. If you have a talent or a passion to do something, opportunities will follow you here. Doors open for you if you are hard-working, honest, respectful of the rights of others, and if you contribute your talent to this community. New York City especially seemed to be a Land of Opportunity for me. Some opportunistic people do try to take advantage by taking without giving, and even if these kinds of people do get some small things from this country, I am pretty sure they will not be here for long. I think deciding to come to the United States was the smartest decision in both my personal life and my business life. I got married here to my Prince Charming, Fatih, and I started a career here that I also love. I do not know if I could have had the same opportunities in Turkey. I started in the retail business, selling gifts in a mall. I saw that the greatest customer demand was for Christmas products, so I began to specialize in that field. It was an extremely positive experience sharing the Christmas spirit with people. I knew then that I wanted to develop this business as my career. I did many seasonal operations until I opened our first year-round Christmas store in 2006. For my first two locations I chose South Street Seaport in NYC and historic Faneuil Hall in Boston. How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors? I think that good competition is a must for every business. It helps you to improve yourself, it keeps you updated, and it keeps you dynamic. We created a completely new retail concept. There are some companies which try to copy our concept, but copying is not the same as competing. I call them our “followers”, because by copying they will always be behind us. They have no original ideas of their own. Our approach is to offer a product line that is exclusively designed and produced to be sold in our stores. I think this is our biggest advantage, and I have myself created hundreds of ornament styles for this purpose. Followers cannot take the shortcut of trying to copy what we buy, because we produce the product ourselves, and they cannot buy it. Designing new styles for customers requires a lot of experience, a lot of work, and a lot of talent. Also we took the more costly and time-consuming approach of decorating each store differently, while most companies cut costs by making


property management companies are eager to offer us opportunities all over North America. They come to us to offer new locations, and we also explore options on our own. We generate extraordinary customer satisfaction, so we are able to select the best locations and negotiate the best deals because the locations want us. If you were to do anything over again, what would you do differently? I think I am a very happy person. I cannot think of anything I would want to change in my life. I think all the incidents in our lives are important learning experiences for us. Sometimes we think some decision was a mistake, but in reality that mistake might have been the best way to teach us what not to do. If I did have the opportunity to go back in time I would love to do the same things again. What was your “scariest” moment and what was the solution? I know that my scariest moment was when my husband had a life threatening surgery in 2013. I found out that the only solution was to trust in God and pray. I realized that sometimes even people who are used to handling all kinds of situations can run into something beyond their control. At that point, we have only one thing to do, which is to pray to God and to trust God to handle what we cannot control. Who has been your greatest inspiration? Both my husband and I come from families that are active businesspeople in Turkey. Their example inspired us to explore this career, and we came to New York, a city in the center of global business. We love this as our life work, so we had no reason to seek any other kind of life. I can say we followed our faith in business, and it has rewarded us with satisfaction and success.

cookie-cutter displays that they use everywhere. Each of our locations has a boutique style, and each is decorated uniquely for its home community. We do not want to give the same style to all of our stores, so that every one of our stores offers a unique shopping experience for our customers. It is not the boring, same everywhere, “one size fits all” approach of franchise stores. This makes our stores a destination shopping experience that all customers enjoy. Besides these reasons, I love my job and work 24 hours a day. I think that is another advantage we have, and none of my competitors or followers can compete with me in how much I love what I do!

What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time? I like to travel, so when I get a chance I love to see different parts of the world. I like photography, so that is a hobby. I read a lot! Books are so precious to me. Also, I enjoy going to the theater, concerts, and shows regularly. Because I am a full time mom, my free time schedule has been shaped by my handsome boy for the past seven years. If he wants to play soccer, we go play soccer, and if he wants to go wrestling, then we go wrestling. I try hard to match my interests with his interests, to keep our family close. We all like to go swimming in summer and skiing in winter. Running a business should not exclude family; I have always included my son in our business trips, and he also loves what we do. I think people who sacrifice their family time for non-stop business are making a mistake, and success in business should not be at the expense of family quality.

How did you decide on the location for your business? We have a professional team for location selection. When we are considering a new store in any location, they do all the analysis and prepare a detailed report for the venue. I have the team evaluate the traffic count and report all the data they can get on comparable store sales and costs there. I use their input to estimate projected revenues costs,

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most? Technology companies are my favorite to admire. I believe some traditional businesses are outdated and will no longer be viable soon. Technology will replace or re-shape many of the traditional businesses eventually. Every industry, even including service, health, retail, etc, needs

and I decide on the locations according to the likelihood of running a successful operation there. We are so well known in the industry that

to conform to new technology in order to continue. I think it is our very near future to be transformed by technology. That’s why I closely watch

22 • TurkofAmerica


the technology companies. Also I am interested in the stock market. I closely watch the stock markets (my favorites are still technology companies:)) as well. How many hours do you work a day on average? I really don’t know on average, but I think about the business 24/7. Because it is always on my mind, I may get an inspiration at any time of day or night. How many branches and employees do you have? What is your aim for next five years? The number of operations varies with seasonal additions to our yearround stores. We have operated stores in different cities and states, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Washington, DC, Miami, St. Louis, etc. We also have international operations in Canada, and plan to open in Italy very soon. For the next five years, we will continue to improve the quality of every operation as well as to increase the number of locations in which we operate. We don’t have a specific corporate goal. Our ornaments are already hanging in homes in every country in the world, and our stores have hosted visitors from the entire globe. Our company mission is that every visitor should feel a personal connection to the Christmas spirit when they enter any of our stores. Our company is a pioneer in our industry, always introducing new innovations to the shopping experience. I want us to continue to be considered the best in the business in display, products, attractions, and customer service experience. Would you like add anything? As an immigrant woman, I have had many challenges here, but I always feel that I have a safe home back in Turkey. Even though we do not live there anymore, Turkey is very special to us and we have great love in our hearts for our homeland. When we first left Turkey, we felt that we had to leave our country because of economic problems, political problems, etc. We experienced a “28 February” trauma. I am talking

The Christmas store in Little Italy, New Yok.

Neslihan & Fatih Hıdırlıgil and their son Muhammed.

about 2001, and the period before and after it. I do thank God that Turkey is much different now! I do not see now the same conditions which pushed us to move away to here back in 2001. I think Turkey has improved incredibly since then. I think Turkish people need to understand of the value of this development. I have been to many countries, including very developed ones. Turkey now has a great potential, and this could be a very positive trend to improvement. Young people have a much greater opportunity to contribute there now. I am concerned that some people may still judge from the past. I suggest that everyone should consider the value of what they have in their hands before they discard it. I watch Turkey from here, and it seems to be strong despite each global economical crisis. Turkish people are strong and resilient, and I think they succeed in riding out these crises better than most. I think Turkish citizens now can be thankful for what they have. If we get good news from Turkey when we wake up every morning, we are very happy. If we see some bad news from Turkey, even though we do not live there anymore, it makes us very sad. So please please please just take good care of my country. TurkofAmerica • 23


Egemen Taş, Senior Vice President of Comodo Group.

Egemen’s Products Are Used by Mıllıons Around the World Egemen Taş is currently the Senior Vice President of one of the biggest internet security firms in America, a country which has come a very long way in the field of internet security. 24 • TurkofAmerica


e has developed one of the first antivirus and firewall programs in Turkey, a country which has only recently become familiar with computer technologies. He wanted to give the technologies that he developed a national identity, and so he named the antivirus “Savungan”, and the firewall “Korugan”. He tried to market them, going around to several companies. Some made fun of the names and showed no interest, while some others asked, “Why would I get a Turkish internet security program when there are American ones?” An American company discovered his antivirus and firewall programs, which he had developed in 2003 and tried to earn money with by selling them on his own website. The company that wanted to grow in this field offered the young engineer an opportunity. And, therefore, yet another case of brain drain took place as he migrated to the Americas because he could not find the opportunity he was seeking in his home country although he had the intelligence, capacity, and the knowledge. This story that is recounted in a few sentences above is actually a very brief summary of the stories of thou-

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When he started working in a programming firm in Çağlayan, İstanbul in 1996, he conducted a commercial weakness analysis (penetration test), which might have been the first in the country at the time. The program, named SQLExec, which he developed during those years as a result of his work, is still being taught in American software engineering courses as a subject. Consequently, Taş has been listed by the National Security Administration as a professional who has worked in the field of internet security and discovered a shortcoming within the system. One of the most significant turning points in the young engineer’s life was the period when he used to work at the Turkic World Research Foundation. The head of the foundation, Prof. Dr. Turan Yazgan, was a person with a vision and he had told him what was needed to be done regarding internet security, stating: “Turkey has several gaps in the field of cyber security. India and China are doing it; why can’t we?” Further asserting and saying “Let’s do it, then”, Yazgan also encouraged this young mind to establish a firm. That firm, which was created under TÜBİTAK, also received support from KOSGEB. And Taş was able to accomplish, by himself, what many countries still cannot reach even today, by developing the Korugan and Savungan (firewall and antivirus) software programs.

Egemen Taş has been listed by the National Security Administration as a professional who has worked in the field of internet security.

sands of engineers having to leave their home lands. Egemen Taş is currently the Vice President of one of the biggest internet security firms in America, which has come such a long way in the field of internet security, and he is in charge of nearly 700 engineers in five different countries. Engineers of the company in India, Ukraine, Romania, China, and, lastly, in Turkey, work under him. The projects which he had initially developed and could not find a market or an opportunity to sell, and, whose names were made fun of, became the forbearers of the Comodo Internet Security program that he produced in Comodo, the firm where he now works at. The firewall and antivirus programs that Taş developed with his team for Comodo are still being used by more than 75 million people.

He says, “We created maybe the very first firewall and antivirus systems for Turkey but we could not sell them. So, we continued improving. Because there was not an eco-system in a developing country like Turkey which would support such systems. Now, after ten years, we have made the decision, as Comodo, to return to the land where I was born in order to create that eco-system.” Currently, nearly 70 engineers are developing programs at METU Technopark Cyber Security R&D Center. which was officially opened by Comodo in 2014. HOW DID THE AMERICAN ADVENTURE HAPPEN? The founder of Comodo, Melih Abdulhayoğlu, who had noticed the efforts of the young engineer to sell firewall program online, had also been aiming to enter the firewall and antivirus fields in addition to SSL certification. And Taş was the perfect candidate for his projects. As Taş recounts, “The initial offer had come from the CEO of the firm in an e-mail written in English. I worked in Comodo Turkey for some time, then, in 2006, I transferred to the US office. And, I found myself in a vision that focused on the issues regarding security around the world. It is impossible to be unproductive in a surrounding like this.”

Taş says, “If I had continued my occupation within the borders of Turkey, I would have most probably been working in the IT department of a bank.” Having finished Beşiktaş Sakıp Sabancı High School with a first place rank, Taş also entered Bosphorus University Computer Science

Having started his work in the firm as a team leader, Taş then became the Project Manager; later, the Director; and, finally, he took over the position of Senior Vice President. Working with computer engineers from five different countries on a daily basis, Taş underlines the importance of working with different business cultures for innovation and adds, “You cannot produce some technologies solely in Turkey, in Russia, or in America. For example, antivirus technologies cannot be developed completely with the resources of only one country. If this could have been done, it would have been done in China, however, it has not

department with a high degree that was recognized throughout Turkey.

been possible.”

26 • TurkofAmerica


Barış Gültekin of Android. (Photo: Heidi Schumann, NYT)


arış Gültekin, the engineer who developed Google Now, a sort of “personal assistant” for users, imagines a future in which mobile phones “will work” for us and will give us useful information without having to ask for it. Considered to be a rival to Siri, an application by Apple for the iOS operating system which responds to the questions of users and gives recommendations, Google Now is focused on helping in the management of daily tasks, as well as offering travel information and tips on leisure activities such as sports and movies.

The Engıneer Who Developed Google Google Now Now

He was the co-founder and product leader of Google Now, an intelligent, cross-platform assistant that gives you information you need when you need it. He was interested in building a mobile product, which used the increasingly powerful sensors of smartphones, such as location, to understand the user and connect them with all the related, publicly available information to proactively provide assistance. He met with Andrew Kirmse, who shares the same passion and interest. He was the engineering director for Google Maps for Mobile at the time, and he was working on analyzing location history. They decided to craft a project plan and present it to Marissa Mayer. The project officially got started.

In early 2012, Larry Page asked Android and Search teams to build a predictive assistant, and they happened to have built a version of it already. So, with Andy Rubin’s support, they joined the Android team, received lots of design touches from Android UI design team and launched the product at Google IO on June 27, 2012.

Initially, they had 2 engineers working part time. After obtaining Marissa’s support, the team grew to 8. After lots of brainstorming sessions, they built 3 iterations, starting with analyzing users’ commutes and slowly adding other use cases such as calendar integration and events.

After graduating from Bogazici University, Gültekin received a master’s degree in Engineering from the Electrical Engineering Department, Cornell University and has an MBA degree from Stanford University.

He led search ads automation efforts; built Opportunity Center, Keywordless Ads (Dynamic Search Ads), a new Keyword Tool. Gültekin received Google’s Founder’s Award (for Google’s #1 top achievement) and 3 Google’s Executive Management Group Awards (for top 10 achievements of each year).

Barış Gültekin was the co-founder and product leader of Google Now, an intelligent, cross-platform assistant that gives you information you need when you need it.


TurkofAmerica • 27


Managıng BıgCompute Inıtıatıves In Facebook S

erdar Bulut has over 15 years of experience in executive and mid-level management, software architecture, system and network design, and team leadership. Serdar took several products from their idea stage on a whiteboard to a living and breathing state, and then built a team and maintained/supported these products. In addition, he has prepared and made presentations to investors. He is an avid follower of the Lean Startup movement. His focus is high volume cloud applications and mobile / embedded systems. He has utilized various software methodologies including Waterfall as well as agile methodologies such as Scrum. Serdar graduated from Ankara Science High School in 1994. In the same year, he won 1st place in the Turkish National Chemistry Olympiads. He completed his BS degree from Middle East Technical University in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 1998 and received 17th place in the Turkish GRE (LES) examination. After receiving a NATO Distinguished Research scholarship, he came to the US and received an MS degree from the University of Southern California in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1999. After graduating, Serdar moved to Silicon Valley and provided online e-commerce and online banking consulting services to Fortune 500 companies, including Walmart and Wells Fargo Bank.

Serdar is managing BigCompute initiatives in Facebook’s infrastructure engineering division.

In 2013, Serdar joined Twitter and managed Twitter’s online storage solutions division until late 2015. Currently Serdar works for Facebook.

28 • TurkofAmerica

In 2006, Serdar cofounded his startup The Forbin Group, Inc. in San Francisco and his company provided technology services to some of largest Internet companies by Internet traffic until 2009. After a brief stop at Phoenix Technologies and Cisco, he moved to Nokia Research where he applied and was subsequently granted 2 patents from USPTO. In 2013, Serdar joined Twitter and managed Twitter’s online storage solutions division until late 2015. Currently Serdar works for Facebook and is managing BigCompute initiatives in Facebook’s infrastructure engineering division. In addition, Serdar was on the Board of Directors for TAAC’s Silicon Valley chapter and worked on organizing the first Turkish American Business Association conference.



oşku Turhan is a filmmaker/visual effects supervisor with over twelve years of experience in the Hollywood film industry. Born in Ankara, Turkey, his talent for visual arts could be traced back to the drawings and animations he did of Disney characters when he was eight years old. Building on his skills, he graduated from an International Baccalaureate program having concentrated on classical painting and music. After his painting mentor Marek Brozozovski convinced him that he would get a rigorous education there, he decided to study graphic design at Bilkent University. Here he studied both basic design and jazz composition as a minor. Upon graduating with honors, he concluded that his passion lay in moving images and Hollywood. This quest landed him in Los Angeles to study film and digital arts at the University of Southern California - the Harvard of film schools. Here he got to study under industry giants like Robert Zemeckis, Tom Sito, and Paul deMeyer. During his master’s studies he produced two thesis films, one of which (“The Bioturk”) won him international accolades by being shown at more than 20 festivals worldwide. Towards the end of his studies Cosku had a chance to work with John H. Williams producer of the Shrek trilogy - at his animation studio, where he learned about project development and concept creation. He then was offered a job at Sony Pictures Imageworks as an associate technical director.

The Genıus of 3D Vısual Effects

He quickly became a lighter and then a lead look development artist having worked on movies like “Beowulf”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard Of Oz”. He was nominated for “VES Awards, Best Digital Cinematography” (the Oscars of the visual effects industry) two times for the work he did on “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Eagle Eye”. After his successful run as a look development lead, he is now supervising and directing the look and technology of blockbuster movies such as “The Amazing Spiderman II” and “Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass”. Cosku Turhan has also been working on VR (virtual reality) technologies on the side. His latest accomplishment was winning the grand prize in the “Rendering the Metaverse” VR competition held by Otoy with this VR startup group. He has been living in Los Angeles for over ten years with his wife and son. Even though he is very busy with visual effects, he also composed a famous song, “Rutbeni Bilicen” with pop singer Kenan Doğulu in 2009. He was a member of the band F-inity and he used to play bass and piano. He has a dream of becoming the first Turkish-American artist to win an Oscar award.

Coşku Turhan, Senior Lead Technical Director at Sony Pictures Imageworks

Coşku was nominated for “VES Awards, Best Digital Cinematography” two times for the work he did on “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Eagle Eye”.

TurkofAmerica • 29


Prior to Google, Esra spent eight years in the new busi-

Esra Güler is building and managing customer engagement and revenue programs for Google Express.

ness development team of a Fortune Global 500 conglomerate, the Koç Group of Turkey, with a focus on high-tech and SMB finance. Esra credits much of her early professional success to her mentor, Ali Koç, who exposed her to a broad range of opportunities and encouraged her to take risks and think big. She co-founded an online business platform which served as a onestop-shop for tech and financial services for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform was a joint initiative with Microsoft, and was endorsed by Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer himself during his visit to Turkey. She launched a partnership with’s CEO, Jack Ma, to open up more than 50,000 local businesses to global markets. One of her proudest moments was introducing Jack Ma to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, where he expressed his appreciation for the historic marketplace as inspirational for She also pioneered a platform to help hundreds of small Turk-

Esra Develops and Leads Global Marketıng Inıtıatıves ın Sılıcon Valley


Esra’s career highlights include building a global agency channel program for Google.

(EU) and World Bank grants schemes for their development projects. This project was presented to European finance ministers as a success story at the Euromoney Central & Eastern European Forum in 2008, and also got her a nomination for “The Best Employee of the Year” competition among a hundred thousand employees.

sra Güler is a true technology evangelist with a 16-

As a youth in Istanbul, Esra attended Üsküdar American

year marketing and business development career

Academy where she developed an interest in interna-

that has taken her from her hometown, Istanbul, to first

tional affairs and attended the Model United Nations

London and then Silicon Valley. She is a senior mar-

conferences in the Netherlands and Ireland as a young

keting executive at Google, where she’s launched and

diplomat to discuss and negotiate on foreign policy

managed a series of business and consumer marketing

matters in a multinational community. She attended

projects; most notably Google Partners, the company’s

Bosphorus University where she earned her degree in

global channel program for ad agencies. She is currently

Management Information Systems and was honored to

the Head of Engagement Marketing for Google Express,

be chosen to deliver the Commencement Address for

one of Google’s latest enterprises in the consumer

her class in 2000.

space. Throughout her career, Esra has followed her passion Esra began her career at Google in the Istanbul office

to grow entrepreneurial ideas into strong businesses,

where she led business marketing efforts to introduce

in emerging and developed markets alike. She has suc-

Turkish businesses to online advertising. Then she

ceeded in becoming a trusted leader in the business de-

moved to London, where she built upon her emerging

velopment and marketing spheres in three continents

markets experience and took on the responsibility of

by challenging the status quo and pushing the bound-

getting British and Irish businesses online. There, she

aries with her innovation focus and relentless mindset

also grew Google’s first ad agency program that she had

that comes from her Turkish roots. She is also a strong

designed and piloted in Turkey and expanded it across

believer in empowering women and encouraging work-

Europe. Subsequently, she was transferred to the glob-

force diversity. Therefore, she supports several causes

al headquarters in California, where she worked with

to this end and partners with her sister Ayşenur Güler,

executive leadership to define and deliver the strategic

a Google alumni, to connect Turkish women engineers

roadmap of Google Partners and was awarded Google’s

with the opportunities in Silicon Valley and provide

Marketing Platinum Award for successfully managing

business and career mentorship to tech entrepreneurs

the global rollout with an international team of 100+

and college students.

people across 57 countries.

30 • TurkofAmerica

ish companies obtain funding from the European Union

AABP is pleased to inform you that Dr. Tolga Kapusuz has joined our practice at our New York City office located at

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Dr. Tolga Kapusuz

Phone: +1 (212) 288 2180 Fax: +1 (212) 288 2305


Coca-Cola’s Global Marketıng In Her Hands H

ande Aksoy is Global Marketing Director at The Coca-­Cola Company HQ in Atlanta,USA. In this role she is responsible for defining and driving the global strategy behind multi-hundred-million dollar investments in key marketing assets. Prior to this, Hande was part of the core team that built The Coca-­Cola Company’s largest global marketing program, “2014 FIFA World Cup,” activated in 175+ countries. Graduated from Boğaziçi University with a BA degree in Management, Hande has followed her curiosity in consumer marketing, her passion in discovering new cultures and countries and she has built a progressive global marketing career at Carlsberg Breweries, Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company. She has held various roles and led multiple projects across different geographies – North Africa, the Middle East, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Brazil, South Korea, and Turkey to name a few. Since 2012 she has held a global position at The Coca-Cola Company and was nominated to the “Women in Leadership Program” in 2014. In the same year, TurkishTime also named her as one of the “Global 500 Turks”. Hande is a true indoor cycling fan and an avid traveler. She just completed her #project1212–traveling to 12 cities in 12 months in the US. She is quite interested in world politics and actively engaged in gender equality, diversity, human rights and women leadership topics.

Hande Aksoy is Global Marketing Director at The Coca-Cola Company.

She is a founding member of Center of Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, a member of Toastmasters International, the Turkish American Friendship Council, TurkishWIN (Turkish Women International), and BUMED (Boğaziçi Alumni).

Hande is responsible for defining and driving the global strategy behind Coca-Cola’s multi-hundred-million dollar investments in key marketing assets. 32 • TurkofAmerica


Lord of Vısual Effects O

lçun Tan is an award winning visual effects supervisor, software developer and co-founder of Gradient Effects and Secret Lab, where he continues to push the technological and artistic boundaries. His work is mentioned and recognized in many industry magazines and organizations, including Siggraph, HPA, Visual Effects Society, FMX, Intel, NVidia and Trimble and many others. Between 1997-2003 he held lead positions at Centropolis Effects, Das Werk, The Mill, and Moving Picture Company, and became instrumental on films like “Enemy at the Gates”, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”, Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down”, and the first two “Harry Potter” installments. His work on “Black Hawk Down” earned industry-wide praise, in particular for its realistic Black Hawk crash sequence. And later his work on “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” resulted in advancements in rigid body simulation. His ground-breaking work in the UK at the time got the attention of DreamWorks Animation, where he was recruited in 2003 by Ann Daily. While at DreamWorks as Lead Effects Developer, he developed effects software for movies such as “Over the Hedge”, “Shark Tale”, and “Kung Fu Panda”. His achievements in procedural animation and modeling were presented at Siggraph in 2006. In the same year, Olçun went on to form his current company, Gradient Effects, to bring the efficiency of animation production into the world of visual effects. He has worked on

Olçun Tan, Co-Founder / Visual Effects Supervisor Gradient Effects / Secret Lab worked on 66 different projects in Hollywood.

over 60 titles, ranging from independent productions, cinematics, game trailers, high end TV projects (Game of Thrones, Black Sails, Last Ship) and many blockbuster studio films like The Revenant, Avengers Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, RIPD, Harry Potter 1,2 & 7: part I and part II, Cloud Atlas, Black Hawk Down, The Box, Tomb Raider I, Enemy at the Gates and many more. Olçun also worked on The Revenant, 2015 drama film.

Olçun Tan leads visual effects projects such as Game of Thrones, Shark Tale, Kung Fu Panda, Black Hawk Down, The Revenant, Avengers Age of Ultron and many more. While at DreamWorks as Lead Effects Developer, he developed effects software for movies such as “Over the Hedge”, “Shark Tale”, and “Kung Fu Panda”. TurkofAmerica • 33


The Transformer of the Dıamond Dıstrıct


he Diamond District of New York, between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, has been known for having many jewelry shopping stores next to each other since the 1920’s. According to Jane’s New York special on the Diamond District, total receipts for the value of a single day’s trade on the block average $400 million. An estimated 90% of diamonds in the United States enter through New York. There are 2,600 independent businesses located in the district, nearly all of them dealing in diamonds or jewelry. Most are located in booths at one of the 25 “exchanges” in the district, and in a public corridor to 46th Street. Until the opening of IGT Jewelry Shopping Mall in 2014, the district had not had any new, high-end modern setting shopping center. The IGT Jewelry Shopping Mall brings boutiques with the world’s finest gems, watches and designers together in a venue of unmatched urban luxury. The 20,000 square-foot IGT Jewelry Shopping Mall, located on the first three floors of the Extell Development Co.’s new tower, includes 80 linear feet fronting West 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Mehmet Gulay is the CEO of IGT Jewelry Shopping Mall, a collection of high-end jewelry boutiques whose 2014 opening is transforming New York’s Diamond District. The Turkish entrepreneur led acquisition and development of the site, comprising the entire retail section of the $750 million International Gem Tower, through City’s Property Development, a division of his family’s Istanbul-based company, Gulaylar Group. The first mall of its kind, the venture is the company’s signature U.S. real estate project, taking advantage of both expertise in property development and a history in jewelry production and sales. Gulay holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from New York University.

Mehmet Gulay is the CEO of IGT Jewelry Shopping Mall

The IGT Jewelry Shopping Mall brings boutiques with the world’s finest gems, watches and designers together in a venue of unmatched urban luxury.

34 • TurkofAmerica

The Gulaylar Group, founded in 1926, is the only Turkish gold and diamond wholesaler in the U.S., where it has operated since 1998. The jewelry division, the company’s largest, includes wholesale stores as well as retail chains and handles $680 million in gold and diamond imports annually. Gulaylar has also expanded into tourism, with the ultra-luxury, five-star Elegance Hotels International brand, and property development, with commercial sites such as shopping malls and logistics warehouses. Gulaylar’s new jewelry shopping mall will be a key feature of the Diamond District’s most prestigious address, the International Gem Tower.



etin Amato, the 33-year-old young entrepreneur from İzmir, who got an MBA at CUNY Baruch College after graduating from the Business Department of Galatasaray University, started out in America, to where he states he came for adventure, with 13,000 dollars. “One of the prominent sectors that had not been affected by the economic crisis of 2008 was the food sector. This was the reason we entered the food sector in America. And we named our company, which we established around that time, Milas. It is both the paternal homeland –Turkish to the core – and also with a somewhat Turkish-Greek sense. We had quite a success by renewing the items every 3-6 months. When we first entered the market in 2009, Italian goods were very popular but we began to realize during those days that the next trend to come along was going to be Greek cuisine. If we make an effort all together, the next upsurge will definitely be Turkish cuisine,” he states.

The Entrepreneur that Carrıed Mılas over the Skıes to Starbucks

Amato, who has been successfully selling Mediterrenean goods, most of which come from Turkey, in America to chain stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Wholefoods, and Target, has literally flown Milas up into the skies. Goods from Milas have been included among the appetizers that various airlines serve to their passengers during flights. Amato says, “Currently, we sell our products to 15 small and large airlines, including Delta, United, Jet Blue, Air Canada, British Airways, and Easy Jet. It is a dynamic sector. It requires consistent shipping, renewal and creativity. You need to work not like a food wholesaler but rather like a catering firm.” Lastly, Starbucks has signed a deal with Milas food company to retail Mediterranean snacks which are imported mainly from the Aegean region of Turkey. Following the deal, Turkish and Mediterranean snacks have begun to take their place on the shelves of the retail stores of the famous coffee franchise. “Starbucks has used, terrifically, its distribution channels, which consist of over 8000 branches in fifty states and reach 300 million people, in such a way to meet new demands and has made the attempt to offer healthy snacks. And it has chosen us, as one of the youngest and fastest-growing healthy food firms, to partner with in business development. We started out on our new deal with Starbucks with the Mediterranean olive as the first item. The green olive snacks, which we offer under the brand name ‘Oloves’, have begun to take their place on the retail chain’s shelves and we are also working on far greater projects together,” says Amato.

Çetin Amato, CEO of Milas Food.

Currently, Çetin sells his products to 15 small and large airlines, including Delta, United, Jet Blue, Air Canada, British Airways, and Easy Jet.

TurkofAmerica • 35


A Refreshıng Voıces In Fılm Musıc

Pınar Toprak began her classical musical education at the age of five.

P She has scored more than 30 feature films, video games, documentaries, and other media projects.

36 • TurkofAmerica

ınar Toprak is one of the most refreshing voices in film music today, and brings her unique cultural background and experience to bear in the more than 30 feature films, video games, documentaries, and other media projects she has scored. She gave the thriller The River Murders (starring Ray Liotta and Christian Slater) an anguished, haunting accompaniment, scored the tenderness and optimism in the period drama The Lightkeepers (starring Bruce Dern and Blythe Danner), and articulated the hard-won triumph of Michael Clarke Duncan’s final screen appearance in the boxing drama The Challenger.

scored the PBS documentary The Wind Gods about The America’s Cup (from Star Trek Into Darkness producer David Ellison). Her upcoming projects include MRB Productions In Utero and the highly anticipated Geostorm for Warner Bros. directed by Dean Devlin, starring Gerard Butler, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia.

Toprak has tackled action (Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil), animation (Light of Olympia), and romance (Say It in Russian). She also composed music for the

Toprak was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, where she began her classical musical education at the age of five. After studying composition and multiple instruments at a conservatory, she moved to Chicago to study jazz in 1997, then Boston for a degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music. She then came to Los Angeles, earned a master’s degree in composition at age 22, and has quickly become an active and reinvigorating new voice in a male-dominated Holly-

Xbox 360 game Ninety-Nine Nights, and recently

wood community.


Fırst Turkısh-Amerıcan Deputy Mayor D erya Taşkın, a Turkish businesswoman living in New Jersey, was appointed to the post of deputy mayor in Paterson, a city where a large Muslim population lives. Paterson Mayor Jose Torres announced the appointment of Taşkın to the largely ceremonial post, saying he was confident it would provide a better link between City Hall and ethnic and religious communities in the city of 146,700 people, where at least 30,000 Muslims live.

Taşkın is from a Turkish community consisting mainly of migrants from Turkey’s Black Sea region and served as president of the Paterson Turkish American Society association. She was appointed as the Commissioner of the Library and Museum Board for Paterson by the mayor in 2010. Torres said the Turkish community in Paterson was flourishing and it was about time for a member of the community to represent it. Taşkın said her appointment aimed to establish a closer tie between the mayor’s office and the community and she would act as “a bridge between, to resolve any problems Turks in the city may encounter.” Taşkın took office at the end of January. She said she would focus on further improving commercial ties between Turkey and Paterson. The non-paying position of deputy mayor was created by City Hall in 2014 to boost community ties and Torres had earlier announced he was planning to appoint two deputy mayors apart from the existing ones, one from the Turkish community and one from the Bangladeshi community, which also has a sizeable population in the city. Taşkın graduated from Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ and has bachelor’s degrees in the Science of Diplomacy and International Business and Art of Criminal Justice. Being very active in Turkish-American community, she has recently completed her first movie project, ‘New York Masalı’ as a producer. She established Derya Consulting in 2009 to provide commercial and professional employees to local and global customers. Taşkın is also Vice President of the oldest and biggest Turkish bakery, Taskın Bakery with over 3 million dollars in gross sales. She has also been a member of the Paterson Community Education Advisory Committee since 2005.

Derya Taşkın is the first Turkish-American who has achieved a post as Deputy Mayor.

Derya Taşkın was appointed to the post of deputy mayor in Paterson, a city where a large Muslim population lives.

TurkofAmerica • 37



all Street would seem like an unlikely career choice for a young woman whose parents are sculptors and who put off buying a car so she could acquire her first piece of art. But after college, Ceylan Ecer started at Goldman Sachs, looking for a different lifestyle than that of her family of artists and architects. Yet she could run only so far: as an associate at Goldman Sachs, she found herself advising the bank’s partners on their personal art collections. She quickly built up a following and finally left Wall Street to work full-time as an art advisor. “I went from being ‘the art girl in finance’ to being ‘the Goldman girl in the art world,’” she says. While Ecer doesn’t present formal exhibitions, she does give private viewings and often hosts parties for charities and art/architecture-related programs such as the Institute of Public Architecture. Client meetings take place in the downstairs gallery area, while she works out of the office or on one of the terraces. Ecer concedes that one day she may focus more energy on her loft’s furnishings. “But there’s always more art to buy,” she says. In recent years, Ceylan bought art work for Leonardo di Caprio, baseball player Alexander Rodriguez and Monica Belluci.

Ceylan at her residence/office. (Photo by Costas Picadas)

She is living in a residence/office in Brooklyn that exhibits her own collection of post-war and contemporary art as well as the work of her clients. Inside, the walls are hung with a mix of works from Ecer’s own collection and from the collections of her private clients. “I try to curate the space to create a dialogue between the artworks and also between the artworks and the space itself,” she explains. Because her clients include collectors on the top rungs of the art world, those artworks can include de Koonings from the 2011 MoMA retrospective and Kiki Smith sculptures found in the Whitney’s permanent collection. “I’m very lucky I get to live with them,” she says. (by Karen Lehrman Bloch, New York Spaces Magazine)

Ceylan Ecer, The Goldman Gırl In The Art World Ceylan went from being “the art girl in finance” to being “ the Goldman girl in the art world.” 38 • TurkofAmerica


Turkısh Coffee Lady

Gizem Salcıgil White (fourth from left) has promoted Turkish coffee across the United States and Europe.


ed by Gizem Salcigil White, this all-volunteer, non-profit project has decorated a food truck with images of Turkey and is traveling to Washington D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; New York City; New Haven, Connecticut; and Boston, Massachusetts to share free Turkish coffee with Americans in order to facilitate ``coffee conversations’’ between Turkish and American people.

United States House of Representatives Congressional Record in May 2012. Volunteers travelled to five major states in the U.S. in 2012 and European countries in 2013 including Netherlands, Belgium and France. She is also the founder of, a social networking website developed to promote Turkey online. More info can be found at and

Gizem Salcıgil White, Turkish Coffee Lady, Founder of Turkish Coffee Truck &, Founder of Turkish Coffee Chats with Future Leaders Series, President of American Turkish Association of Washington DC (ATA-DC), Vice President of Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA).

She has been donating her time and energy to the Turkish-American community in D.C. since 2009. She is the current president of American Turkish Association of Washington D.C. (ATA-DC) and the Vice President of Capital Region for Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). She also served as the Washington, DC representative of Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA) in 2012. She is married and lives in Crystal City, Virginia.

She is the founder of the “Turkish Coffee Truck” project, which promotes Turkey through engagement and cultural diplomacy. This non-profit project, which is a volunteer initiative to promote the world-renowned Turkish coffee culture and to engage people in “coffee conversations”, was honored in the

Gizem Salcıgil White (1980) Turkish Coffee Lady, Founder of Turkish Coffee Truck &, Founder of Turkish Coffee Chats with Future Leaders Series.

White was also recognized by Dennis J. Kucinich, the Congressman from Ohio, in 2012 with an official letter to congratulate her efforts to promote Turkish Coffee.

TurkofAmerica • 39


Solıta Marcellı Manages $160 Bıllıon ın Clıent Assets S

olita Marcelli serves as Global Head of Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities (FICC) for Global Wealth Management at J.P. Morgan. In this role, she leads the development of FICC investment solutions, including cash trading, derivatives, structured notes and customized managed offerings for high net-worth individuals. With a team of over 110 investment professionals serving private clients in the U.S., Latin America, Asia, Europe, Middle East & Africa, the FICC business represents over $160 billion in total client assets. In addition to creating innovative discretionary and advisory solutions, Marcelli’s team is responsible for advising private clients on the implementation of FICC strategies within the context of their overall investment portfolios. Marcelli is a member of the Capital Markets Investment Group and, as its FICC asset class leader, is responsible for driving the private bank’s global interest rate, currency, and credit views. Marcelli also holds a leadership position on the private bank’s opportunistic investments committee, which generates tactical brokerage ideas that reflect the best thinking of the private bank across equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, and alternative assets. Previously, Marcelli was International Head of Fixed Income, Head of Emerging Markets Debt Trading and Latin America Head of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Marcelli was a member of the equity research team at DLJ/ Credit Suisse First Boston, and later held a similar role at Thomas Weisel Partners.

Solita Marcelli received an M.B.A. from NYU Stern School of Business and a B.A. from Brandeis University.

With a team of over 110 investment professionals serving private clients in the U.S., the J.P. Morgan’s FICC business represents over $160 billion in total client assets. 40 • TurkofAmerica

In addition to her investments responsibilities, Marcelli is a founder and advisor of the J.P. Morgan Global Wealth Management Women’s Network. Marcelli received an M.B.A. from NYU Stern School of Business and a B.A. from Brandeis University. Marcelli lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.


Mehmet Has Managed Wealth For Over 15 Years A

s a Financial Advisor, Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley, Mehmet has over 15 years of experience in helping high net worth individual and family clientele shape and implement their overall asset allocation strategies. Within The Continuum Group at Morgan Stanley, Mehmet provides institutional-level perspective and service while working with clients on their overall investment picture. He leverages the full resources of his team and Morgan Stanley to build tailored portfolios designed to meet the specific investment objectives and needs of each individual client. Morgan Stanley has over 350 Private Wealth Advisors located across 8 dedicated Private Wealth Management branches and over 80+ Wealth Management branches in the US. Advisers’ special focus are on individuals and families with $20 million+ in investable assets. Mehmet began his career at Global Securities (USA) Inc. as an Institutional Sales Trader where he specialized in covering money managers and prop-desk traders on their emerging market equity and fixed income investments. He spent 11 years at J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Bear Stearns and Co. before moving with the team to Morgan Stanley. Mehmet is a graduate of Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Economics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He holds a Master of International Affairs degree in International Finance and Banking from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is active in a variety of charitable and social organizations, including the Turkish-American Business Forum (President, Board Member), Turkish Philanthropy Funds (Board Member), and Foreign Policy Association (John Whitehead Fellow). Mehmet and his wife, Audrey, reside with their two children in New York City. He is the grandson of renowned Mehmet Lütfi Kırdar (1887-1961), a Turkish physician, civil servant, politician and Minister of Health and Social Security, who is best remembered for his long-term position as the Governor and Mayor of Istanbul.

Mehmet L. Kırdar, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley.

Within The Continuum Group at Morgan Stanley, Mehmet provides institutional-level perspective and service while working with clients on their overall investment picture.

TurkofAmerica • 41


As A Trusted Advısor, Melıs Buılds Long-term Value M

elis Kahya joined General Atlantic in 2015 and is currently a Vice President, where she focuses on Retail & Consumer and Business Services. Before joining General Atlantic, Melis was a Vice President at TSG Consumer Partners where she focused on investments in the retail and consumer sectors. Previously, she was an analyst in the Investment Banking division at J.P. Morgan where she was focused on the consumer and retail sectors. Melis holds a B.S. from Yale University where she double majored in Electrical Engineering and Economics and graduated with distinction. She also earned her M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business. General Atlantic, which has its main offices in Greenwich and New York, was founded in 1980 as a private investment firm to invest the funds of the Atlantic Philanthropies, established by Charles Feeney, a co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers Group and one of the world’s most notable philanthropists. Since then, it has added capital partners who share Feeney’s philosophy of investing for the long-term, building value over time.

Melis Kahya, Vice President, General Atlantic Private Investment Firm

General Atlantic has several offices around the world with $20 billion in capital under management. 42 • TurkofAmerica

General Atlantic has several offices around the world with $20 billion in capital under management. The firm takes a long-term view in its investments, which have spanned several industries, including Internet technology, financial services and health care. Its investments include a remarkable number of growth companies, like Uber, Airbnb, Vox Media and Buzzfeed. In 2011, General Atlantic invested in Facebook in a round of fundraising that valued the company at $65 billion. When the social networking site sold shares to the public a year later it was worth $104 billion. More recently, it took an interest in retail and consumer companies, particularly after a successful 2012 investment in the women’s clothing company Tory Burch. In December 2015, Empreendimentos Pague Menos SA, Brazil’s No. 3 drugstore chain, agreed to sell a 17 percent stake to U.S. private-equity firm General Atlantic LLC for $150 million.


Pınar Leads Strategıc Enterprıse Busıness Servıces of State Street Corp.

Pınar is equally comfortable in the executive lunch room full of older Irish- and Italian-Americans and in a group of new immigrants from Middle East. I have seen her successfully mentor young people, Muslim, Christian and Jewish. Her passion for humanitarian causes globally is only exceeded by her deep devotion to Turkish people,” says Roman Regelman, Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group, about her. Pınar Kip is a Senior Vice President at State Street, leading the “Strategic Enterprise Business Services” division. She is the “Global Design Lead” for the publicly announced State Street Beacon strategy, in which she is responsible for transforming the operating model and organizational design, driving business architecture, and adoption of digitization solutions. Within this role, Pınar is also responsible for Global Location Governance of State Street’s joint-venture operations, and its Mumbai office. She also leads State Street’s Lean Management Office, Strategic Project Services organization and an Enterprise Consulting Services team. Pınar is sought as a forward-thinking leader and change agent in the topics of transformation, client service, digitization and globalization and has been featured as a presenter in financial services events and conferences. She serves on State Street’s Board for the Professional Women’s Network and as an executive sponsor for Internal Mobility and Diversity Governance efforts. Pınar is an involved participant and a speaker at inclusion events and conferences around the country; most recently she was asked to speak at ALPFA’s (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting) annual convention and at the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference.

Pınar Kip is a Senior Vice President at State Street.

Prior to joining State Street, Pınar was a strategy consultant with Booz & Company, focused on the financial services industry, with expertise in capital markets. Additionally, Pınar worked in Bank of America’s Securities Global Structured Finance division as a financial analyst and spent her summer internships in Siemens and Citibank in Istanbul. In her community, Pınar is a part of Harvard Business School Community Partners, providing consulting expertise and leadership for non-profit organizations. She supports the Turkish Philanthropy Fund and Minds Matter and volunteers with NY Cares and Community Servings. Pınar actively mentors young Turkish individuals in her community (in Turkey and the United States) as well as groups of individuals in her workplace across various back-grounds. Pınar grew up in Istanbul, and attended Robert College for high school. She was awarded the Toyota/ Jameel scholarship while attending MIT and has received two B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering/ Computer Science and Management Science with a minor in Economics. Pınar also holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School.

State Street was founded in 1792 and is the second oldest financial institution in the United States. It has offices in 30 countries around the world.

TurkofAmerica • 43



mre Sahin is an award-winning director. Variety magazine called Emre a “multi hyphenate talent to watch.” The Turkish press has dubbed Emre “the new face of modern Turkish cinema.” Born in Istanbul to Turkish and American parents, Emre’s two passions in life are soccer and filmmaking. These passions converged when he studied film at Emerson College on a soccer scholarship. After graduating from Emerson College, Emre began his career as a Director of Photography. Trained at the prestigious Panavision internship program under masters like Vilmos Zsigmund, ASC, he later went on to shoot, direct and edit non-fiction programs for the major U.S. cable networks. The first show he created was Cities of The Underworld for the History Channel. Since then he has created many hit shows in the U.S.

Turkey as well as his second feature film “Takim”, released theatrically in the fall of 2015. “Takım” is currently on the festival circuit and has won 3 awards so far (Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best New Talent – 2015 Antalya Film Festival). His first film ,“40”, received international distribution and critical acclaim as well as a Special Jury Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for its “energy and stylish directing.” Sahin won the coveted best new talent award at the 46th Antalya International Film Festival. He was also the winner of the “Best Director” award at the Romanian International Film Festival. Additionally, the film was an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival and was in competition at the Palm Springs Film Festival’s New voices/New visions category. “40” was released theatrically in Turkey as well as in 12 other territories around the world.

Emre directed and edited documentary and reality television shows for networks such as ABC, ABC Family, MTV, VH1, The History Channel, the Travel Channel, the Food Network, TLC, and the

In addition to his work in non-fiction TV, Sahin has directed numerous award-winning commercials (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Turkish Airlines, Magnum Ice Cream) and documentaries including Beyond The Bull, a year-long project following 3 professional bull riders, Life As A Marine, following the first year of new recruits in the U.S Marine Corps, and Fight or Die with Academy Award winner and Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace. Emre also wrote, directed, and edited the award winning feature film “40”, shot on location in Istanbul,

Sahin is co-founder and CEO of Karga Seven Pictures in Los Angeles. Emre focuses his energy on the visual and stylistic elements of the shows at Karga Seven Pictures. The company has had numerous hits on U.S. and international channels, including Hunting Hitler (History Channel), Booze Traveler (Travel Channel), and How Booze Built America with Mike Rowe (Discovery). Karga Seven Pictures has produced over 200 hours of television in the U.S. Recently, Red Arrow Entertainment Group acquired a majority stake in the company. Currently Karga Seven Pictures is producing 10 series in scripted and non-scripted TV.

Discovery Channel. Emre Şahin, Executive TV producer, Film Director, Karga 7 Productions Company CEO

Emre Makes Waves ın Hollywood and Istanbul 44 • TurkofAmerica


Water Is Lıfe, FOUND Is Lıfesaver G

ood friends, Onur Keçe & Mark DeLuca are the cofounders of FOUND in Manuka, Australia. When Mark was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Onur recommended that Mark drink pomegranate juice. Unable to identify the perfect juice, the pair decided to create their own and launched it in Australia with success. FOUND was born with pomegranate juice. Today Mark is 100% recovered and FOUND is sold in 6 countries: USA, Turkey, France, China, South Korea and Germany. FOUND’s retail partners include Starbucks, Chipotle, The Fresh Market, Hilton Hotel, Trump Hotel, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and countless superb independent retailers striving to bring something new to the market. FOUND Beverage Co. produces and sells fruit juices. It offers pomegranate, apple, orange, peach, and grape juice.

FOUND Beverage was founded in 2007

Onur’s role in the company is creative lead, head of production, and Board Member. Today Found is a private company backed by an Australian PE firm. Its major focus is gaining market share from the rapidly declining soda category in the USA.

by good friends

Found is the only privately owned brand filled by Danone Turkey and in late 2015 they have come into a partnership with Danone’s USA Importer BWR who now manages all US operations for Found. Found is forecasted to sell more than 2 million bottles in 2016. The Found team still remains in full creative control of the brand, and in 2016 will be launching the first mainstream advertising campaign in New York.

Found is forecasted

Onur Keçe and Mark DeLuca. Now It is sold in 6 countries. to sell more than 2 million bottles in 2016.

Onur also co-Founded Say Hello, LLC. The world’s first height increase insole for women. The heel insert created a new segment in womans beauty category. From inception the media took to the concept and it wasn’t long before the brand was featured on National TV shows and the top online publications. Onur is the youngest person selected in Top 40 under 40 in Advertising, Marketing and Media (AD NEWS Australia). He is also Co-creator of one of the most iconic ads in Australian advertising history. TurkofAmerica • 45


Transformıng Godıva Into A Turkısh Delıght joined Deloitte, Istanbul as Audit Manager. During his tenure with Deloitte he led, planned, managed and participated in audit engagements for public and private companies. His clients included Sotheby’s Auction House ($770 million revenue in 2012), Gateway Inc. ($4 billion revenue in 2006), Science Applications International Corporation ($7 billion revenue in 2004), İş Bankası (a private bank with the largest market capitalization on the Istanbul Stock Exchange) and various other national/multinational companies in chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer goods manufacturing, financial services and other service industries. In May 2006 he joined Yıldız Holding as Consolidation Coordinator to lead the design and implementation of Yıldız Holding and its Subsidiaries’ Group Finan-

Kaan Dağaltı, VP, Head of North America Finance, Business Development and Strategy.

K In February 2013, Kaan became a business unit operational leader as Godiva’s VP of North America Business Development.

46 • TurkofAmerica

aan Dağaltı was born in 1978 in Istanbul, Turkey. He started his work experience at a very young age working for their family businesses in imports/ sales of rubber chemicals, manufacturing/sales of textile machinery parts and coating/grinding of industrial cylinders. He assumed responsibilities from running errands for different functions as an office boy, to attending national sales meetings/customer sales presentations, manufacturing, accounting and business to business marketing during his experience from 6th grade until getting his undergraduate degree. During his junior year at University of Istanbul, Faculty of Economics. he decided that a good general manager should have a good understanding of finance/ accounting and at the same time have a global work/ life experience. And that’s what he decided he was going to do. He joined Deloitte, Istanbul as an auditor in 2000. He then moved to California and started his

cial Management and Reporting System. In addition to this role he also coordinated/led and provided due diligence and valuation services to Group companies in more than ten M&A, IPO and Divestiture projects ranging from $10 million to $2 billion in size in retail, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods and packaging industries. One of the last projects he led was the acquisition of Godiva Chocolatier from Campbell Soup Company for $850 million. He worked very closely with Godiva Management during the pre and post acquisition process. Godiva Management then offered him an opportunity to join the company as Vice President, WW Controller in December 2008. He was responsible for leading financial integration with Yıldız Holding, Strategic Projects, Global Financial Planning, Strategic Analysis, International Business Units CFO office, Reporting, Accounting, Tax, Internal Controls and Business Intelligence functions and at the same time initiated some of these as global functions.

MBA at San Diego State University in 2002. During this time he rejoined Deloitte in San Diego and then trans-

In February 2013, he moved from a global financial leadership role into a business unit operational leadership role as the VP for North America Business Development. He was responsible for developing the vision and strategy of Godiva NA Retail-Direct Corporate Sales, leading Direct Corporate Sales, Internal/External Customer Care (Call Center) and the Licensing Business Team. In January 2015 on top of the above responsibilities he also assumed CFO and strategy

ferred to Deloitte, New York in May 2004. He moved back to Turkey due to family health reasons and re-

roles at Godiva North America. He currently lives in New York with his wife and two children.


The Venture Capıtalıst of The Capıtal of the World

member for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, Hillary for America. PORTFOLIO TransitScreen TransitScreen is the pioneer in multimodal transportation displays, providing a web application featuring custom, live, real-time dashboards of all transportation options at a location (including subway, bus, train, bikeshare, and carshare). Kash Kash is a mobile payment company that gets rid of credit cards and middle-men that stand between bank accounts and retailers.

Ömer Er, Managing Partner at Middle Bridge Partners

Ö MiddleBridge Partners is a boutique venture capital firm investing in early stage companies of the new economy with a very diverse industry focus.

mer Er is the Founder and Managing Partner of MiddleBridgePartners, a boutique venture capital firm investing in early stage companies of the new economy in the US with a very diverse industry focus. He oversees more than 10 portfolio companies. Ömer started his career at the world’s now largest law firm, Dentons, as a corporate attorney.

Walksource WalkSource is an innovative new way for hoteliers to run sales and reservations more efficiently and generate more revenue. Its tools empower revenue and sales teams to have more sellout nights by eliminating the challenges associated with predicting yield.

He provided legal, public policy and corporate strategic advice to several multinational corporations such as LehmanBrothers, Newscorp (FOX, Myspace), Turner Broadcasting (CNN-TNT), Shell, and Nokia in complex cross-border M&A transactions and foreign direct investments in different jurisdictions. With a special interest in a global free market economy, Ömer has published articles and editorials on foreign direct investments.

Fixed Fixed is an app for people to easily dispute parking tickets. The bigger vision for Fixed is to use software to solve simple consumer legal issues such as speeding tickets, credit card overcharges, comcast overcharges etc and become the de facto place for a user to have their wrongs righted.

Ömer holds a bachelor of law degree from İstanbul Bilgi University, which he attended on a full scholarship, and two master of law degrees from İstanbul Bilgi University and Georgetown University in Washington DC. He is an active participant in civic and social organizations and in US-Turkey relations. He is a board member of Independent Business Association USA, a member of the Istanbul Bar and former Ex-officio Board Member of the Turkish American Business Council. Ömer currently volunteers as a Finance Committee

48 • TurkofAmerica is a private community for women-only. It gender-verifies via Facebook connect to ensure it’s just women. In other words is the new home for women.

Contactually Contactually is a relationship marketing platform that helps companies and individuals keep and generate business from their network. Speek Speek uses a personal or business link (i.e., speek. com/YourName) instead of a phone number and PIN for conference calls.


A Beautıful Heart-Touchıng Voıce


inem Saniye is an award-winning singer and songwriter from New York City. Born in Germany with Turkish family roots, her music channels a sound that skirts pop with hints of jazz. Sinem worked with Grammy-Award-winning producers Mark Plati, Philip A. Jimenez, Henri Scars Struck, and Greg Calbi on her debut album “When I Don’t Sleep..”, which was released to much critical acclaim. Delta Airlines featured a song from the album, “A Certain Kind Of Lovely” on their inflight music program and magazine, and in 2011, the same song was chosen for a compilation CD entitled “Songs of Love for Japan,” to raise funds for Japan earthquake relief, alongside notable female artists such as Tori Amos, Sarah Barreilles, Regina Spektor, Lady Gaga, and Ani DiFranco, to name a few. Sinem went on a nationwide U.S. tour in support of her debut album (an ambitious 30-city solo feat spanning the entire US and parts of Canada for 3 months.) Sinem Saniye officially ended her tour with a spectacular homecoming show, opening for Grammy-nominated artist Lisa Loeb at City Winery on June 2, 2010 in New York City. Other notable concerts include her sold-out headlining show at Joe’s Pub in New York City, raising funds for those who suffered from the 2011 earthquake in Van, Turkey. Songs from the first album are still playing across 2,500 chains stores across America, including large retailers The Gap, Cache, Williams Sonoma, and large hotels and restaurant chains across America. Sinem Saniye has won several songwriting awards, including the prestigious Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, chosen out of nearly 20,000 other songwriters by celebrity judges that included Tom Waits, Jesse Harris, and Fergie from the BlackEyed Peas. (For a list of all of her awards, see below.). When Sinem is not performing, she’s writing songs for other artists, commercials, and for film. One of her songs, sung by YouTube sensation Alex G, was a hit on Disney Radio and ABC Family TV, followed by Alex’s album charting in the top 20 on iTunes America.

Sinem Saniye is an award-winning singer and songwriter

The Idaho Tribune, DC IST, and television programs across the US such as Fuse TV, Indi Music TV, Music Mix USA, Swept Away TV, The Rhythms of NY, The Director’s Chair, and Metro Unplugged (a program that aired to over 100,000 commuters on the Los Angeles city bus systems’ TV screens) and she has also appeared in nearly every major news outlet in Turkey, on national overseas television including CNN Turk, Fox TV Turkiye, TRT-INT (which airs to all of Europe,) Flash TV, ATV, NTV, and MTV Turkey. In 2015 and most recently in January of 2016, Sinem appeared twice on American Fox TV, singing original songs from her highly anticipated forthcoming new album, “Let’s Play” and won the *Star of the Day* Award. News of the award reached the U.S. Embassy in Turkey as well as several outlets via Voice of America.

Sinem is frequently featured in magazines and papers

Now rebranded in the United States as “Saniyé,” her new album “Let’s Play” will be released in 2016 on 6/8

including Time OUT NY, Global Rhythm Magazine, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, the LA Examiner,

Records. To follow her journey, please visit http://www.

Sinem appeared twice on American Fox TV, singing original songs from her highly anticipated forthcoming new album, “Let’s Play” and won the *Star of the Day* Award.

TurkofAmerica • 49


Hackers Get More Sophıstıcated, Efe ıs ın Demand E

Efe is currently CEO of Derivative Technology, and has co-founded various start-ups such as: AraTurca, SanalAkce, Kannas Energy LLC. and Starters Lab.

Efe Orhun, CEO & Founding Partner at Derivative Technology LLC.

50 • TurkofAmerica

fe is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded a number of start-ups including AraTurca, SanalAkce, Kannas Energy LLC and Starters Lab. He currently serves as CEO of Derivative Technology LLC (, an information security and risk management consultancy working with clients in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the US. Established in 2002, Derivative Technology currently serves a range of companies in Silicon Valley from Fortune 500’s to start-ups. The company focuses on cybersecurity, information and risk management, information security architectures, and regulatory compliance. Derivative Technology LLC serves as a trusted adviser to numerous companies, and develops a variety of solutions to solve their business challenges. As a 15+ year veteran of Information Security, Efe along with his team bring decades of information security experience to their client engagements, and focus on delivering practical, sustainable, cost-effective solutions to their customers.

Efe also supports aspiring entrepreneurs with on-going mentorship, and co-founded Convexity Labs and Starters Lab which provided training, investment and incubation services, he also serves on the boards of a number of start-ups in Silicon Valley. He has contributed to numerous government and private sector studies on how to improve the entrepreneurship climate in Turkey. In addition to his entrepreneurial side, Efe was a co-founder of the Turkish American Business Connection (TABC), a business league that promotes professional networking and fosters business relationships between Turkey and the US. He served as TABC’s President from 2004 to 2014. He currently serves as TABC’s Chairman of the Board. Prior to this, Efe worked at Palm and Applied Materials in information security. He is a CISSP and has two patents in mobile computing in Australia. Efe holds BA / MIS degrees from Michigan Technological University. He is also a contributor to the Paranoid Technology Information Security Blog (


Leadıng Edge Scıentıfıc Solutıons to Solve Complex Real-World Problems Tolga leads the SSL team to create innovation and impact enterprise-level business by Pınar Kip is a Senior Vice President at State Street.


olga Kurtoğlu is Vice President and Director of the System Sciences Lab (SSL) at PARC. Research in SSL focuses on artificial intelligence, machine learning, control, planning, optimization, and high performance analytics for a variety of cyber-physical system applications serving Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), CAD/CAM, Transportation, Energy, and Aerospace and Defense sectors. Tolga leads the SSL team to create innovation and impact enterprise-level business by applying leading edge scientific and technical solutions to solve complex real-world problems. He has served in various leadership roles at PARC, focusing on product strategy and technology commercialization to manage the transition of new technologies from an R&D output to production quality software systems and services. Prior to his work with PARC, he worked as a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center and as a mechanical design engineer and group leader at Dell Corporation. Tolga’s own research focuses on computation and

applying leading edge scientific and technical solutions

AI applied to design and manufacturing of complex systems, and application of preventive and predictive analytics techniques to engineered systems. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University -- both in Mechanical Engineering. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles and papers in leading journals and conferences in his field, and regularly serves in organizational leadership roles for the ASME, AIAA, AAAI, Design Society, and Prognostics and Health Management Society professional communities. He is the recipient of the IEEE Best Professional Paper Award at the Prognostics and Health Management Conference (2008), NASA Ames Technical Excellence Award (2009), PARC Excellence Award (2011), and the Best Design Award in the “Dexterous Robot Hand” Design Competition (1999).

to solve complex real-world problems.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, watching and playing soccer, building and flying model planes, black-and-white photography, and scuba diving. TurkofAmerica • 51


The Co-Founder of Preferred Alternatıve Database, Cıtus U

mur developed a new business with the world’s leading retailers and consumer goods companies (among them Wal-Mart, Kimberly-Clark, and L’Oreal) and sold enterprise software while at TrueDemand, a demand analytics start-up in California. Before that, Umur worked on numerous projects around the globe with the Boston Consulting Group. Most recently, Umur was the CEO of, where he helped put the company on a growth path. Umur holds an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University. Citus Data offers solutions that empower real-time big data by scaling out PostgreSQL. The CitusDB database powers both real-time operational and analytic workloads across hundreds of billions of events and supports both structured and JSON data. Citus Data also offers pg_shard, an open source extension for sharding and scaling out PostgreSQL across a highly available cluster of commodity servers, and cstore_ fdw, an open source extension for creating columnar PostgreSQL tables for a reduced storage footprint. Citus Data is a Y Combinator alumnus and is backed by investors that include Khosla Ventures, Data Collective, and SV Angel.

Umur Çubukcu, CEO and Co-Founder

Citus Data enables companies which are already familiar with relational databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL or Oracle to scale to billions of data points, without starting or hiring from scratch. 52 • TurkofAmerica

In October 2015, Citus Data, announced it had secured $9.5 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation by previous Citus Data investors including Data Collective and Vaizra Investments. Çubukcu says: “Customers want a simple way to build real-time big data applications, without sacrificing relational power – and we enable them to do that without breaking the bank. With the ever increasing growth rate of data and strong PostgreSQL adoption, we are in a great position to provide unique solutions for managing and analyzing big data. CitusDB will become a preferred alternative over current technologies in many use cases.”


The founder of NBA Turkısh Herıtage Nıghts S

alih Eroğlu is currently teaching three courses at UCLA Extension in the fields of Construction Management, Cost and Technology. Salih has over 15 years of experience in the construction industry. He is currently providing real estate development, construction and project management services to private cooperation and public agencies. Salih has worked for top ranked construction firms in United States on multiple prestigious building projects such as The Carlyle Residences, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Flight Center. Salih also is an active business entrepreneur in different fields. He is the managing partner of two other corporations in the food and automotive sectors in California. Salih holds a Master of Construction Management degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and a bachelor degree in Architecture. Salih received the “Outstanding Teaching Assistant

Salih Eroğlu.

Award” during his academic career. He also earned the Construction Management Association of America’s (CMAA) 10th Annual Scholarship Award. Salih was the USC Team Captain of Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) National Graduate Level Student Competition in Reno. He also received the United States Achievement Academy (USAA) All-American Collegiate Scholar award. Salih is very actively involved with Turkish society in the US. He was the president of the Turkish Students Association in Southern California where he was given a Leadership Award by USC. Salih is also the founder of NBA Turkish Heritage Nights. Salih organized the NBA Turkish Show Night, which 1500 Turks and 25,000 basketball fans attended. The event was a huge success and made the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Salih is the founder and first selected president of Galatasaray California, a non-profit organization which has currently has hundreds of paid members.

Salih organized the NBA Turkish Show Night, which 1500 Turks and 25,000 basketball fans attended. The event was a huge success and made the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Salih is also member of Turkish Construction Professionals in Southern California where he gives presentations and support young Turkish professionals. Last but not least, Salih is preparing different cultural events and organizations in order to promote tourism and publicity for Fethiye, where he was born. TurkofAmerica • 53


Burcu Shınes and Makes Others Shıne

Award in Building and Leading Customer Centric Organizations from Harvard Business School and another BS, MS and an ongoing PhD in Metaphysical Psychology from the University of Metaphysics. Burcu Unsal has also had the privilege of working with the best names in the personal development and success studies such as Dr. Richard Bandler, Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brendon Burchard, Adam Markel, Bill Walsh and Robert Kiyosaki. Having attained an Executive Management level in her marketing communications career after 10 years of international experience with Fortune 500 brands like Coca Cola, AVON, BP, Kotex, Gillette, Audi, etc. at multinational advertising agencies like McCann Erickson, Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy, and having worked with the world’s biggest gurus in personal development, Burcu Ünsal created Be-Live in U International NLP & Coach Training in 2011, and has been leading it since then, with a vision to push humanity forward. She is the only Turkish-American Licensed NLP Trainer

Burcu teachs Leadership Communication Strategies and Emotional Intelligence at UCLA Extension.


Burcu Ünsal is the only Turkish-American Licensed NLP Trainer in the whole world, an ICF Accredited Life Coach Trainer.

54 • TurkofAmerica

urcu Ünsal was born in a coastal town of Mediterranean Turkey, Anamur, to a loving family of educators in 1979. Since she was a little girl, she has loved speaking, singing, entertaining and sharing her gifts with the world. She learned to play different instruments such as the flute, mandolin and organ at a young age and continued with the guitar as a teenager. As a smart and multi-talented girl, she was both the valedictorian, representing her high school in quiz shows and the main talent of the school, receiving several music and literature awards. So a small town with limited opportunities was not really what she was after. She wanted more in life. She had to fly higher! And she knew education was her answer. She studied with her heart to live a life on her own terms. And she scored within the top 100 takers of the 1995 university exam, receiving the honor of getting her Bachelor’s Degree at METU and a rare scholarship opportunity from the government. And this was how Burcu Ünsal left her hometown and began to search for her shining soul.

in the whole world, an ICF Accredited Life Coach Trainer, an award-winning Motivational Speaker, a top-rated Course Author and a Lead Instructor, teaching Leadership Communication Strategies and Emotional Intelligence at UCLA Extension. Having touched thousands of people’s lives from all over the world with her passion for change and growth, Burcu Ünsal has been featured on numerous international TV interviews, newspapers, magazines and radio shows. She has also spoken on several seminar and conference stages as a Motivational Speaker, to call out the leaders in people and empower them to let their power shine out. In addition to all this, Burcu Ünsal is a Distinguished Professional at the world renowned Who is Who Registry; the Official Life Coach Sponsor and the Miss Turkey Franchise Owner of the Queen of the Universe Beauty Pageant; the California Women’s Conference’s and Women Network’s Executive Director for Turkey; a Strategic Partner for Success Resources in Los Angeles and in Turkey and the selected Ambassador for Turkey for United Nations’ Olympia Awards, 7 Arts of the World. Her first book “You are a STAR, Shine! (Sen Bir Yıldızsın, Işılda!)” was published by the biggest publishing company in Turkey, Dogan Novus, on January 1st, 2016 and she now is also a published author. And because she Be-Live’s when we solve all the communication and be-

Her educational background includes but is not limited to a BS in International Relations from METU, an Award

havior problems in the world, starting with the one with ourselves, this place will be a much shinier and happier place, she literally stepped up and claimed her new

in General Business Studies with Concentration in Marketing from UCLA Extension, an Executive Education

American name to be “Shiny”; the one who shines and makes others shine.


15 Years of Experıence ın Casıno Marketıng E

mre Erkul is Senior Vice President of Marketing for Seminole Gaming, overseeing 7 casinos in South

Florida including Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood and Tampa, owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International. Erkul started his career with Trump casinos and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. and is considered a dynamic, results-driven marketing executive with 15 years of experience in strategic casino marketing, hospitality and branding. Erkul obtained a MBA degree from La Salle University in 2001. In addition to its two Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, the Seminole Tribe owns and operates five Seminole Casinos; in Coconut Creek and Hollywood on the Southeast coast in Immokalee near Naples, on the Brighton Reservation north of Lake Okeechobee and on the Big Cypress Reservation south of Lake Okeechobee in Florida. The Seminole opened the first high-stakes bingo hall and casino in the United States in 1979. That facility was the forerunner of the Indian Gaming movement throughout North America. Analysts believe that today the Seminole Tribe operates one of the most profitable gaming enterprises in the world. In March 2007, the Seminole Tribe of Florida acquired Hard Rock International, the first transaction of its kind by an Indian tribe. Hard Rock International is one of the most globally recognized music, entertainment, leisure and dining brands. It includes the world’s largest collection of authentic music memorabilia. The Seminole Tribe is headquartered in Hollywood, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. Nearly 3,300 Seminole Indians live on and off reservations throughout Florida.

Emre Erkul, Senior Vice President Marketing, Seminole Gaming

Erkul started his career with Trump casinos and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. TurkofAmerica • 55


The Inventor of An Innovatıve Poınt of Sale System


enseron was founded in 2004 and forged out of “a need for a more innovative point of sale system” explains the company’s CEO, Onur Haytac. Haytac stumbled upon the multi-billion dollar industry during his time working for a restaurant owner on a payment system. Soon after he realized the perks of the business, Benseron began implementing its own proprietary point of sale software, called Bevo POS, in 2013. Benseron is an impressive leader in the Restaurant POS industry. As a direct manufacturer, it is able to utilize creativity and innovation to specialize in exceptional custom design and customer service for the restaurant industry. Onur is very passionate about learning, entrepreneurship, technology and holding a very high standard for food service providers. “This is why I am able to add value to the restaurant POS industry. When I came to the US, I was a struggling immigrant student with a B.S. in Economics. My goal was to earn an M.S. in Computer Information Systems. Following graduate school, I worked as a network engineer. This experience, along with a strong desire to succeed and be an entrepreneur, led me to where I am today,” he says. In 2004, following a late night call from a friend to fix a software glitch at his Subway restaurant, a fuse was lit that soon became Benseron Information Technologies, Inc. Amazingly, Benseron’s first customers were 400 Subway restaurants. To better learn the restaurant industry, he purchased a Subway and used it to test his POS software. With a unique combination of passion, trade knowledge and an innate understanding of technology along with holding a very high standard for food service providers, he was able to determine exactly what a POS system needed to offer. The rest is history.

Onur Haytac, Founder and CEO of Benseron

In 2004, following a late night call from a friend to fix a software glitch at his Subway restaurant, Benseron’s first customers were 400 Subway restaurants. 56 • TurkofAmerica

ABOUT BENSERON Benseron, the software developers behind the Bevo POS System is a direct manufacturer of restaurant POS systems and software applications that streamline operations to help business owners reduce costs and improve efficiencies. The Bevo POS system provides the most advanced yet elegantly simple, restaurant Point of Sale system available in the industry. Intuitive understanding of the restaurant business and the ability to convert that understanding into technological intelligence has set Benseron apart for other companies in the industry. Their corporate office is located at Naples, Florida.


Ahmet Atalay

The Man of Traılers A

hmet Atalay is a producer and editor who is known for his trailers for movies and games such as Pirates of The Caribbean, Iron Man, Transformers, Halloween, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Rage, Socom 4, the Assassins Creed series, Wolverine, and Infamous. Atalay works for the leading entertainment advertising agency The Ant Farm. It is dedicated to creating unforgettable campaigns for every facet of the entertainment world, including movie and video game trailers and TV spots, print and interactive advertising, viral marketing, 2D and 3D motion graphics, music and sound design. The Ant Farm has created award-winning work for every major studio and video game publisher. Currently, Atalay has been the producer and editor of Mortal Nightmare and Circle. Atalay was born in Bursa in 1979. He graduated from the Department of Cinema and TV of İstanbul Bilgi University in 2001 and the next year he had a chance to intern at the Manhattan- based Miramax Studio. After working a couple of years for Miramax, he completed his master’s program in New York then moved to Los Angeles in 2005. He started to work as an editor for The Ant Farm. Since then, he has worked on numerous trailers of movie projects such as Transformers 1-2-3, Halloween 1-2, Iron man 1-2, Cloverfield, and Pirates

of The Caribbean. Atalay is also known for his trailers for games as well, such as Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 1-2-3, Black Ops, Rage, Socom 4, Assassins Creed series, Wolverine, and Infamous. The Transformers series and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a 2009 first-person shooter video game, were his first serious projects. After the trailer of the game was released, it sold 150,000 copies on internet. The video game made an estimated $550 million in its first five days. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has become one of only a few entertainment franchises to garner more than $1 billion in revenue. Atalay has been recognized many times by the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards, the entertainment industry’s best-known awards for advertising and communications, as well as the Game Marketing Associations, PromaxBDA, MI6, the association dedicated to the success of marketing, promotion and advertising professionals in the interactive entertainment community, and The Telly Awards, the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, and videos and films.

Atalay is also known for his trailers for games as well, such as Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 1-2-3, Black Ops, Rage, Socom 4, Assassins Creed series, Wolverine, and Infamous.

TurkofAmerica • 57


Embeddıng Medıa Arts ınto Archıtecture


efik Anadol is a media artist and director born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1985. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He is a lecturer in UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. He is working in the fields of site-specific public art with a parametric data sculpture approach and live audio/ visual performance with an immersive installation approach; in particular, his works explore the space among digital and physical entities by creating a hybrid relationship between architecture and media arts. He holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in Media Arts, a master of fine arts degree from Istanbul Bilgi University in Visual Communication Design as well as bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, in Photography and Video. He is the co-founder and creative director at Antilop. As a media artist, designer and spatial thinker, Refik Anadol is intrigued by the ways in which the transformation of the subject of contemporary culture requires rethinking of the new aesthetic, technique and dynamic perception of space. Anadol builds his works on the nomadic subject’s reaction to and interactions with unconventional spatial orientations. Embedding media arts into architecture, he questions the possibility of a post digital architectural future in which there are no more non-digital realities. He invites the viewers to visualize alternative realities by presenting them the possibility of re-defining the functionalities of both interior and exterior architectural formations. Anadol’s work suggests that all spaces and facades have the potential to be utilized as the media artists’ canvases.

Refik Anadol is a media artist, designer and spatial thinker.

Anadol is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes, including Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Awards, the UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Awards, The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Awards and CODAvideo Awards. 58 • TurkofAmerica

He has been given awards and residencies and has served as a guest lecturer. He is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes, including Microsoft Research’s Best Vision Awards, the UCLA Art+Architecture Moss Awards, The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Awards and CODAvideo Awards. His site-specific audio/visual performances have been seen in Walt Disney Concert Hall (USA), Hammer Museum (USA), International Digital Arts Biennial Montreal (Canada), Ars Electronica Festival (Austria), l’Usine | Genève (Switzerland), Arc De Triomf (Spain), Zollverein | SANAA’s School of Design Building (Germany), Santralistanbul Contemporary Art Center (Turkey), Outdoor Vision Festival, Santa Fe New Mexico (USA), Istanbul Design Biennial (Turkey), Sydney City Art (Australia), and Lichtrouten (Germany).



üvenç Özel is an architect, technologist and researcher. He is a lead faculty member and Program Advisor of IDEAS, a multidisciplinary research and development platform in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Department of Architecture and Urban Design, and the principal of Ozel Office, an interdisciplinary design firm located in Los Angeles. His work is at the intersection of architecture, technology, media and research on urban culture. A native of Turkey, Özel studied architecture, sculpture, and philosophy at Bennington College. In addition, he holds a Master’s of Architecture degree from Yale University, where he graduated with multiple awards. Prior to establishing his own practice and research, he worked in the architecture offices of Rafael Vinoly, Jürgen Mayer H. and Frank Gehry, amongst others. His projects and experimental installations were exhibited in museums and galleries in the USA and Europe such as the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and The Saatchi Gallery in London. He formerly taught at Yale University, Woodbury University and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His recent work has been heavily published in online, broadcast and print media such as CNN, BBC, The Los Angeles Times, Wired, The Boston Globe, Architectural Digest, Gizmodo, Creators Project/ Vice, Dwell, Designboom, among others. At UCLA IDEAS, besides teaching his own master’s design studio alongside industry luminaries Greg Lynn, Thom Mayne and Frank Gehry, he continues his research on 3D printing, computation, virtual reality, robotics, interactive spaces and sensing interfaces with support from leading design software company Autodesk. Recently Özel was awarded fourth prize in NASA’s 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge. The competition called for architectural concepts for a four-astronaut dwelling on Mars that could be 3-D printed through the use of resources indigenous to the Red Planet. NASA received more than 165 entries in the competition, which is ultimately aimed at contributing towards the development of new technologies for additive manufacturing using “local indigenous materials” in space and on Earth.

Özel formerly taught at Yale University, Woodbury University and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Güvenç Özel Wıns NASA Prıze for Mars Habıtat Desıgn Güvenç’ projects and experimental installations were exhibited in museums and galleries in the USA and Europe. TurkofAmerica • 59


When Otar was a med student, his brother, a stockbroker, began to talk to him about an up-and-coming industry called alternative lending. After reluctantly agreeing to meet his brother’s colleague who owned a funding company, Otar began working part-time at his brother’s apartment, setting appointments and doing various pre-call activities. “My brother had to drag me to this meeting [with the lender],” Otar said. “At the time, he was considering going into [alternative lending] and wanted to try it out. We had always worked well together. So I set the appointments, he closed the deals, and we split the commissions. I was simultaneously helping my brother and learning a trade.” Within a first week of working together, the brothers closed their first deal, netting Otar $1,000. It didn’t take long for Otar to want an expanded role in the funding process and a bigger piece of the pie. After a year of working his own UCC leads from home, Otar was offered a partner position with a cash advance company, an attractive package with salary, commission and benefits. Çetin Otar, Founder and Partner Partner of Excel Capital LLC.

The Extraordınary Journey of a Young Fınance Man E

xcel Capital Management, LLC, established in 2012 and based in New York City’s financial center, is a one-stop-shop for business owners in need of capital.

After being diagnosed at 17 with testicular cancer and surviving multiple operations to become cancer free, Çetin Otar now helps his clients to loan working capital.

60 • TurkofAmerica

The company originates many types of working capital loans, including merchant cash advances, factoring, and credit card processing. Excel attributes its growth to the skills and industry knowledge of its underwriters and relationship managers. Managing Partner Çetin (Chad) Otar tried a number of different jobs in the restaurant and healthcare professions after earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2011 from CUNY Brooklyn College. “I was out of college and couldn’t find a career that I enjoyed,” Otar said. “I tried the restaurant business where I worked as bus boy, waiter, and then manager. I tried medical school.”

Working in a senior role at a leading cash advance company gave Otar a broader view of the industry, an improved tolerance for risk, and a solid foundation for his subsequent success as an entrepreneur. With one and a half years of experience as an executive manager under his belt, Otar and a partner broke away and started their own company, working out of Otar’s mother’s basement. Otar described the early days as a democratic arrangement between friends — days of closing, borrowing, and “calling, calling, calling.” A year later, the partners were funding an average of $2 million to $3 million in revenue per month. Otar described his career as a rags-to-riches story with a real-life happy ending. He will never forget what it felt like to earn his first commission check or to find himself in his early 20s with a six-figure annual income. Most importantly, Otar, a self-described eternal optimist and four-time cancer survivor, is grateful to be alive. After being diagnosed at 17 with testicular cancer and surviving multiple operations to become cancer free, Otar launched Campaign for Life Interrupted, promoting his cause on the talk show circuit. He also shared his story in the anthology “And We Write: Surviving Cancer; Let the Healing Begin”, donating all proceeds from book sales to cancer research. (By: Dale Laszig,, September-October 2014 issue)



Desıgnofurnımatıonalıst T

here is no such word as Designofurnimationalist in English, but this is the way Alper Nakri describes his

title. When he was in high school, he started his career as a DJ. Later on, he moved to Los Angeles and became a journalist. He has covered Hollywood, the Oscars, the Emmy Awards and NBA games. With the help of one of his friends, he started to work as a cameraman for documentary channels such as History and Discovery. In his spare time, he isinterested in graphic design and photography. Lately he has started to design lamps which are made out of parts of scrapped planes.

Alper was

“I don’t want to work 9am to 5pm. In this way, I have more time to create,” he says. In the TV industry, Alp-

nominated for 35th Annual News

er is known for his work on Cities of the Underworld (2007), Sniper: Inside the Crosshairs (2009) and Sniper: Deadliest Missions (2010).

and Documentary Emmy® Award for

Alper Nakri grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and studied film making in Los Angeles, California. He has a creative mind, and he is a maker. He works as a freelance graphic director for scripted documentaries for thematic channels such as National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. He was nominated for 35th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Award for his recent work for a History Channel documentary. In 2015, Alper was honored by Elle Decoration Turkiye magazine as one of the 10 designers that shapes the future. His hand-made furniture and lighting collections are sold at boutique designer stores in Istanbul and Los Angeles. Alper’s team won the motion graphic award

his recent work for a History Channel Alper Nakri.


at the Adobe Creative Jam, a unique two-part creative experience in where design duos compete in a tournament utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud. His Cucumber Stand project was featured by Huffington Post and the project was granted by Burning Man Honorarium Fund. His donation campaign was staffpicked by the Kickstarter crowd funding platform.

William E. Gens Law Offices, P.C. Boston – CapeCod – NewYorkCity

Avukat Mehmet Baysan WEG practice areas include advising American born Turkish-Americans who either inherited property from their Turkish descendants or American citizens who have purchased or are intending to purchase or sell property in Turkey. Our firm’s close ties with Turkey, its affiliation with Orhan&Orhan Law Firm and its familiarity with its legal and governmental systems can help you to reach your goals faster while enjoying the safeguards of working with an American law firm with a wealth of experience in this area. Attorneys at WEG are multi-lingual and can assist you by understanding the concerns that an American national would have in an international transaction – especially for property that may carry sentimental or familial values – while enjoying the confidence of being able to communicate in the native Turkish language. Our firm’s unique composition and affiliations, in addition to our efficient and cost-effective working ethics, will provide you with the quality of legal services that you need in your cross-Atlantic transactions.

Tel. (617) 936-4591 Fax. (617) 451-7879


ty. His first startup was a developer of 3D simulations of real estate that were under construction. His next project involved educating entrepreneurs using European mentors in a live classroom setting. Bali graduated from Middle Eastern Turkey University with a double major, earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and in mathematics. Founded in 2010 by Eren Bali with co-founders Oktay Cağlar and Gagan Biyani, Udemy created an online marketplace that lets “any human expert” create, distribute and sell video-driven courses online, and allows any student to enroll and take courses, without a lengthy admissions process. The San Francisco startup raised $12 million in Series B venture funding in 2012, led by Insight Venture Partners and joined by Lightbank, Learn Capital and MHS Capital Partners, to bring its video courses to mobile devices. In total the company has raised $113 million in venture funding since its establishment in 2010. Rather than publishing proprietary educational content, Udemy is an open marketplace that targets “lifelong learners” who want to pick up new skills to get ahead at work. Eren Bali.

A Brave Entrepreneurıal Step for Onlıne Courses Since 2012, Udemy has grown from about 15 to 200 employees, surpassing 8 million enrolled students and 30,000 contributing instructors.


ren Bali is the co-founder of Udemy, a startup that aims to democratize education by allowing anybody to teach and learn online. Bali’s career portfolio includes his time as the founding engineer and director of engineering at SpeedDate and developer at BitGravi-

62 • TurkofAmerica

Since 2012, Udemy has grown from about 15 to 200 employees, surpassing 8 million enrolled students and 30,000 contributing instructors. Udemy has offices in San Francisco, Ankara and Dublin. In March 2016, Udemy partnered with Benesse, the leading education and publishing provider in Japan. At least one hundred Japanese-language courses produced by Benesse on a wide range of topics are available via Udemy. The most popular paid courses on Udemy are in technology, business and design. Udemy generates revenue by taking a cut from the sales of the courses that students buy on its platform, including through bulk purchase programs and bundled deals. The Udemy site has been translated into 10 languages in addition to English and draws 45% of its paying customers from outside of the U.S. It also offers more than 1,000 courses that are conducted in Spanish and is expanding its selection in other languages by reaching out to instructors in new geographic markets. (This article is an excerpt of Lora Kolodny’s article published in the WSJ)


Berk Leads Rısk & Complıance For Sılıcon Valley Bank


erk Algan is a Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) executive for Silicon Valley Bank, the bank of the world’s most innovative companies and their investors. He currently leads up the IT GRC group at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Berk’s primary focus at SVB has been implementing governance best practices while promoting a risk-based culture and decision making process across the bank. For more than 30 years, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. With the help from his multiple direct reports, Berk leads key IT GRC domains, including IT Risk & Compliance (his primary focus area) and IT Performance Management (establishing KPIs). He also supports Financial Forecasting, IT Strategic Planning, IT Outsourcing and Vendor Management processes. At SVB, Berk champions and implements risk governance best practices and frameworks, prepares and presents periodic executive dashboards and reports

on key risks, issues and remediation status, and leads critical risk assessments and improvement projects. As the primary IT contact, Berk works extensively with federal and state regulators as well as internal and external auditors. Prior to joining SVB, Berk was a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young’s Advisory Services group where he audited and advised numerous high-tech companies such as Google, Facebook, PayPal, Apple, Intel, and Juniper Networks. He has a MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

With the help from his multiple direct reports, Berk leads key IT GRC domains, including IT Risk & Compliance and IT Performance Management.


Revolutıonary Onlıne Hospıtal Makes Expert Second Opınıons Avaılable Worldwıde

opinion can be video-conferenced, allowing for a greater accuracy and personalization of medical information. In short, the patient gets a second opinion across a continent or across the globe with the very best specialists. “I believe that represents the future of medicine,” says Dr. Rock G. Positano, Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. “It makes it possible for everyone to archive their medical records and share them with specialists throughout the world. All medical documentation and scan images (MRI, CT Scan, X-ray, etc.) are available in one centralized location, which greatly facilitates the consultation process.” Dr. Positano also emphasized that’s easy-to-use features and exceptional security safeguards make it the ideal system for working remotely. “I can easily keep in touch with all of my overseas patients while ensuring the privacy of their medical records and of our interactions. This unique system provides me with the opportunity to help many more people, and it is a great pleasure for me to be able to share my expertise using this groundbreaking technology.”

Kenan Ordu, CEO of Medocopin.


The New York based “” service amounts to a distinguished “ on-line hospital” staffed by the very best doctors.

revolutionary online healthcare service makes it possible for patients to archive and disseminate critical medical information, wherever and whenever needed around the world. Having won the trust of doctors and specialists globally, the New York based “Medocopin. com” service amounts to a distinguished “on-line hospital” staffed by the very best doctors. And it’s now available to discerning American consumers of medical services, and their doctors. “ brings second opinions and medical consultations into the twenty first century,” explains Medocopin’s CEO, Kenan Ordu. “We created Medicopin. com and its integrated archival system, Medihis (for Medical History) for the express purpose of enabling patients to get vibrant, accurate second opinions from the best doctors around the world.” Indeed, much of the second

64 • TurkofAmerica

One of Dr. Positano’s patients from Istanbul, Turkey, ST, who gets medical opinion via, is equally enthusiastic about’s benefits from the patient’s perspective. ST mentioned “when surgery was recommended for my health problem, I started to look for alternative treatments. A friend recommended and I was amazed by how easy it was to use. Without the hassle of travel or any other costly procedures, I was able to deliver all of my medical documents and images to the expert doctor in the U. S. whom I selected.” Not only was the process simple and convenient, but also ST didn’t have to wait a long time for a consultation. “We set up the appointment that same week, which I really appreciated since I was so worried about my situation and having to decide whether to have surgery,” said ST. “Before the meeting, I received notification emails that helped me prepare, and I made a list of all of my questions and concerns. I met with Dr. Positano by using`s live face-to-face videoconference option, and it was almost like being in the same room. Dr. Positano reviewed all my MRI and my X-Ray’s with me. I felt so relieved. The best part is that the conference was recorded and stored in my personal account, so that I can access it anytime I need to review the entire conversation again.”

Volume 15 - Issue 43rd - 40 Under 40 Issue - Summer 2016  

TURKOFAMERICA Magazine has selected the 40 Most Influential Turkish-Americans Under 40 first time ever. The list is distinctive in that it i...

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