A quick look at what’s what and who’s who
Support, for many young women in Turkey, is life changing…especially for those with big dreams. Thank you for being a part of providing support. The purpose of this newsletter is to invite you to continue your meaningful role and stay in the know on all the exciting things happening for TWI and the young woman whose lives we touch.
We’ve added two new programs to further support our students and alums:
- The “English Conversation Club” meets for an hour twice a month by video conference call. Two TWI board members (Belgin
Lore and Tresa Eyres) lead a lively discussion with Sparks students and alums with intermediate English skills. These aren’t lessons, but just conversation on a variety of topics of interest and importance to Sparks women who are in the early stages of their careers and life after university. Still in the pilot stage with a small group of participants, the plan is to expand participation next fall.
Muge Bicimli, a Conversation Club participant, says: “Slowly, slowly l was losing [the English] that l know, and l started to feel inadequate in speaking. Practicing my English …and talking about different topics at each meeting make me very happy.”
- Sparks Mentoring program began in March. Organized by TWI board member Aycan Iskent, Sparks students are matched with Turkish-American professionals in California. The pairs will meet via video conference call to work on skills related to specific profession and industry, general career skills, and/or life skills.The Sparks Program strongly promotes self-development and skill sets that build leaders who can adapt to today’s diverse and changing world. We are excited to add the mentoring program which will help the Sparks graduates transition into their new life path.
Outstanding Women Leaders
Introducing Ayca Altintig, a Turkish-American community leader from Southern California.
Born and raised in Istanbul, I graduated from Uskudar American Academy, and then received my B.S. in Business Administration from Bogazici University. I came to the US for my graduate studies, and completed my M.Sc and Ph.D. in Finance at Louisiana State University. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Drucker School of Management in Claremont Graduate University. Being an educator, I feel a great draw to the education of Turkish American children in the US, and have worked very actively with the Orange County Turkish School as a teacher, treasurer and director of the school for close to five years. I have also been very active on the Board of directors of the Orange County Turkish American Association and served as the secretary of the umbrella association American Turkish Associations of Southern California (ATASC). Currently I serve the community as the president of ATASC and as the West Coast VP of ATAA (Assembly of Turkish American Associations). I also host a podcast radio program for Turkish Americans about the news and developments in the US financial markets.
Being a female in a male world is always hard. I have always been in primarily male driven environments. Female academics in finance are still a very small minority and business schools are in general not the best cultivating grounds for female leaders. I have been lucky in many ways to have a very strong working mom and to grow up in an all-girls school that devoted itself to educating and molding self-confident women. I took the strong female role models in my life for granted for many years. Only after moving to the US, and finding myself in the middle of a foreign culture with no support system or mentors to speak of, I realized the importance of those early influences on my life.
As an educator, I wanted to use my skills and my passion to teach towards fostering my heritage and language in the next generation of Turkish American children. As I got more and more involved with the Turkish American community, I wanted to do more. I believe in strong communities, and support systems. I think when used correctly, Turkish American associations can provide support for a community that lives miles away from home. They can also serve as a means to pass our heritage and culture to next generations. If I can do something to help with that even in a very small way, I feel honored and privileged.
TWI Sponsors and Donors
“I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something…”
Edward Everett Hale
We are grateful to Mary Tuncer, co-founder and chairman of ESBAS, one of Turkey’s leading industrial parks, as well as the ESBAS management, for their continued sponsorship of the Sparks Program in Turkey.
This year they are sponsoring one Sparks group of eight students from Izmir area universities as well as covering a significant portion of the cost of the annual year-end Change Leaders Summit that brings together all students and volunteers from throughout Turkey.