Meet A WINner: Ekim Şerifoğlu Okçular


We would like to introduce you to our sister Ekim Şerifoğlu Okçular.

We are lucky to have Ekim, Vice President of Sales Strategy and Operations at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in our community.

Ekim is leading a global team and in charge of driving business development strategy, initiatives, programs, and analytics. She has been in this role for 5 months. Prior to that, she served as Chief of Staff to HPE CFO.

She feels that it’s been amazing to have end-to-end visibility on strategic discussions across the company, being part of the key decisions, and making an impact.

Do not miss this great chance to get to know Ekim.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Know yourself and try to be your best self. Stay true to your values and strive to do the best you can.

One thing you wish you had known earlier in your career.

I don’t always like it, but perception is reality. Make sure people know you and see the impact you can make. Speak up and don’t be shy to negotiate on your own behalf.What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

I think it is having a child! I know it sounds natural, but it is a huge responsibility and probably one of the most-life changing events. Greatest thing at the same time! Other one is probably moving to different countries. I had moved to Germany for a couple of years and we are in California now for the last 5 years.

If you could have any three people (dead or alive) over for dinner – who would they be?

One would be Ataturk for sure, one of the greatest leaders ever! I’d be thrilled to meet him! Other one would be my grandma, who passed away when I was 10. I know she was a special woman with so much courage to speak up and change things in her community. She was way ahead of her time. And she would love to see Ataturk as well! I’m sure they’d get along really well :). On another night, I'd also love to invite Aamir Khan. He is brilliant. I love his movies that are constructed in such a smart and lovely way. He is also an activist on social topics and drives awareness. I’m a big fan.

Who are your role models?

I have so many. My family, my parents, friends, colleagues, my managers, mentors.. Each of them is a role model to me on certain things like being authentic, curious, bold, more resilient, and appreciating and enjoying every moment.. I try to learn from everyone around me.

Name a book you read that positively shaped you.

“Mindset”, written by Carol S. Dweck. It explains the power of having a Growth Mindset and shares several examples of how you can get smarter and improve yourself with hard work, persistence and the right learning strategies when you have a growth mindset. Because, you simply believe that the abilities you’re born with are only a starting point. You would have so much passion for learning, welcome mistakes as opportunities to learn and seek challenges to push yourself. This can apply to anything in life... Another book I want to call out is “Think Again”, by Adam Grant, that provides a great perspective on the “ability to rethink and unlearn”. I loved it!

You believe in sisterhood at work because…

It is a men-dominated world, unfortunately it is. And it applies to both societies and workplaces. We, as women, need to be more present and active in key decision making positions, but we are not always raising our hands to take the opportunities that can take us there. Several of us need a hand to step up. We need every woman and every man to be advocates of women and support them be more visible, more courageous and more influential. We need sisterhood and positive diversity until we get to a more balanced social and work environment.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

We are all devastated by the earthquake that happened in February and killed thousands of people. It’s an incredible tragedy and it’ll take a long time for all of us, especially for the people directly impacted in the region to recover. If I had one superpower right now, I’d want to avoid that tragedy. And more generally speaking, I’d love to make sure every child has a loving, caring and safe childhood and has access to good education. First of all, every child deserves it! And also, if all children had a loving and safe childhood and were educated well, there is no way they would do any harm to anyone when they grow up. Imagine how wonderful our world could be! 

Share a story about a time when you recovered from a great mistake.

I typically take time to think things through before making an important decision, but of course things don't always go as you assume they would. In those times, there is an inevitable feeling of disappointment, but I try to roll it back and analyze my decision making process, where I might have gone wrong or what I could have done better, and I try to learn from it. At the end, you never lose. You either win or learn!

Your advice to the next generation of career women from your learnings.

Work hard with a growth mindset. Be yourself, be bold, and support the next generation of women talents around you, help them grow.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, we have a lovely dog, Joy.

Last book you read or are reading now.

I recently read "First 90 Days" written by Michael D. Watkings. Great book with helpful insights, especially if you are moving to a new role.


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