Meet A WINner: Gamze Çıtıroğlu


We are very proud to have Gamze Çıtıroğlu, a management consultant and culture leader in leadership of our Pharma Circle! We got to know her a little closer, read below.

Gamze is a strategic management consultant and at the moment works for Azelis Turkey, which acquired Ekin Kimya in 2020, of whom she was the GM and a partner. She specifically focuses on post-M&A cultural integration, corporate reputation, image building, and responsible businesses. In addition, she is the Chevron Business Lead at Aktaş Foreign Trade, handling market and business development as well as strategic stakeholder management. 

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

Work hard but not just “do” the job as a duty but find joy in what you are doing. Feel it, like it, be excited about it, take pleasure from it. Be aware of the importance, meaning, and value of your contribution. And do that not only for your company but also for yourself. 

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate

Dark chocolate! Because you can taste the essence of the ingredient in dark chocolate. That is the amazing flavor of cacao. 

One thing you wish you had known earlier in your career

Marketing is something I discovered later in my career. I was more sales-oriented at the beginning. You master the product, then you do your sales pitch and sell it. Then, I realized that you need to have a narrative about your product, make your customer interested and attracted to your product, and give her the reason why. You should understand your customers’ expectations, needs, future plans. Also, you should have the right price strategy, and position yourself in the market according to your competitors. See a much bigger picture, and have objectives. I also discovered the significance of corporate communication. Ok, you have a great product, but do you have a great company? What is your company’s ultimate purpose? What are its values? How do you treat your employees, partners, and the Planet?  Why should consumers, and customers trust your company and even like your company?

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

The decision to sell Ekin Kimya. For me, this meant leaving my position as the General Manager and partner of a successful company. That is to leave a career when I am at the very top. That is even to start from the beginning. But we knew, it was time. We were aware that the world was changing and more and more local companies were becoming part of global ones. We had to find the best of those global companies and we had to create this opportunity for our business and Ekin Kimya’s highly qualified team. The opportunity to grow and step into the global business stage! We had the initial thought in 2014 and the acquisition was finalized in 2019.  After this decision, we invested in the infrastructure and people even more. We have worked with consultants to uplift the people's capabilities of the organization. Today when I see how the business bloomed under Azelis's roof and how my ex-Ekin Kimya colleagues move to regional positions in their career paths, I am assured it was all worth it!

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

Atatürk. Besides hundreds of other things, I am an admirer of Atatürk’s dinner tables.  A big table is arranged with taste, grace, and vision. A table where he hosts special people and shares special stories. I am so curious how that table would be set in today’s conditions.  

Ferzan Özpetek. His understanding of art has always impressed me.  He is not only active in cinema but also in theatre, opera, and writing. He directs the most famous operas, at the most famous opera houses. And he achieves that in a foreign country. And his movies… They are always about people, family, or friends around a table, and you can almost “see” the connection between them. Özpetek reflects life “as is”. Sincere, real, hide nothing.  And that surely touches your heart.  Lastly, the music of his films is always memorable. That is what completes the beautiful art piece.

Audrey Hepburn. Such a charismatic figure. She is grandiose even in a little black dress. Her self-expression with such a simple look is legendary. Because it is not about the dress. It is who you are and how you carry a “look”, and how you express yourself. Just with her presence, she tells you I am good, and that is enough. Her work for UNICEF is also something that marks her personality.   

Name a book you read that positively shaped you

Years ago, I read “All Quiet on the Western Front”. The book is about the 2nd World War. The war is told from the perspective, from the soul of one individual, simple and naïve. 

Madonna in a Fur Coat of Sabahattin Ali. I read the book when I was in high school, many years before it became so popular. I could not put it down. An amazing story. The simplicity of expression, depiction of people, and love in different backgrounds. 

You believe in sisterhood at work because…

To make this gender inequality, this system against women come to an end, to make men realize, understand, and act on that, we women have to be aware, and we have to spread the word. Since we experience the consequences, we can understand them best, and vocalize them much better. I work personally and on a corporate level to remove the barriers for women. At all levels in the business, there have to be as many women as men. They have to be supported more as they are expected to perform better than men.  

Who are your role models? 

The first one is my husband. My partner in life and my partner at work during 25 years at Ekin Kimya. He is so dedicated and committed to what he does... He has dreams. He envisions a future and never gives up until he makes it a reality. Nothing stops him. He has an unending curiosity. And I am a witness to how that curiosity changed his life, our life, and the lives of other people in an amazing way.  

The second one is Uğurtan Cop who very sadly passed away last year. He was the owner, GM, and manager at my first job where I have worked for 5 years and became a friend later in time. Uğurtan’s interest and respect for art have always deeply affected me. He was a collector and has always shared his knowledge of and excitement for art with people around him. I have learned from him that private life and work-life are inseparable parts of “life as a whole”. 

Lastly Akın Öngör. At a point where he was at the top of his career, he said “now it is time to move on”. I have recently finished his book called “Goes on after me”. He left a top company where he was a CEO and started a winery from scratch. I am affected by his EQ, and his dedication to the specific subject where he aims to develop and reach higher levels. 

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I wish I could make capitalism transform into soft capitalism. I would correct the inequality in the distribution of income and all other resources. But not with wars and violence, but with people wishing that wholeheartedly, giving and sharing what they have with people that do not. 

Share a story about a time when you were really proud of your achievement 

For 30 years, I have been a strong business partner, a person of trust for Chevron. In Chevron's words, I am completely Chevronized. Now when I look back, it is a great source of happiness for me to have developed a business case together with our amazing colleagues at Chevron and delivered successful results year after year. 

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

In the past, I have always taken all the responsibility. And that is sometimes huge for one person to carry you might get crushed under. Which from time to time, happened to me as well. Then I realized that I should not do it alone. Then, I have come to the point where I say let’s solve it together. I started to share the responsibility. And you can imagine what a relief that is. 

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

One should see one’s self as a whole. You need to be happy at work and also in your private life to be happy as a whole. Again, I see them as inseparable. Then share happiness, and one’s discovered ways to happiness -the learnings- with people around. One should know ones’ self. What do I desire in life? What am I good at? What are my obstacles? Lastly, whatever we are doing for ourselves we need to do the same for humanity and our Planet. Resources are almost depleted. What do we desire for humanity and the Planet? What are the obstacles? What are we capable of doing? Then share the answers. One can only realize one’s self and be happy by only understanding one’s self. 

What’s in your handbag right now? What’s your absolute must haves in travels?

You can find “everything” in my handbag, even pantyhose! (Since it might get cold all of a sudden).  Lipstick. Hand lotion. A mini perfume. Brush. Earrings my daughter has bought for me. Pillbox with vitamins & other supplements. Reading & sunglasses. 3 wallets. 2 are mine and one is my husband, Murat’s. 

If you were to create the 5. Season, what would her name be and what would the weather be like? 

Sprummer! A mix of spring and summer. Not always hot. Some warm days in between the hot ones. 

Watch Gamze's video on communication in relationships at our giveback platform BinYaprak


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