Meet A WINner: Çiğdem Penn


Çiğdem Penn is an experienced researcher with twenty years of expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. She is the General Manager of ‎Xsights Research & Consultancy. 

Çiğdem is a TurkishWIN speaker and long time change maker in our community. An angel member of TurkishWIN,  she is a big supporter of our give back platform BinYaprak and availed Xsights as our research partner. Together, we are building our legacy in tracking "Women & Labor Force Participation" pulse of the Turkish society as time-series metrics to witness the changes since 2017. 

Congrats on your ESOMAR "Making a Difference Award" Çiğdem! Xsights Research & Consultancy team made us proud by bringing this award for the first time to Turkey. 

She is well versed in both high-profile and international projects. A graduate of the London School of Economics and political science, Çiğdem focused on change management and resistance to change in the context of organizational culture and started her career in management consulting. She then moved into market research and worked in two of the biggest agencies in the UK. In 2006, Çiğdem started her own research consultancy, Xsights in London and opened the Turkish branch in 2010. She has been delivering results-driven research ever since, both in Turkey and internationally. 

Çiğdem is a member of ESOMAR, the Market Research Society and the Turkish Researchers Association and is the founding president of the Turkey and Nepal Business Council. Çiğdem has lived in Kathmandu for three years consulting with the United Nations, is now based in Turkey. Çiğdem Penn, a frequent public speaker, and an occasional columnist, and speaks French and English fluently.

Now, let's get to know Çiğdem! 

What do you do for a living?

I ask questions for a living. I measure progress and potential on a daily basis for both private and public sectors. For private companies, I deliver strategic insights and for public sector, I conduct impact evaluations. I have recently been awarded ‘Making a Difference Award’ by ESOMAR Foundation which nicely describes why I ask questions for a living.

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

Love the work you do, do the work your love...

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Summer is around the corner, so no chocolate for a while…

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

Investing in yourself as a person is best thing you can do to progress in your career. So go ahead and work towards fully developing yourself as a mother, as a friend, as a spouse, as a partner, work on yourself wholistically… Your career will benefit enormously from it.

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

I would love to have my three favorite people in this World over dinner: my three children. It is delightful to have all three of them around one table, watch them to interact with one and other…

Name a book you read that positively shaped you.

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

You believe in the sisterhood at work because… 

It is the only way forward for women; as women we need to start collaborating instead of competing, learn to appreciate the positive impact every each of us brings to the workplace and value each other’s worth.

Who are your role models?

I do not have any. I get inspired by intelligence, authenticity and courage in whomever is crossing my path as long as they exhibit one or more of the above.

 If you can explain your personality like food; which food and why?

I would be a ‘ Millefeuille aux fraises ‘. I am sweet, multi-layered but crunchy too.

You have a car trip from İstanbul to Bodrum. Choose a famous person to join you and tell us why!

I would choose Fernando Alonso, as I enjoy fast driving and would not mind learning a bit of Spanish...

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I would have liked to re-verse climate change as I see it as the biggest problem for next generations.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, Pluto, a mini poodle, he has a special place in my heart, and I absolutely adore him; his little eyes, tiny paws and everything he does brings a big smile to my face…

Describe yourself as a teenager in 3 words

Full of hope

Last book you read or are reading now

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, I highly recommend it; it is simply brilliant and very useful.

If you weren’t in your industry – what would you be doing?

I would have liked to be an artist, or a writer...

What's your favorite thing in your closet right now?

An emerald, green dress from Anthropologie, one of my favorite shops in the US.

Now you live in Germany in 1930, your child is Hitler. How to inspire him to become a good person and save the World

I would connect with him as his mother, make sure he feels safe and reward him with lots of love… The World did not need saving as much as he did…

Well, we asked her some other questions! For the answers, watch her TurkishWIN Career Day Talk here! 

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