That’s Me!

Fatmanur Erdogan, M.A. Counseling Psychology


Founder & Director, IPPA Positive Psychology Academy 
Member, International Positive Psychology Association

M.A. Counseling Psychology (Canada, Yorkville University)
Certificate; Applied Positive Psychology (U.S.A.,University of Pennsylvania)
Postgraduate; Marketing & E-commerce (U.S.A., University of California, Santa Barbara)
Postgraduate; Visual Communications (U.S.A., University of California, Santa Barbara)
B.A. Management (Turkey, Uludag University)

Lived and worked in Norway, Singapore, California, USA in Marketing Communications, Market Research and Brand Management for 10 years. Worked in Turkey and managed Eurasia, Africa, CIS regions in Corporate and Sustainability Communications for 10 years.


Who am I as a professional?

I am and always have been an entrepreneurial executive. What does that mean?

It means routine is not my forte. It means I am highly creative, highly curious, and tend to juggle multiple interests. For example while I was head of communications, I also wrote a book on entrepreneurship, and worked as a columnist for Hurriyet Daily News. (I wrote about psychology of entrepreneurship). Studied visual design and so on and so forth. 

 

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Companies have always asked me to take personality tests before they offered me a job. Those tests always confirmed what I already knew: Creative, Curious, Love of Learning. I am also high on extraversion for those who love Big 5! When I started at these companies, I realized none of my personality traits were of interest to them. Simply because companies don’t understand what to do with people who are multi-talented. But also they didn’t know what to do with the results once they had them, either.

It’s interesting that no company asks candidates this simple question: “how can we help you achieve your dreams”. No one seems to care. Isn’t it funny that in a world where all companies want engaged employees no company cares what you care about?

It’s ironic that the entire business world is now at awe with a recently published data that “most kids in Turkey don’t have any dreams”. I wonder why they are so surprised. The business world does very little for those who have a dream. Just look at the state of affairs. 

Majority of my impact-making work got done during times where I ended up taking risks and did work that no one was in favor of. That meant, occasionally I would go against the current and systems to bring about change. Looking back they were all fun, exciting, highly stressful, sleepless and most rewarding times.


What I learned working globally?

I worked in 3 continents and visited over 60 countries.

I lived in Norway, California, USA, and Singapore for ten years. I learned that human needs are the same:

  • We all want to love and be loved:) As cheesy as it may sound, it is true as black and white.
  • Everyone wants and needs recognition.
  • Sincerity is highly valued but under appreciated.
  • People with high moral standards do better in life.

While leading corporate communications departments for Fortune 500 companies, I learned that contrary to popular belief, the biggest barrier to change is due to C-level mismanagement and their career anxiety –and rarely due to mid-managers’ resistance. C-level executives have been so resistant to change that a big majority failed to prepare their companies for the digital world. Wouldn’t you agree?

While successfully leading culture change & digital transformation initiatives for companies going through M&A– I witnessed hundreds of people with 15 or 20+ year tenures getting laid off for being loyal employees, and now, they were being labeled as “resistant to change”.  Given the fact that majority of companies have “digital transformation” as an agenda item as oppose to having transformation as a part of their DNA, one wonders what those CEOs have been doing for so long. When business leaders have the guts to accept their role in the process, then real change is bound to surface. Then I believe, we can all have a thriving work life.

Using my background in management, psychology, marketing and communication design, and using my curios personality as a force of nature:) I developed Quality of Life based sustainability and corporate branding strategies, and executed initiatives globally, to foster thriving communities, social brands and workplaces. I am proud of my work. And I continue to foster quality of life based management practices for businesses so they can gain their license to grow.

Top Of Africa Johannesburgh Fati

(Me taking a picture in Johannesburg, South Africa. This place is called Top of Africa)


My pet peeves…

Team work is over valued and least understood. Individualism is undervalued. Let’s remember: Innovation is an individual sport. Implementation is team work. The Nation’s current “trust level” fluctuate between 4-10%. Can you expect much team work in organizations when few people in a nation seem to trust one other?

People are smart. At least most of the time! Employees aren’t kids. In this age, superficial leadership backfires. Big time. If leaders want to have companies with a purpose, then they themselves should have a purpose bigger than themselves. So now, ask yourselves. Have you got a purpose in life?

Talent pools are for masses. But they are fun projects that take you to the strangest places and help you meet with interesting people. I have been a part of talent pools. One time, we got leadership training at the House of the Nuns just outside of Munich. We also stayed there for a week with the nuns. I totally loved the experience.

Meritocracy is a funny term. I think if any corporation spits the word meritocracy, suggest them to watch Alain de Botton’s talk on the subject. Actually, that won’t make a difference so have your colleagues watch it.

Success depends on a ton of factors, the biggest of them being luck! Sorry to disappoint, but this statement is based on both research and observation.

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(Paris, my love)


A bit personal…

I love swimming! I love being in or next to the water…it is like my life blood.

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(Here is me at the Eurasia Corporate Games. 2nd place. A professional swimmer received 1st place 🙂

I was trained to be a ballerina since I was three and a half, and I won a scholarship from the British ballet company to study at the Royal Ballet in the UK.

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(Barcelona, Bale street style. Photo taken by my dad)

I play the piano, not so well any more, but I have a good ear for music and am considered talented in sports and arts.

— I used to do technical drawings in black and white, and had a home studio for glass painting.

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(Me in Budapest, Hungary. Photo taken by my brother. After a long day of gallery hopping, we got hit by a heavy wind storm. )

— My dad is a great swimmer and a water skier. He still swims every day on summer days. My mom is great in ceramic art, drawing and writing poems.  At the age of 70, she published 2 poetry books. Third is on the way. They must have passed their genes on to me.

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(My dad, 60’s in the USA)

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(My mom’s first book is called Günışığı, meaning Daylight. Her second book is called Özlem, meaning Longing)

—My brother has thought me a lot about marketing, better than any school or company.

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(My brother & I enjoy taking trips abroad to explore life, cultures, art and music. Shot taken by me in Paris)


Awards I Received That Have A Meaning For Me

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—Advertising ADDY Awards from Ventura County, California;
—Business Journal’s Young Entrepreneur Award, also known as the “40 Under 40”, California
—Best User Experience Design and Content Management Award from Berlin we.connect, Germany
—Golden Compass Award for the Most Creative Social Media Campaign from Turkish Public Relations Association. Turkey
—Golden Compass Award for Social Media Ambassadors Program, Corporate Communications Project, from Turkish Public Relations Association. Turkey