November 02, 2018 01:00 PM
Isil Hasdemir, General Manager of NCR Turkey, is an inspirational Sales leader who has been voted one of the most powerful businesswomen in Turkey for the second consecutive year. As a result, Isil was featured on the cover of PSM – Payment Systems Magazine, while some of the biggest newspapers in Turkey also reported on Isil’s success, including Businesswomen Turkey Magazine and Hurriyet Haber. Isil has also been recognized within NCR – winning the award for Financial Services Sales Manager of the year, 2017. She is very active in promoting women’s employment in Turkey, particularly in the technology sector.
BACKGROUND: Isil is an electronic engineer, and graduated from the Middle East Technical University – METU in Ankara, Turkey’s capital. She started her professional career as a sales person, i.e. an account manager, and worked for a few tech companies, among which the most significant was CISCO, where she held the position of deputy general manager. During her time in CISCO, Isil worked with customers from all segments, including public, commercial, financial sector, enterprise, etc. She was also responsible for managing CISCO’s channel segment in Turkey of more than 700 partners. Isil joined NCR in 2016 as Turkey General Manager and Area Sales Leader. A former professional basketball player, Isil played for Turkey’s national team and says sport has always been a significant part of her life.
We caught up with Isil recently to get to know her better, and find out what’s driving her success.
Q: Hello Isil! Congratulations on your recent award! Could you please tell us more about it?
Isil: Thank you! I was voted one of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Turkey for the second consecutive year. I was ranked #26, which is an improvement in ranking as compared to the previous year. There are several criteria for the overall evaluation, and my ranking was calculated based on the business volume, growth, and the performance of the team I am leading. I am also an active member of a board which tends to promote and enhance women’s employment in Turkey, especially in the tech world, so my commitment in this area also affected my overall ranking.
Q: What attracted you to this industry?
Isil: I am an electronic engineer, and I have a mindset of an engineer, but I’m not an introvert (as people believe engineers are), so working in the sales technology sector gives me the best of both worlds. At the beginning, it was not so easy – I even tried to change my career! Selling solutions in technology is not simple at all, as customers cannot see or feel the solution we’re selling them – it’s much different, and as I like to highlight – magical!
Q: What makes you passionate about NCR?
Isil: The main reason and striking point I joined NCR was its vision and passion for change. I feel very lucky, as I think now is the right time to be a part of NCR to witness and simultaneously lead the change in my country.
Q: What do our customers in Turkey value most about your approach?
Isil: In general, Sales is based on relationships with customers – and that’s what I am so confident about and why I feel so strong. I have a great network here in Turkey. My customers value my passion for business, but they also feel they’re valued by our side. One of my customers visited the Innovation Conference in the U.S. in August this year and brought the same impression back to Turkey. The fact that our customers feel that way helps me and my team a lot. We have a great, supportive, team here, and that’s very important for our business to obtain better results – and our customers see that, too.
Q: What is your proudest moment while leading the NCR Turkey?
Isil: I’d like to mention several moments that made me proud of being a part of NCR. Apart from winning various great projects last year, I am most proud of building a committed team, which hasn’t been the case before – and the synergy of that team leads a change!
Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out?
Isil: I am very passionate about that subject. There are some skills that are positively attributed to men, but negatively to women, e.g. when a man is passionate about the business, a woman with the same skill is considered aggressive – we need to change that mindset! Also, always look for a challenge, think outside of the box, and never accept stereotypes and ‘no’ as an answer – you need to find a way. My special advice to young women is to stay humble, have a growth mindset, and never stop learning, as it’s a long journey to become a successful, powerful woman. Never give up!