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International Women's Day: Q&A with Oyku Api

Izgi Genc International Women's Day

‘’Confidence is a source which provides us motivation to create our better versions.”

 

How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace? 

I think confidence is the belief of self, to be aware of your skills, strengths but also weaknesses and how you can manage them. In the age of change and innovations we are all working on development of our skills to be ready for the future, which is not that soon. So, I believe confidence is a source which provides us motivation to create our better versions. 

 

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome (where you doubt your achievements and have an internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”)? If so, how did you overcome it? 

Yes, in fact this question brings my mind an exact moment just before submitting my application to an international Diversity Award back in 2014. Although I put a lot of efforts for the self - awareness and self - developments of female talents in the company and was facilitating many workshops and trainings as to empower women colleagues, I remember I reviewed the list of previous award recipients and told myself “there was even no one out of US in this list, there is no way for you to get it”. You know this tiny, suspicious voice in your mind. I have a very simple technic to overcome this kind of situations. I simply ask myself “what if you have been chosen?” And guess what happened? I am the first recipient of J. Whitehead Diversity Award by ACC out of US. I strongly believe that if you have the passion to achieve something and you can visualize yourself in that specific achievement moment this gives you the courage to move forward

 

How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work? 

I am lucky enough to have mentors and coaches around me during my entire career. I think it is so important to be surrounded with like-minded individuals.  I had a coaching training as well and I like how they define the relation between a coach and a coachee. When you come to a turning point and two ways in front of you, coach is not a person who makes magic.  Instead they are the ones who have torches in their hands. So, they just help us to lighten the way but it is still up to each individual to choose the way that they want to go. 

Aside from that also sponsoring is very crucial to make your efforts visible basically for your targeted audience. That is why if you have message or if you did something great or basically if you have an interest about new subject you should speak up, create a network and look for sponsor who can quide you in your way.