Ipek Ozaydin comes from Istanbul, Turkey. She is an engineer who built her career in the materials field, she graduated from the Edison Engineering Leadership Program in GE, and she’s also a working mom as well as an empowering female leader and a women in tech. Ipek currently holds Engineering Material System Leadership in Avio Aero, and we had the privilege to share with her some tips and suggestions coming from her continuous learning attitude.
How did you decide to join Avio Aero?
In the beginning of 2016, although everything was going very smooth and well, I realized that I needed to engage into something different both for myself wellness and my team. I was very stable in my career until that moment: I was the one and only Turkey Technology Center Materials Application Engineer in the beginning, I grew up with the team and was naturally leading for 8 years. So I was almost sure that the team needed a change as much as I did.
Once I decided for a change, I was lucky enough to be able to consider two options (and in the end I took both). I had already expressed my interest for a change to my managers and explained my willingness to challenge myself for something that is out of my comfort zone. Therefore during TTC organizational change I was selected as LM6000 Compressor Design & Engineer in the Shop Sub-Section Manager. Quite at the same time, TTC was going through this organizational change and I was also getting ready to be interviewed for my current role in Avio Aero. As you might be curious how we managed the situation, I have to say that I paid extreme attention to being open to both entities during that time and I believe the support that I received is a great proof of being in a big global company.
Did you already know someone in Avio Aero?
I knew many people but especially Silvia Sabbadini. At that same time I was congratulating her as our Consulting Engineer for EU, and I was trying to understand who will have been her replacement. At one point, I remember that we both smiled and said that I should maybe go… since then things rolled up very quickly!
I bet it was not an easy decision to take, considering you also have a young son.
Once I realized I really had this opportunity, I spent a decent amount of time thinking through the details. Getting mentorship from various people, re-visiting all things I knew about Avio Aero and Italy, trying to remember the challenges and benefits of living abroad when I was an exchange student and of course sensing how much my family was ready for such change… As you can guess, it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but when I listed down my motivations the picture was clearer. I must recognize that the entire Avio Aero team welcomed me so warmly and helped me a lot. I have a great team and we have many things in front of us to accomplish together. All the experience could have been wasted if I did not have such great characters in my team.
Can you share some of your most important takeaways so far?
I believe my real takeaways from this experience are that you need to define stability limit for yourself. Change is good, and not necessarily it has to be a promotion or a drastic change. Then, that you really build your own career in GE so should not hesitate to talk about what you want once you really know it. Openness and honesty are making you stronger in possible conflicts. And last, but definitely not least, if you build a good recognition over the years, people around you are naturally supporting you.
Things look like tremendously easy listening to your words…
Of course, not. Changing your entire ecosystem is not easy at all. Even though the digital era helps with communications, you lose all your immediate connections with family, friends, relatives… You have to admit that you will miss good and bad times of your loved ones and they will miss yours as well. Re-creating a balance in your nuclear family with the new environment can be though and feeling the responsibility for all as the headliner can be heavy. As we were living close to my parents in Turkey, we were living in an all-inclusive style from child care to housekeeping, but now the life is more like ‘Bed & Breakfast’ for our family. The things that you do not count as important becomes a big challenge such as: getting appointment for a car service, passing thru any call center, communicating your need in a retail store, figuring out traffic limited zones (including a €300 ticket payment!). And, learning a language after a certain age is not that easy! Especially while you’re working full time… But you have to take the bitter with the sweet: our hopes are on our 4 years-old son where we plan to use him to get thru any conversations soon…