Three women, three sectors

Three women, three sectors

Just before New Year’s Eve is a busy period with receptions, office parties and business dinners. 
Last night I met with three close friends who are all very successful in their own fields for an “early welcome” to the year 2012. They were Meltem Kurtsan, head of the Kurtsan Group of Companies, operating in the pharmaceutical sector; Zehra Güngör, owner of the Stage Company, engaged in communications consulting; and Selma Akdoğan, Karadeniz Holding executive board member, mainly focusing on energy logistics. 

I have to add this: The names above have a common feature. All three of them are outstanding members of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER), founded in 2004 and led by Kurtsan.

KAGİDER, as well as its main activity of supporting female entrepreneurs, is now managing projects such as “Equal Opportunities Model” and “Child Care Model” technically supported by the World Bank. Kurtsan is now the honorary president. 

When three businesswomen of different sectors were together, I could not refrain myself from asking their expectations for 2012 in their relevant sectors.

Coming from a pharmacist family and a pharmacist herself, Kurtsan is the second generation owner of a company producing herbal products. She is currently attending a graduate program at Istanbul University on phytotherapy, meaning herbal medicine. She has the latest news on the pharmaceutical industry. 

“Social Security Institution (SGK) has lifted the discount on 125 drugs. That means it has revoked the 7.5 percent discount it had introduced on Nov. 17. We are experiencing a new development in the pharmaceutical sector every day. Our minds are confused,” she said. 

Akdoğan, who was the CEO of the Balnak Group operating in logistics and has set up the consultancy firm Today&Tomorrow, is also a member of the executive committee of Karadeniz Holding, as I said before. 

When the subject is energy and logistics, Akdoğan’s expectations for the year 2012 are huge: “Turkey will live a golden year both in the energy and logistic sectors. We are an indispensable partner both in energy and in logistics for regional countries.” I know how correct she is on the topic of logistics because of the Antakya visit I did last week. The southern city of Antakya is operating on an exceptionally vast geography from Saudi Arabia to Russia with its 7,700 trucks and refrigerated vehicles. Although tense relations with Syria and the fact that the al-Assad regime has closed two of the border gates have demoralized the sector, all future plans are based mainly on the logistics sector. 

Owner of the Stage Company, Zehra Güngör, who is also a member of the executive committee of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), is one of those who best feels the effects of the global economic crisis in Turkey. Because “public relations” is the first item that comes to mind when the international and local companies she is doing business with decide to cut costs. 
Three women, three sectors. 

One is undecided, the other hopeful and the third is pessimistic.