I started my career as a software engineer after graduating from Athlone IT. It was my dream job from childhood.
Back then, I always looked for a role model for myself – a female tech entrepreneur with a global vision – whom I wanted to be like when I grew up.
It was the 1990’s … in a small town in Turkey with limited resources… There was no role model for me, not in the papers, not on TV.
Since then, I have put this mission to empower girls and women in tech onto my own shoulders. I have worked for multinational tech companies at various levels in Ireland for 10 years now. No surprise, they were all male dominated places.
Not being able to see somebody like me – a woman with a different ethnic background – at management level always frustrated me. Eventually I thought, time is up, so I founded Diversein, a global diversity and inclusion platform. Today, I bring together people from different backgrounds to make equal and happier workplaces through our 18 ambassadors in 5 different countries.
If more women participated in the economy, it would add a new US and China to the world.
Build Your Professional Profile
Let’s face facts: we don’t have enough women in our workplaces, especially in industries like tech. Last month, I attended the “Levelling the Law for Women and Girls by 2030 Forum” by Global Citizens and UN Women in the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
South African actress, Pearl Thusi, gave a great example of gender imbalance at the forum when she said: “If more women participated in the economy, it would add a new US and China to the world .”
Big companies don’t like to share their numbers of female employees with different ethnic backgrounds because they are so shocking. The Irish media only focuses on gender imbalance too, not ethnicity.
The testimonials of friends and colleagues drive a better profile than my own words
Addressing these issues is what we are focusing on as we strongly believe that building awareness is the first step.
Building a professional profile as an entrepreneur can be challenging, however building a professional profile as an entrepreneur with a different ethnic background is even more challenging.
Here are some of the tactics I have used to build my personal profile, and that of my businesses, which may help you along the way.
Use your network
I am very grateful to have such an amazing network of friends and ex-colleagues around me who are positive and supportive. They believe in me and my professionalism. Therefore, their testimonials drive a better profile than my own words. The key point to building and maintaining your network is being authentically yourself and transparent in your actions.
I love this quote from Rumi: “What you seek is seeking you”. Positive people find each other and always move each other forward.
Good communication turns challenges into opportunities
Join, and play an active role in, professional organisations
Business organisations are the first step in spreading the word about your business. I cannot imagine a new business growing without organisations like them.
They provide you with a great platform to find your target customers, connect you with the right people and help you to grow. This is the magic formula.
I find listening to people’s stories in networking events very inspirational. You learn and share so much. I love this dynamic. I am currently an active member of Dublin Chamber of Commerce and I would encourage you to join a network or organisation that fits with your vision.
Most people haven’t seen an entrepreneur like me before and they have difficulties drawing a professional image for me. Therefore, I always make the first step and start a professional conversation. I strongly believe that good communication turns challenges into opportunities.
There is no doubt that social media plays a big role in building your professional profile as an entrepreneur as does how you communicate through your personal website or through blogging. By using these resources correctly they can add real value in raising your profile.
About Furkan Karayel
Awarded as a “Diversity and Inclusion Role Model in Business”, Furkan Karayel is Founder and Managing Director of Diversein.com, a global diversity and inclusion platform, is a software engineer and entrepreneur and is a strong women in tech ambassador. Appointed Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA), she leads the Dublin Chapter of Sprinters.co, a global network of diverse female entrepreneurs, and is a member of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.