LEAD Turkey Chapter Networking Event


February 7th 2019



Murat Yesildere, Managing Partner at the consulting firm Egon Zehnder, was the guest at the LEAD Network Turkey Chapter meeting on February 7th. He spoke about gender equality, leadership and unconscious bias, and increasing the number of female Board Members in publicly traded companies.

“Gender equality can only be achieved by increasing men’s awareness of the issue,” said Yesildere, and added: “We, forty men, founded a new association called ‘Yanındayız’ (We stand By). Our President and Advisory Committee are all women. We aim to achieve gender equality through this association.”

Yesildere pointed out the importance of increasing the number of female board members in publicly traded companies. There are approximately 2800 board members in 400 publicly traded companies in Turkey today and 85%  is male.

When they compared male board members with female candidates in the pipeline, they couldn’t find any significant difference in ability and capability.

Female board members perform above expectations: “Research shows that women perform not at 100% but at 110%. And here lies the difference between men and women. While women struggle talking about their performance, men are great at selling their story.”

Yesildere said that demand is one problem but we also have to work at supply. “Men’s unconscious bias has been woven into their DNA. We have to fix this. And I believe that fixing sexist language is the first step towards that.”

“Global research shows that men feel that they are capable of doing a job if they meet 60% of the requirements, whereas women feel they have to meet 100% of the requirements to do the same job. And even then, women wait to be chosen instead of raising their hands for that job.”

“I’ve come across an article on 4 rules of happiness. The 4th rule is wearing sunglasses. The author says that when you’re not wearing sunglasses on a sunny day, you squint your eyes and when you do, your brain gets the message ‘there is something to be unhappy about’ and starts to worry. The brain works as simple as that. In that simplicity, if you start verbalizing negativities and hesitate when you’re up against a difficulty, your brain adjusts all the following steps based on those negativities. As a result, you end up taking smaller steps towards your goals instead of bolder moves. Your brain functions on unconscious biases – – but, do not let those run your life!”

“We have to manage ourselves, our personal brands, just like we manage the brands we work for. Don’t let go of your curiosity and desire for learning; seek diverse feedback often and objectively evaluate the feedback you get to understand yourself better; manage your emotional energy and be persistent.”