Like so many of our team, Dilek has impressive experience in the Customer Management BPO industry, including roles in project and operations management, and experience with high-profile global brands such as HSBC.
We persuaded Dilek to take some time away from sales and tenders in order to talk about her career and advice for others. She told us about her role at Comdata, her strong belief in diversity and inclusion, pride in what Comdata is doing to promote these, and advice for other people in the industry.
Can you tell us about your role and achievements at Comdata?
Comdata’s presence and profile in Turkey is growing fast, so my role of leading the tender and sales processes is very busy. It’s an exciting time to do this job at Comdata, and I love being in sales management for a company that is global. It means I have a real sense of vision and ambition in my work and that’s very energizing.
I’ve been working in the call center industry for almost 21 years, and when I joined Comdata Turkey in 2018, I transferred all of my personal networking strategies to my role. I’ve achieved some very positive results from doing this, including bringing some of the world’s largest brands in aviation, retail, and finance sectors into the Comdata Turkey portfolio. I’m very proud of that achievement.
What has been your career journey to get to your current role?
I started as a customer representative in the call center industry and worked as an Operations Manager in the industry for many years. Through this experience, I mastered call center dynamics, which helped me to fully understand customers’ expectations.
I have used this experience very effectively by moving to the sales side of this business, adding value to both myself and the company.
Having worked in both operations and sales, you bring a very wider perspective of the industry and of different companies; what’s been your experience in terms of diversity and gender equality in this industry?
Certainly in the past, there was a higher proportion of men than women, and particularly in sales. But in the past five years, the ratio of women and men has become much more equal, and I believe it is reaching a good balance.
Have you yourself seen any problems around gender equality?
Personally, no, I haven’t experienced any issues around equality or diversity or gender in my career since I have always worked in very pioneering and progressive companies in the call center industry. At Comdata, there’s strong and genuine support for equality and diversity, and I’m proud that a diverse and inclusive workforce is considered important across the company.
Can you give any examples of the successes on diversity and inclusion at Comdata?
The Women@Comdata initiative is the obvious example here; the management team at Comdata have always said that diversity and inclusion make the company stronger, and this is a great example of putting their beliefs into action. I’m excited about the initiative and what it can achieve, so I am very pleased to be an ambassador for that in Turkey.
Another example of Comdata’s success on diversity and inclusion can be seen in our numbers in Turkey, and this was clear in the quantitative study of gender diversity and inclusion we did for Women@Comdata. Here in Turkey, we have a gender ratio well ahead of many big companies with our 70% female employee ratio, and we lead these issues in our sector.
Do you have any views on how to promote better diversity at work?
I think that here in Turkey, one significant issue is that so many women quit business life after having children. If regulations and support relating to childcare were improved, many more women would return to work.
So that’s one step, I think the other important issue we need to address is to create job opportunities for women over a certain age.
Finally, Dilek, you’ve achieved plenty of success and progression in your own career, so what’s your advice to younger women in Customer Management BPO or other jobs?
Even in places in the world where equality between women and men is still at the discussion side, and perhaps not yet fully achieved, women can turn this line of business into an advantage for themselves. What I mean is, thanks to the flexible working patterns in the call center industry, women can be productive both while caring for their children and in the business world. Think about it, this is an industry where 70% of employees are women: it means it’s possible for a female employee to move up the career ladder among those who can provide high-quality service by using their communication skills. This sector offers women good opportunities and they should make the most of them.
But my most important advice for young people is that they should take up this job seriously. Once they meet certain criteria, they are eligible to move into higher-level roles. In this way, I believe that they will climb the career ladder and be successful in their work.
I am one of those who believe that there should be no age limit in our industry. And we see very successful examples of this: a woman who starts in the sector as a customer representative can move towards her career goals very quickly, in parallel with the fact that the sector supports women’s employment and is also growing rapidly. So, it’s a sector where a woman can start out at the beginning of her career and work confidently and make good progress right through to retirement age. That makes it a very advantageous and attractive career for women.