"It's an honor because MediaCat and Ad Age are prestigious media
groups in Turkey and globally and it's emotional for me because
it's the first [Women to Watch] in Turkey," said Aslı
Günaydın, media director of Unilever Turkey, Central Asia, Iran and
Israel. "Most of my colleagues within the Unilever team know that
it's globally a very big event so it makes me so proud to be a
Woman to Watch."
Ms. Günaydın noted that diversity, including gender
diversity, is a key agenda item that she's involved in at Unilever,
so she's especially proud to be recognized for her
The event also bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on
Betûl Mardin, one of the founders of the modern
public-relations industry in Turkey. Ms. Mardin, who lectures at
universities and remains honorary president of IMAGE, an agency she
established in 1987, was presented the award by her granddaughter
in a touching on-stage gesture.
"[Women to Watch] is a huge opportunity for the Turkish women
coming up. The literacy rates are still too low on the Turkish
women's side and they need a group of role models that will help
them pursue a better future. ... Fortunately in the advertising
sector we have a lot of smart women working and this sector enables
equal opportunities for both genders," said Y&R's Ms.
Honoree İlkay Gürpınar, chief creative officer at
TBWA, Istanbul (which
has been named Turkey's agency of the year for five years running)
acknowledged creative departments are still a place where women are
underrepresented -- and not just in Turkey. She encouraged women to
be ok "breaking things, disrupting things and making it up again.
... This creativity thing is a little about breaking things and
being a little naughty. Don't be afraid of going into new paths and
Honoree Demet İkiler in addition to running Group M in
Turkey as CEO, also works on Turkey's Gender Parity Project and
serves on a women's economic development committee at the World
Economic Forum, so for her the implications of the honor are all
"Women have a lot of support in the marketing and advertising
industry, unlike the rest of Turkey, so it's important that we
create role models. And this is what we're doing here -- there are
15 women from different backgrounds, different ages, doing
different jobs, but they all create a role model for the community
of young Turkish women. It makes a lot of sense."
Advertising Age will celebrate a new class of Women to Watch in
the U.S. in its June 3 issue (with an event August 1 in New York)
and will celebrate its inaugural Women to Watch in Brazil on August
28, with its local licensing partner, Meio & Mensagem. Ad Age's
Women to Watch will also return to China with an event in Shanghai
on November 7.