How harmony creates success
International Women’s Day Spotlight on IMCD Türkiye Managing Director Aylin Zakuto
Wednesday 8 March marks UN International Women’s Day. IMCD supports the initiative and celebrates women’s and girls' social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. An excellent occasion to reach out to Aylin Zakuto, Managing Director of IMCD Türkiye and talk about how she is successfully navigating her team and the company through extremely challenging times.
In difficult times, a participative leader can turn things around
Aylin Zakuto joined IMCD in 2008 as Sales Manager Pharmaceuticals. In less than a year she was promoted to Business Unit Manager, Pharma and Personal Care. After 5 successful years, she allowed herself an incredibly effective break. When she returned, her perspective on business life changed. She understood the importance of maintaining a balance between work and private life, mastered the ability to transform difficulties into opportunities and gained an appreciation of the added value of diversity and equality.
Aylin accepted the challenging role of International Product Manager, but when the opportunity of becoming the next Managing Director of IMCD Türkiye presented itself, she threw her hat into the ring.
Three years ago, in the middle of the global pandemic, Aylin started as Managing Director for IMCD Türkiye. Since then, she has been constantly facing economic difficulties, hyperinflation and rapid devaluation. Recently, on February 6, a powerful, 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated southeast Türkiye; the grief and shock are still unimaginable. Yet, despite these extremely difficult circumstances, the company’s results continue to impress.
Do not focus on things which are beyond your control
Aylin Zakuto is an energetic and determined senior leader. Her extensive commercial experience taught her how to analyze quickly and take the necessary actions. Skills were much needed in the early morning of February 6, when the news of the Earthquake broke. Aylin consulted with her team, sent out a communication to establish the well-being of employees and their relatives and reached out to customers and suppliers.
“Let’s not focus on things which are beyond our control but act now. This does not mean we are not aware of the broader picture, or that we are insensitive to the emotions, pain, and uncertainty, but we must remain focused in order to have a positive impact.”
“IMCD is a company of partnerships. The relationships with customers, suppliers and employees are valuable and well looked after. Ninety-five people work at IMCD Türkiye and all of them are affected and in shock. Coming together, sharing and offering help is a powerful features of Turkish culture.
As Managing Director, my role is to offer this facility, but also to stay in control and move on to the next phase of action. Our business is severely impacted. We are currently conducting a thorough analysis and risk assessment, determining how we can help our customers and suppliers; keeping the business running and picking up on daily routines is important to stabilize the business.”
International Women’s Day at IMCD Türkiye
“Our celebrations of International Women’s Day will be modest, but we will honour the female employees. The contribution of women to our business success is significant, 63% of our workforce is female. We attract talent regardless of gender, cultural background or religion; qualifications and personality are what counts. We focus on individual needs for effective development, so I believe, without specifically realizing it, that we are already aligned with this year’s theme of equity.”
We will continue to build on strong partnerships
“Going forward we will support our customers, suppliers, and employees in the best way we can. Business is volatile and it is impossible to predict the future, but we will continue to offer strong business and human support”. Working together on long-term CSR projects and providing immediate support - in the form of blankets, heaters and food - is what creates unity. Together with the educational volunteers' foundation of Türkiye (TGEV), the IMCD Cares Firefly Science Truck project was launched in 2022 to tour village schools around Türkiye and introduce science to children from economically challenged backgrounds. Today, in these new circumstances, the trucks will not stay confined to base but travel to the areas affected by the earthquake to welcome children to a safe place for a couple of hours of sharing and learning”.
We would like to conclude by sharing Aylin’s favourite quote: