Canan Piskin | Member Spotlight
Founding Member of WomenH2H, Executive Coach, Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder, Centered Coach working with Expat Executive Women.
When I was studying at university I went into the world of Contemporary Dance. Since then I indulge into Ballet and Contemporary Dance practices wherever possible. Either close to my office or my home. Recently I was participating in adult ballet classes in my neighborhood.
I enjoy new environments, cultures, and food. That’s why I really like to learn new languages and create food recipes. In addition to English as the educational language, I studied German, French, and Russian to a degree that I can talk with a taxi driver or find my way in the airports.
After working 20 years for global organizations, I decided to follow my passion and help executives, especially women to accelerate their success and enjoy a harmonious life.
I worked in global leading banks like BNP Paribas, Société Générale and HSBC establishing departments and structures from scratch. As a founding member of WomenH2H, I participate in its coaching faculty. I pro-bono coach NPOs.
As a Turkish citizen, I lived in UAE and Azerbaijan. Currently, I am running my Executive Coaching Business in London/UK. I studied Economics (METU) and MBA (Warwick).
When it comes to the role of women at work today, what inspires you and what keeps you up at night?
There is the importance of women with the inspiration, motivation and trust they radiate to the world. Still, I do not assign a specific role for women at work but as a human, serving to the best of the world. This is my driving force.
I ask myself: Have I been useful to anyone, facilitated an efficiency or changed the mindset of someone for good that things will be different form the point they met me?
What’s your goal around that and why is it important to you? Why is that a priority for you right now?
You all know the most simple and concise definition, economics is the study of how society uses its limited resources to maximize the benefit they get. Enjoyment is my goal in any area of life.
I try to maximize the enjoyment I get form activities I do. It is a collective enjoyment shared with the people I am surrounded by.
Be they are my family, my colleagues, my clients or my WomenH2H community.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve personally had as a woman at work? How did you try to overcome them?
The working environment for me did not change a bit since I started my professional life 26 years ago. I am a graduate of pioneer schools and it does not differ for me from a male colleague to perform the best and be one of the achievers. It may be due to the first job I took as an internal auditor in a bank. In those days, there were roughly 10 % of women on the board of auditors. We were traveling around the country and staying in hotels for long weeks. Maybe I can say carrying heavy luggage full of printed procedures that we will be referring to in our audits was the biggest challenge.
When I got married, I continued performing the job, never considering the fact that I am a woman and I have to outperform my male peers. Rather my goal is to always work with compassion and enjoy what I am doing.
Even as an advantage, changing the working environment frequently has strengthened my muscle to integrate into new environments and not to get stuck with challenges of changing life conditions. Therefore saying “Yes! I am in.” to challenges worked for me as a good way to overcome challenges.
Who or what would have made it easier? What do you wish you would have done then?
In the sphere of internal audit, there was a mode of working with a senior in your team. The senior auditor was guiding you on the technical side but more importantly the norms and expectations of the business world as well. After my audit life in corporate life, if I had hired a coach, my anticipation from life would have been clearer. I would not be trying to reinvent the wheel. Being coached by an experienced person as a trusted advisor, the career journey would have been easier or even possible for the ones, I was not able to achieve.
Definitely, the coaches I need would have changed during the course of my journey. That’s why when I started my coaching journey, I hired coaches as well.
Many women are overwhelmed by the constant changes at work, frustrated with conflicts or disheartened by office politics, drama and draining emotions. What have you done in the past to help you get through such moments?
In general, I am deemed as a person of a positive thinking mindset, calmness and wisdom. Still, in such negative environments, you have a distorted mind that you are driven by your negative talks and generally end up feeling as a victim. Whatever action you take will not serve for your good.
Creating a circle of sisterhood has been very useful for me. They are the people who are there for you to give guidance, calm you down or sometimes they just listen when you are whining.
Who do you follow on these subjects? Are there authors, influencers, leaders, sites, blogs you follow?
I am a great follower of Brene Brown. Grateful for such people that being vulnerable is no more considered as weakness. Yet more vulnerability requires being bald enough to share and equips you with further strength once you dare to be so.
For leading, the Book Quiet Leadership by David Rock has tremendous suggestions that you can easily implement in your work, in your daily life and family. For life lessons I enjoy reading Khalil Gibran’s timeless words, especially for parenthood and relationships. Like: “Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” Why is it important for women to be surrounded by other women and what is the role we play in each other’s lives?
The modern world that is trying to remove the gender gap has unfortunately ended up the fading away of our feminine energy. I am a firm believer in feminine energy and its potential of creating, beautifying and enjoyment.
The sister circles are safe places that we can emerge from with our feminine energy, be aware of our somatic intelligence potential and create a better world for humanity.
What activities could we do so that we master together how to get back our zest, thrive on change, lead with grace and confidence and co-create the beautiful workplaces we all long for?
When we come from our goal for enjoyment our departing point changes from getting rid of the fears, threats and problems converting into our assets, opportunities and how we can make the best use of our zest. Then we can start from a positive point and anything we achieve is a gift. Co-creation is a beautiful term that we feel the belonging to a community. In co-creation the more you contribute, the greater you feel accomplishment and experience the self-growth.
I had this feeling of a co-creation nest in our WomenH2H community. And our best is yet to come!
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