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J&J Women in Spotlight - Cigdem Tek, Global Director SMP | Fairygodboss
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Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Join the conversation...
Kristen Von Seggern
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88
Partnership Management of J&J Supply Chain
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I love the quote from Rumi! "You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life" - very inspirational! Thank you for sharing with us Cigdem!
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: What advice would you give to a woman wanting to pursue a career in STEM2D? A: The economic and social survival of the world lies with the women entering into STEM2D fields. We need to make sure we raise this awareness early, during childhood, to help build confidence in the early life. I would suggest to all women to not adjust their aspirations as they find it difficult to juggle between the many responsibilities they have in life, but challenge the status-quo, persevere, stay connected with like-minded people, nurture sisterhood at the workplace, and never give up asking for help. When it comes to asking for support, I realize this is harder for a woman to do as she finds herself in the position of helping and supporting most of the time. I would like to finish with one of my most favorite quotes of Rumi, “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life”.
Anonymous
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yes yes yes!
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: Along your career journey are there any cross-roads you faced where you made a career decision that had a major impact on the level of success you have achieved? A: Many! I can start with one of the first ones, which happened in the very early days of my career; literally a few days after I started to work as a product engineer. I was given a very big responsibility, in a very sudden way. It was related to an important brand launch activity in the region which required to produce shower gels of very complex formulations. I was sent to the factory, which I did not even know where it was before, to do the trials over the weekend. On Saturday, I failed badly. We had to throw away tons of product. On Sunday, not only did I failed badly again, but I was convinced I had no idea how to do it. Plus, I broke the shaft of the mixer that produces the products. To explain better, that meant they could not produce anything in the factory until it was fixed. Because of this failure the brand launch had to be postponed. On Monday, I was ready to give my resignation, however the management team took full responsibility and helped me in the process which became a big awakening moment for me. This was the turning point in my career. I said to myself, Cigdem you have to know your products well and you have to know the capabilities of your manufacturing facilities even better! You have to know what you are doing very well and make sure you take all the steps to get there! Learn, ask, collaborate and share. This big commitment was highly visible, and I have had a great career for many years
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for women in STEM2D and how have you overcome that? A: Stereotyping is the by far the biggest obstacle. To date, I still observe hesitations in the looks /comments if a woman makes a point or a suggestion regarding anything related with technology or engineering. Obviously, it is getting much better with time. The only way out is education, bringing the awareness, constant focus and hard work. Education across the genders is essential to address the stereotyping and to stop down grading the expectations. I can say the majority of my efforts were about this during the earlier years of my career. I was working extremely hard to be recognized, I was not giving up when I was looked down even though my progress was slower than I would have liked. I was very motivated to prove myself, so it was only pushing me to work even more. I am afraid though that we are still in a time (and will be for a while) when women will have to work a bit harder and need to be more self-motivated, but we owe this to our future generations. We need to prepare an easier path for them to follow. Another big obstacle is not having enough flexibility when it comes to carrying out home and work responsibilities due to long work hour schedules, not being able to work from home, not being able to have periods off from work while raising a baby, taking care of an elderly family member, or for any other family reason. In large, socially committed companies like J&J, we are very lucky in that sense but unfortunately for the majority of the female workforce in the world this is still the large barrier. They do not pursue higher career aspirations or withdraw themselves from the workforce in the absence of that flexibility. It is sad to see a lot of highly skilled, high potential women convincing themselves that they need to readjust their aspirations just because they are women. Privileged women like ourselves have big responsibilities on our shoulders to take those barriers down, to design work taking this basic human right into consideration, and to build strong bridges between the less fortunate and fortunate ones.
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of? A: Between 2000-2010, I was the first woman working across the factories in Middle East countries. Not only working but at the same time influencing the investment decisions, changing the infrastructures, ways of working and recognition of women’s engineering skills and capabilities. This recognition was instrumental in establishing a new organization across Turkey, Middle East, Africa and Russia while supporting the build of a global organization on manufacturing process development. Now, looking back, I think this was the start of a series of big accomplishments (none of which came easy). Every big challenge increased my confidence which then led me to bigger opportunities and steps in my career. I was given the responsibility to design 3 new personal care factories with a team I was asked to bring together. This achievement then opened another door and I was asked to join the global leadership team in the UK, as the first woman to leading the process and technology department in the history of that organization. I was also the only non-British person on the leadership team. Grit and resilience are the two big levers I hold on to, which have never failed me. Today, in my current role, I am also the only woman sitting on my leadership team
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: Why do you believe it’s important to have more women working in STEM2D? A: It is women who bear most of the responsibility for holding societies together, be it at home, in health care, at school or in caring for the elderly. To accelerate the development and growth of the society of women, they have to be educated and provided support in developing their careers in STEM fields. The need to have the woman in these fields in massive. The recent pandemic has been a big test for the world, and we have seen that most of the frontline workforce has been identified as woman. While doing their jobs they took care of their families. In every corner of society and industry we have seen woman taking on more and more responsibilities. The more women enter the STEM fields, the more job opportunities they would have which means a better social and financial status. Women can then help secure the health and wellbeing of future generations as well as their on-going education. As we include more women in STEM2D teams, the rate of innovation would certainly increase providing more diverse solutions for a more sustainable future.
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: Looking back what or who inspired you to pursue a STEM2D career? A: I think it all happened in a very natural way. I loved Math. It was another reason to play with my Dad, who also excelled in the subject. He turned Math into games for me in my early childhood which built a strong link to STEM subjects later in my education. Also, I was influenced by my Mom`s stories of the past while she was a Blue-Collar worker in a Pharmaceutical company at a very young age. She was always telling me how impressed she was by the female engineer who was the head of the department she was working in. I feel those stories had an unconscious impact on my choices later in life. I studied Math and Chemical Engineering at the Bosphorous University in Istanbul, Turkey, then continuing my graduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the University of Maine and Virginia Tech in the United States.
Catherine Feather
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End to End supply chain leader
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I love this, the natural progression of becoming an engineer!
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: What did you do prior to joining J&J? A: Prior to J&J, I worked for Unilever at their regional and global centers. I had responsibilities and roles ranging across R&D and Supply Chain, for 15 years. I wanted to use my engineering background in all the roles I had and have been privileged to take part in, and lead, many outstanding projects like designing and building capability and technology centers, designing and building pilot plants and factories, leading and executing new innovations, defining new product portfolios, building partnerships and many more. Before Unilever, I also worked at different corporations for a couple of years in Turkey, where I am from, including P&G for about one year. In total I have around 20 years of experience as a chemical engineer and as a leader in business.
Mitra Hummer
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271
Experienced Supply Chain Professional
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Q: Please share your current role and career path in J&J A: As of January 2020, in the Consumer Sector, we have been quite busy building a new organization called Manufacturing Sciences and Technology. I am working as the Global Technical Excellence Director supporting this organization and the overall strategy linked with the MAKE and Supply Chain strategies within the Consumer sector. It is an amazing experience to structure new teams, linking them together, defining the priorities and focus areas, all while building a sense of belonging, communication channels, and recognition platforms along with creating and enforcing a positive work culture. The fact that all of this has happened during a global pandemic has been an extra challenge which forced us to think and act differently; I guess we are all developing and growing at a rate unimagined before. Prior to this new role, my roots in J&J are quite young as I was recruited to establish a global manufacturing process /technology development center under the former SMP (Support to Marketed Products) function only one year ago. As soon as I joined and completed my onboarding, the consumer organization began a global transformation which resulted in a lot of change. I must admit it was quite a big shock for me, as one typically doesn’t join a new organization only to find out that your department is being dissolved into many parts. Like many challenges in life, it turned into a big opportunity to grow resiliency in an ambiguous environment, to establish new linkages to define my next steps, and to land in a new role
User edited comment on 09/08/20 at 7:28AM UTC
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