World Business Leaders: Güler Sabanci


Güler Sabancı, Turkish businesswoman
Photo by World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons

Marina Santee and Steve Myersco look at Güler Sabanci, a business and community leader from Turkey. She shows that women can be an important force in business.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Hello and welcome to Spotlight. I’m Marina Santee,

Voice 2

And I’m Steve Myersco. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Istanbul is the fifth largest city in the world. Over the past 2000 years it has played an important part in history. It has been the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Today it is part of Turkey. It is at the centre of the country’s economy. One of the companies leading the growth in Turkey’s economy is Sabanci Holdings. Over the past 70 years Sabanci has grown to become Turkey’s biggest family business. The centre of its business is in Istanbul. But it employs about 50,000 people around the world. It is involved in many different industries, including banking, car making, hotels and much more. It works with some of the world’s biggest businesses, including Citigroup, Toyota and Hilton.

Voice 2

But Sabanci is not only known for its business success. The Sabanci Foundation is an organisation that gives away the money created by Sabanci Holdings. It gives money to many different projects in Turkey. And directing all of this is one person - a woman named Güler Sabanci. She is the head of both Sabanci Holdings and the Sabanci Foundation. She has been praised for both her business skills and her work in helping other people.

Voice 1

Today’s Spotlight is one of a group of programmes looking at some of the world’s top business leaders. Today’s programme looks at the life of Güler Sabanci. We look at the work she does and the ideas she has to help other people who are hoping to do well in business.

Voice 2

Güler Sabanci comes from a family of successful businessmen. Her grandfather, Haci Omer Sabanci established the family’s first business. He died in 1966. And then his son, Sakip took over the company. Sakip Sabanci developed the company. He made it one of the biggest in Turkey. He led the company until he died in 2004. Before Sakip died, he had to decide who he wanted to take control of the business. Everyone expected him to choose one of his brothers. But Sakip did something unusual. He chose his brother's daughter. This was a surprise decision. But Sakip knew that his niece, Güler, was the right person for this job.

Voice 1

This was an unusual decision, not only in his country but also in the business world. Most of the powerful business leaders in the world are men. But Güler Sabanci says that your gender - your sex - should not affect your success at business.

Voice 3

‘The issue of gender in business is not only in my country. It is all around the world. We should not concentrate on gender. We should concentrate on results, on targets, on the projects, and the achievements. Then we will see gender as less of an issue.’

Voice 2

Güler Sabanci has shown that she is able to be successful in the business world. In 2009, an international newspaper, created a list of the world’s top business women. The ‘Financial Times’ placed Güler Sabanci at number five. Another business magazine said she was the 27th most powerful woman in the world.

Voice 1

Güler Sabanci has grown and developed the company. She is well-respected as a business leader. So what does she think is the secret to success? She tells people who are starting in business to remember three important things.

Voice 3

‘First, have experienced advisers. Second, use your advisers to help decide what you want. And third, do not concentrate on how rich and important you may be - just work. To enjoy what you are doing, you need to concentrate on what you are doing. Think more seriously about what you do than you do about yourself.’

Voice 2

Güler also spends much of her time working for the Sabanci Foundation. This organisation works to give away some of the Sabanci company’s wealth. Güler’s uncle, Sakip established the organisation in 1974. He established it with one main purpose – “to share what we have gained from this land with its people”.

Voice 1

In May 2009, Güler Sabanci was awarded a special prize. It was for the work she was doing through the Sabanci Foundation. She beat many other people from around Europe win to the prize. One of the judges for the award said,

Voice 4

‘During her working life, Ms Sabanci has given a lot of money to important work in Turkey. She has given to work in the areas of education, culture and the arts, and the empowerment of women in the Turkish economy. The main aim of our prize is to recognize individuals or organisations that really make a difference to people’s lives. Ms Sabanci has a rare gift - she is able to turn dreams and hopes into real results. These have had a positive effect on the lives of so many people. Our jury felt that this exactly fitted the aims of our prize.’

Voice 2

The Sabanci Foundation gives money towards a number of different projects in Turkey. Some money supports art and culture projects in the country. Some helps people to pay for education. In the 1990s the Sabanci Foundation even established a new university - the Sabanci University. This aims to give students a wide education. It prepares them to help change the world.

Voice 1

The Foundation also gives towards projects that encourage social change. One of its newest projects is a television programme. The programme is called ‘Turkey’s Changemakers’. It tells the stories of normal people who are helping to change the lives of others around them. Güler Sabanci says this is a good example of the important work that the Sabanci Foundation does.

Voice 3

'35 years ago, the Sabanci Foundation began its work. It aimed to make a difference in people’s lives. We continue to do this by giving about 40 million dollars a year. In 2008 we started a new set of projects. We gave money to projects that helped give equal rights to young people, women and people with disabilities. “Turkey’s Changemakers” is the newest part of our group of projects. This project will tell the stories of people who are making a difference in the lives of others from all across Turkey.'

Voice 2

Güler Sabanci is helping many people across Turkey. She does this through both the company and the foundation that share her name. But she is she is also encouraging other people to work for change in their communities. She is showing that you do not need to be a successful international businessperson to do that.

Voice 1

The writer and producer of today’s programme was Steve Myersco. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. This programme is called “World Business Leaders: Güler Sabanci”. Thank you for listening today, goodbye.

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Question:

Is there a business leader you admire? Why do you admire them?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
bamfg
said on May 13, 2019

I encourage women to do their part in the community, they should be treated equally.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on May 16, 2019

There are some business leaders in Brazil that I admire, but I think Antônio Ermírio de Morais was the most important example of leadership and vision of the future in our country. He managed to control the family business, Votoratim, and turned it into an empire, despite the fact that the Brazilian economy was weak, weak and weak ...