Calik Energy, Ankara, Turkey - Gorkem Ozkan

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Company: Calik Energy, Ankara, Turkey
Entry Submitted By: Hooper Consulting International
Company Description:One of the leading companies in Turkey, Çalik Enerji seeks to improve efficiency through a labor force of over 8,000 employees realizing the integration of businesses and services in Power Generation, Electricity Distribution, Oil and Natural Gas Upstream, Pipelines and Refinery.
Nomination Category:Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category:Female Executive of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa

Nomination Title: 'Double, double...' Gorkem Ozkan

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):


‘Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble'
-from William Shakespeare’s play “MacBeth”

In the play “MacBeth,” the three witches predict that Macbeth will one day become king and help prepare him for the honor. After Macbeth is crowned king, he returns to the witches several times to have them do their magic and predict the rest of his future.

Many of the characters in the play “double” as MacBeth, sometimes using disguises. Being disguised (or playing a different role, or representing the king) and hiding their true motives seemed to be the way many characters in this play achieved their goals.

# # #

When a person joins a company, they need to learn to “double” the values and behaviors of the company leaders. How is this accomplished?

DOUBLING the workforce is just one of the accomplishments of Gorkem Ozcan, Calik Energy’s masterful Human Resources Executive in 2014. She lived up to her name by creating a largely female team to target, qualify, hire, train, coach more than 2,000 male engineering professionals in just one year.

CHALLENGES: Energy projects in the hair-raising neighboring countries (Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Libya) were more than challenging for the Turkey-headquartered HR director. Recruiting mostly Turkish engineers to accept assignments on projects in those remote areas was no easy task. And keeping those employees there was a major feat.

OBSTACLES: The female team she led encountered difficulties that are typical for an electric power and distribution company with projects in some of the world’s toughest “hot spots” in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. With male engineers comprising 90% of the workforce, average age 37, largely coming from traditional Muslim tradition, she had to deal with closed-mindedness and deep prejudice against women in the workplace, particularly in management. To overcome this obstacle, she inspired the team to take a “sisterly” role with these men and made gradual changes – albeit in record time – to win their trust and respect. Her team implemented many initiatives and programs, highlighted by:

• RECRUITMENT - State-of-the-art recruiting programs and techniques were introduced to ascertain candidate aptitudes and psychological suitability for the tough assignments in the field. In 2014, 2,000+ people were hired…and retention was 50% greater than in 2013.
• HR ‘BUDDY PROGRAM’ to smooth the way for new workers as part of a fresh “My First Day at Calik” orientation program
• FREE TIME PROGRAMS in the field (where the men would work on projects for 6 months at a time, living in camps) with movie nights with popcorn and meals and discussion groups led by a psychologist, beach volleyball competitions in the dessert. These kinds of programs improved morale, developed communication and leadership skills … while offering a break from the monotony of work in the field.
• EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM for workers and their families – a first in the sector

As a result, employee satisfaction soared.

2014 KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS were equally remarkable. Under the sweet but tough management style of Calik’s HR Executive, the labor-intensive company:

• doubled in size
• doubled the number of projects
• doubled the number of people
• doubled the number of women

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):

Görkem Özkan has climbed the ladder to become Çalik Enerji ‘s most successful HR Director ever. In just 10 years, Gorkem applied her skills/expertise in Employee Relations, Benefit&Compensation Administration, Staffing, Training, Project Management to build a labor force that realized the company’s unparalleled growth – despite the 2008 global economic crisis and wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria.

Due to her stubborn/rebellious nature, Görkem was dubbed "goat" in her family. Rather than become a housewife, or a financier as urged by her father, she developed a passion for music playing flute. Performing in various countries exposed her to different cultures.

With two BS and two MS degrees in Human Resources, her intensive participation and management, Gorkem’s passion for HR is proving its practical benefits.