On May 15, Herrick, Feinstein LLP hosted "How I Succeeded," a conference on Turkish-American entrepreneurship. The event was a true intention to share the inspirational success stories of Turkish-Americans in the U.S. with everyone else in the business world and academia. The seven inspirational speakers of the event -- Ekmel Anda, Haldun Tashman, Varol Ablak, Mustafa Merc, Ulku Rowe, Mustafa Abadan and Melih Abdulhayaloglu -- shared their success stories in the United States. Referring to the assets, education, hard work, fortuitous events, work ethics and everything else in between that brought them success; the speakers also mentioned that one key thing to each one of them that made the difference for them in paving their ways to triumph. Each speaker focused on a different sector in which they participated in, ranging from jewelry to finance and architecture to technology.
The conference proceeded with Cemil Ozyurts' speech. One of the founders and editor-in-chief of the first Turkish-American nationwide business magazine, TurkofAmerica, Cemil was enthusiastic in making the conference a reality and to bring the myriad people present in the room, the success stories of some of the most inspirational Turks in America.
Barbaros Karaahmet, representing Herrick, Feinstein LLP in the conference as the managing partner of Herrick's' Istanbul Office, welcoming everyone, exemplified another success story as an outstanding lawyer who works with numerous Turkish and American companies and brands helping them establish businesses in the U.S. and in Turkey. Herrick and Barbaros demonstrated the ultimate model of how these successful individuals are "bridges" between Turkey and the U.S. The work undertaken by the aforementioned individuals and the companies they are associated with help benefit both countries in diverse sectors and means. Herrick's representation of the Turkish Republic, going back many years, in their efforts to recover the famous Lydian Hoard Treasure that has long been held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (a collection of 1800 ancient Greek and Lycian Coins renowned as Elmali Sikkeleri) could be reckoned as an outright demonstration of such work.
Ekmel Anda was one of the most popular speakers of the event. One could easily call Anda's story a true American dream. Anda follows a family friend in to the U.S. assuming that he would be giving out newspapers, as he misinterprets the word "gas station" in Turkish to mean "newspaper business," when he instead ends up at a gas station pumping gas. In the intersection of hard work and luck, however, Anda soon enters the jewelry business after working at a bookstore and not much later opens his very own jewelry store. For a substantial amount of time, he owns one-third of all the jewelry stores on New York's Diamond District. Today, Anda possesses Unique Settings of New York, a successful jewelry company that he continues to grow in profits.
Another speaker, Melih Abdulhayaloglu, CEO of Comodo, an internet security company, highlighted one of the major challenges in today's global world of the Internet as he made remarks on how to progress forward without giving up on security as we continue to use the Internet. Responding to the change and the challenges of this fresh realm of technology Melih's vision is motivating; "Human potential unleashed through a Trusted Internet."
One of the most exceptional and distinctive speakers who deserves special attention as the only woman speaker at the conference was Ulku Rowe. Ulku is the living proof of how successful one can become in the rough world of finance even as a woman, a mother and a Turk living in the U.S. Her success story, beginning in one of Istanbul's prominent girl schools and ongoing today at J.P. Morgan in New York, put into words as sincere as it could possibly be a demonstration of real challenges and the ways to overcome those in the most influential way.
Mustafa Abadan is the mind behind some of the renowned architectural projects such as the Time Warner Center and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. His inspiring architectural accomplishments made every Turk listening to his speech in the room proud. As a talented architect, Abadan is a design partner in Skidmore, Owings & Merill LLP. Many of Abadan's projects have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, Architectural Review, Progressive Architecture and Chicago Athenaeum. Mustafa Merc, on the other hand, contributed to the conference as another successful businessman and entrepreneur as the general manager of Turkon America. Turkon USA is a line that provides cargo and logistics services is successful company with a large share in the sector.
Varol Ablak, who epitomized the true entrepreneur, as the CEO and owner of more than 100 Vocelli Pizza stores, is getting ready these days to take over the coffee franchise business with his new acquisition: Rockn' Joe. Ablak's' story highlighted the key factors behind real business expenditure and served as a role model for countless young Turkish entrepreneurs present at the conference on Thursday.
Further, Haldun Tashman, founding board member of Turkish Philanthropy Funds, contributed to the conference with a significant concept that is as imperative as accomplishment in business: giving back to the community. Tashmans' speech was noteworthy as he talked about why to give back and proved how successful a project can be in helping ones' home country even when that person is away from home, especially at a time when Turkey is mourning over the deaths at Soma.
All the speeches and contributing speakers assembled a perfect image of the Turkish community in the U.S., exhibiting the outstanding positions Turks were holding in myriad different sectors and leading businesses in the U.S. The event showcased support for the Turkish American community's success and unquestionably dissipated inspiration to the new generation.