Born and raised in Turkey, Cigdem Duru wasn’t always sure that her professional path would lead her to the other side of the world. She grew up playing tennis for the Turkish National Tennis Team, eventually landing her a scholarship with the NCAA to play at Purdue University in the U.S. This kicked off her transformational journey into a new country and culture. At the time she wasn’t the most comfortable with her English, yet her collegiate tennis team was supportive and helpful in growing her English skills during her time at the university.
She went on to graduate from Purdue in 2009, moving back to Turkey afterwards. She went on to land a job with Procter and Gamble in Turkey… and has now been with the company for a little over 12 years.
“With P&G I’ve lived in various different countries, and have worked in different areas of the company as well. The beauty of P&G is that they have a culture called ‘grow from within’, and so talent growth is nurtured with the organization. It is encouraged to change roles every few years; I try to step into different and diverse roles, across different locations. Thanks to this culture, I’ve been able to work from manufacturing all the way to the customer side.
Cigdem cites that this has helped her diversify her leadership, and is a big believer that being exposed to different challenges can be a competitive advantage. She doesn’t see being different as a con. She sees it, in fact, as a superpower, to be exposed to different aspects of Supply Chain endows her to have a diversified set of expertise and core values that she built over the years, which establishes her to be a prominent leader in the organization.
This mindset translated well into her experience with The Brand Leadership Institute, a program built around empowering female leadership across one’s entire life. A Fall 2022 cohort participant, Cigdem was nominated by her P&G Leadership team. It came at the perfect time in her career, about one year after a promotion into a Director role.
“My goal in my professional life is to become an inspirational C-level leader who can lead broader organizations to overcome challenges and deliver breakthrough results. When I first started the BLI Program, I knew a lot of the technical things and the ‘right things’ to do to advance in my career, but I didn’t grasp the full package – your own self brand. The BLI really helped me to put all of the pieces together to start building my own brand.”
Beyond guiding her professional goals and aspirations, the program also helped open up her mindset around some personal decisions she had been struggling with. At the time, Cigdem and her spouse had recently settled down in Rhode Island, and were debating the decision to grow their family or not. Some of the exercises and tools within the 12 weeks of the program helped her to slow down, and take time to become clear on what was important.
“The biggest win for me – and the hardest thing across the 6 months – was building my MVP (Mission, Vision, and Purpose). As women, we rarely stop and ask ourselves, what do we really want? This forced me to do that. I actually took a few days off from work to be alone and really think about it. Once I built out my MVP, it really became clear to me what I wanted overall, across my whole life. and from that point on things started to become easier. I knew what I wanted, and how I wanted to be perceived, and that was a big shift for me.”
“Now, as a multicultural female, I know how to build and nurture my brand, while working within a company that builds the best brands. I feel fully synchronized, and I’m a lot more confident.”
Cigdem is happily married, has a German Shepherd dog, and welcomed their first child this summer. She looks forward to stepping into this new stage of her life where she will discover how growing a family will help her to continue to grow both personally and professionally.