“You can’t be what you can’t see.” Is an adage that Ebru Özdemir, Chairwoman of Limak Holdings and Limak Foundation firmly believes in.
She also believes that solutions must adapt to the needs of local environments, so she created Global Engineer Girls (GEG), based on her 7-years experience with the Engineer Girls of Turkey, an initiative that endeavors to improve women’s representation in STEM fields, and along the way, prove that sustainable economic development can only be implemented with an inclusive approach.
In some locations GEG provides access to education; in others, employment support and internship opportunities. But generally, under the GEG, university engineering students, enrolled in computer, environmental, electrical-electronic, industrial, civil, chemical and mechanical engineering departments, receive support ranging from scholarships, mentoring by successful female professionals, take part in online training programs designed to promote professional and soft skills, such as English language, cover letters, job interview training, leadership etc. GEG also engages high schoolers to promote engineering as an area of higher education and professional development. GEG’s alumni network also engages with young girls to provide wholistic support to those with STEM aspirations.
- GEG operates in four countries as of 2023 (Turkey, Kuwait, North Macedonia and Kosovo), with plans to expand to more in upcoming years.
- GEG has supported710 female engineering students within the program from 2015 to 2022.
- 84% of university graduates (178 graduates in total) who participated the program secured full-time jobs, the vast majority of which were engineering roles, from 2015 to 2022.There is a network of more than 230 official mentors available to current students.
Özdemir earned bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Boğaziçi University and an MBA in International Business and Finance from Fordham University. She is on the Board of Executives and Board of Directors at the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK) and serves as Chairwoman of the DEİK/Turkey-Kuwait Business Council. Represented at the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council, she is a founding member and board member of Turkey’s 30 Percent Club, a voluntary platform aiming to develop a diverse and gender-balanced pool of talent for all businesses at all levels.