Women with superpowers/3
MARTİNA PAVONE (ONAR’S CEO) endorsed by Siga Dabulskyte
– Tell us about you and one of your (last) crazy ideas.
I was born in Italy but I feel more like a citizen of the world. My background is from music and theater education, so I became a professional performer. I started to work when I was just 16 years old and I always tried to use my energy and my passion for life and people in a positive way. I’ve been working with corporates as a trainer/facilitator on matters like leadership, communication, team building, change etc using my own method of applied improvisation called “let’s improv to improve”. I also travel the world with my #improVVocal training program. I collaborate with Eser Taşkıran for professional musical projects and with BKM Mutfak for the “What Can I do sometimes” Comedy Show. I am the Director of Istanbul International A Cappella Choir. On the other hand I’ve always been involved in Civil Society from a cultural and social point of view aiming to be part of a positive change. I am a board member of Circolo Roma Istanbul, NGO for Italians and Italian Culture in Istanbul. As co-founder and CEO of Onar Istanbul, now my main mission is raising the voice of women in every part of society and helping them to see their true colour, finding their real voice or their very special talent and superpowers and opening the eyes of people towards a new modern way of seeing feminism from an inclusive perspective open to a real collaboration and conversation with men. My last crazy idea is to travel through Turkey meeting women and work with them on a special program to raise their Woice symbolically through a sort of a coaching program but also technically working on their real voice capable of express their real self with their emotions and dreams that will become goals and will make a change for us all.
-What is the first image you have thinking to Istanbul?
The Bosphorus is the first image that comes to my mind. It represents the charm of this place. With its movements it reminds me the Eraclito’s principles of “panta rei”, everything flows, where we always have a movement, pure energy flowing, then it’s up to us catching it or not, we always have a choice. It also has different color gradations, different shades of blue, like the different colours of Istanbul. It can hide different stories, where the entire worlds is passing through, where the history was made, with the power of connecting differences and parts. We have so many common things me, Istanbul and the Bosphorous, maybe this is the reason why I feel that much connected with it, like a special ancient bond. I hear the voice of the Bosphorous as a special call in a crazy chaos that now I call Home.
-So what is your superpower?
My superpower is my energy that i put in whatever I do and I share with people who need it or people who are asking for it. It could be through inspiring communication, it could be through performative arts, it could be through the writing, the coaching or through the teaching. For me those are just tools. I find it very close to the concept of love itself, it’s a kind of a life mission. I don’t like when people are trying to put a tag on me, my persona doesn’t fit that standard of labels, but if that is so much important to you, then you can call me: love-energy giver!
-Which woman do you endorse next for Onar’s interview?
I endorse Itır Erhart, a woman I admire a lot as a Woman, as a professional, as a Wife, as a mother, as a Changemaker, as a Leader. She is what feminism icon should look like in 2017 from my point of view. An outstanding Turkish muse.
– Tell us about you and what is one thing you are proud of having done.
My name is Itır Erhart. I’m 41. I have a 10 year old daughter and a 3 year old cat. I’ve been working at Istanbul Bilgi University since 2001 giving courses on gender, sports, human rights and media.
I have been running half marathons, marathons and ultra marathons and raising funds for national and international NGOs since 2004. I am co-founder of Adım Adım (Step by Step)–Turkey’s first charity running group with 27,000 members who raised 23 million Turkish Lira over 10 years for 30 NGOs. I am very proud to running with these amazing men and women.
– What do you think about collaboration among women?
Women still face discrimination and prejudice. They are often discouraged from entering fields like science and technology which are still considered masculine by many. Likewise they are discouraged from playing “masculine” sports like football. Some are completely trapped in the private sphere, overburdened by domestic chores. That is why I find absolutely necessary for women to collaborate, encourage and empower each other. If only women and young girls are exposed to and get together with role models who made it in the masculine world can they believe that they have a chance too.
– Now then, what is your superpower?
Oh well, I guess not having any superpowers but being super-stubborn and super-determined.
– Which woman do you endorse?
– Tell us about you and your…Many projects!
I am originally from Germany, but have lived abroad since my early twenties. I first studied in London (back then I was a journalist :), then the US, where I spent over 10 years (including my second Master’s in Ayurvedic Medicine, and my apprenticeship with the famous Ayurvedic doctor, Dr. Vasant Lad, in Albuquerque, New Mexico), before coming to Turkey in 2010. Here, I founded my own company, Ulli Ayurveda, where I do Ayurvedic health consulting, lead detox programs, retreats, cooking workshops and Ayurvedic training programs.
Later this spring also my first book on Ayurveda will be published with Doğan Publishing in Turkish, and I am very excited about that. I am also working on an Ayurvedic cooking application for mobile phones with over 70 recipes available in English and Turkish. It will be launched at the same time as my book, in May.
– What is your relation with Istanbul?
There are two cities in the world so far where, every time I land by plane, my heart starts beating faster. They are New York and Istanbul. From the moment I first visited in 2000 until now, I have a special relationship with Istanbul. I love the mix of different cultures, the ancient relics, history and its modern face. And of course the Bosphorus. For me there is nothing more relaxing than taking the boat and sipping a Turkish tea, gazing out over the water and watching or feeding the seagulls.
In many ways I also love the chaos, the liveliness in this city. Life takes place in the streets, in cafes, fish restaurants, by the water, I love this.
I also love my neighborhood, Moda. It really is still a mahalle, where the local grocer knows my name and what vegetables I like or the local tea shop where I sit in the mornings and a tea is brought even before I order. These intimate everyday interactions are very important to me.
– So, what is your superpower?
I am often told that I have magic hands, when it comes to preparing food or also herbal remedies, spice mixtures, and massage oils. I sometimes feel like a modern witch
I also very much enjoy inspiring people through my teachings and seminars, and never run out of ideas on how to better make Ayurveda known in Turkey.
– Which woman do you endorse next?
I would like to endorse my friend Nur Sakalli, the owner of Do-um, a natural birth center in Emirgan, Istanbul. She probably single-handedly is doing more for promoting natural birth in this country than anybody else and has taught many doulas over the years.
I am a Turkish woman living in Istanbul. I was born and raised here but I also have some years of living and working experience abroad. After I graduated from the university I started to work at a global american corporation in Istanbul. Later on I was transfered to Hungary and then assigned to Spain to work. Mainly I have always worked in the area of Human Resources and I have a masters degree in HR Management from a reputable business school in Madrid. I speak Turkish, English and Spanish fluently and currently I am delivering consultancy services in HR at a consultancy company.
I work as consultant for different companies and my project at work is to develop Talent Management. Each company is different due to its values. The core values shape how employees work and how the companies offer their services and products. However, it is not easy to put these values in function once the upper management decide what they are. There, as consultant I step in and help companies put them in function by defining the specific behaviours each employee at each level should display in order to act and work according to the company values. Later on I integrate these defined behaviours into the HR systems, such as recruitment, performance management, learning, career and succession planning in the company. So that the company can recruit people accordingly, I evaluate their business performance accordingly, I develop them accordingly and I can offer them a career aligned with company values and strategies.
– Working in HR, do you think there’s a need for positive discrimination towards women or not? (Like the pink quote )
In multi-national and global organizations there is already a pink quota for positive discrimination for women. It is generally %25 at management level. This is not only a requirement for a balanced community and women rights, but also for the company to sustain its competitiveness within the market. According to some research studies, even though it is not a direct one, there is some correlation between the demography of your company’s employees and your customers. So basically if you want to offer your products and services to women, in other words half of the society, you must employ women.
-So what is your superpower?:)
I don’t have a super power. I have good and difficult traits in my character like everybody else. In the right circumstances the good ones flourish, so that both me and the people around me benefit from it. Under the wrong conditions though, the opposite happens. Like Einstein said: “Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.” After all we can’t control our environment, however we can choose from options and decide for our own, if we tend to do this right more than less, then I believe we can manage to live happily and achieve our goals. And at some point in life we will definitely fail, maybe the most important thing is, even though you failed, to keep playing the game.
– Which woman do you endorse next?
I endorse Damla Altıntaş.