Enjoy Istanbul with Marc Guillet

A rising star in the education system of Turkey

21 Aug
Written by Marc Guillet
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for site of Dutch Business Association Turkey

Talent Hunter, or ‘Yetenek Avcısı’ in Turkish, is the name of her company. No, that’s not a recruitment agency. And no, you cannot ask her to work as a headhunter either. So then what is her young, ambitious and fast growing business?

Turkish Dutch education expert Tülay Demir Oktay explains how she became an entrepreneur and why she moved from the Netherlands to Istanbul in pursuit of her dreams.

While studying in the city of Utrecht to become a teacher she discovered that kids with learning problems are not simply ‘problematic children’.

“You have two different groups of pupils with learning disabilities”, she says. “Kids who are lagging behind compared to the level of their peers in the same class. Or young people with behavioral problems”. To give those adolescents advice about the right place to work or to find a track where they can learn to their abilities, a correct diagnosis is of utmost importance.

“Maybe their intelligence quotient on average is lower than colleagues who belong to the same age group, but they almost all have other talents that are not always well appreciated. My observations that each individual possesses a unique blend of different kinds of intelligences were supported by the work of American developmental psychologist Howard Gardner in his 1983 book ‘Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences’. That gave me an enormous boost in my own development and thinking”.

She continued her masters at the University of Nijmegen and became convinced that many people are working in a wrong place, a place that doesn’t fit their talents. In the Netherlands schools have services and experts to help young students to find a place that fits them. “But in Turkey they have only one kind of education system and schools lack the services to guide teenagers in the right direction. That’s why I started my own business to be a consultant for parents and students to help them finding a workplace that fits their talents”.

In 2010 Tülay Demir Oktay started her company Talent Hunter. Her first project was for Feijenoord, a working class district in the city of Rotterdam. “I had to find out what to do for young drop outs. They didn’t want to go to school anymore and I had to analyze with them what their talents were and where they would fit in.”

She realized that Turkey was a huge and promising market for her expertise. “I knew that I could give a lot to parents, teachers and students. My challenge is to get the best out of students. That is very exciting and rewarding to do”.

On the 4th of July 2012 she moved to Istanbul. She remembers the date very well as it was a new step in her life. “Yes, that was a very important day for me. It didn’t take me long to settle in this city. I love the dynamism, the energy it gives me and the ambition of its people. I’m much more productive in this city than ever before.”

Tülay is a rising star in the education system of Turkey. She has been interviewed several times on Turkish TV channels, has been appointed advisor for children’s programs on public broadcaster TRT and has developed a format for her own TV show.

She is a real busy bee with lots of positive energy and an enormous drive. One of the books she has written about her work will be published soon. Two other books – one to educate teachers and the other one a collection of interviews with famous people – will be in the book stores at the end of this year, inshallah.

She is working for several private high schools in Istanbul. “I want to assist students to discover their talents and use them in a productive way. That’s my challenge and my satisfaction in my job. Furthermore I give courses to teachers and parents. One of the projects I’m working on is to establish an institute in one of the working class neighborhoods of Istanbul to figure out what problems kids in poor districts have. I want to help them to get the best out of life”.

Background information

Name: Tülay Demir Oktay

Year and place of birth: Dieren 1975

Place of Residence: Bebek

Education:  University of Nijmegen masters pedagogic philosophy

Hobbies: welness, massage techniques

Sport: kickboxing and pilates

My favorite restaurants:

  1. Cahide, restaurant and nightclub with great shows, in Maçka.
  2. Limonata restaurant in Etiler, cozy and colorful.
  3. Papermoon restaurant (Italian food), you may see some of the Istanbul Jetset in this restaurant which is under the Ak Merkez Shopping Mall in Etiler.

Why did you join DBA Turkey?

As a Dutch entrepreneur in Turkey I wanted to join a business club. I felt immediately at home at the DBA because I meet many members who are from the Netherlands. I strongly believe in the strength of working together.

What do you expect from DBA Turkey?

We could organize more frequently events and bigger events, not only for members but for other entrepreneurs as well to inform them about the Turkish economy and the investment opportunities here. That’s also a way to grow as a business organisation.

What do you expect to contribute to DBA Turkey?

It would be nice if we could organize events for entrepreneurs who just arrived in Istanbul. And setting up a service for Dutch students who want to work as an intern in Dutch or Dutch related companies in Istanbul.




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